The short of it:
Favorite item in home:
Maria: The wine holder. My husband Terry created it for me and it holds all our wine glasses and wine bottles. It is a refurbished horse trough that came from an old liquor company and it was made into a shelf. I love collecting and I found myself with a vast number of wine glasses but they were being stored in cabinets and not seen or used. I think it is a very special piece because he made it himself and it’s a great conversational piece. How many can say they have a horse trough inside their house?
What I am reading:
Maria: Love books. There is something about looking at an interesting cover and turning each page. I unfortunately, do not get to read as much as I want but right now I’m reading Sage Living by Anne Sage, an interior design book that describes the connection between happiness and the home. I love the fact that we can create spaces in our home that we love.
What I am listening to:
Maria: We listen to Terry’s old vinyl records. We will find ourselves on a Saturday night turning on his stereo (yes, one with three foot tall speakers) and listen to some classic music from the Rolling Stones, Pretenders, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and many other great artists. We truly enjoy something so simple where time stands still for a short while in this crazy place called Life. I do own one album from the 80’s, Air Supply’s Lost in Love but I’m not allowed to play it on his turntable. What! Loved their love songs.
Best food in town:
Maria: Don Pedro has great fresh food. The Jade Burrito is delicious and the Margaritas are wonderful!
Favorite thing about Effingham:
Maria: People unite when someone is in need. We recently went to a benefit where they had a wonderful turnout for someone locally. There’s an ex-musician who is ill (and has subsequently passed away) and local musicians who had bands in the 80’s and 90’s in Effingham gathered again after many years and played once again to support him. The music was great and the positive energy was awesome! We saw that family, friends, and the community came to support and raise money for a good cause.
Wild card question... What do you want people to know about you?
Maria: I truly enjoy entertaining. Nothing is better than a house full of people that you love. Whether be the holidays, birthday parties or simple get togethers they are always done with thought and care. Having people in your home that care about you means the world to me. We have been known to throw milestone birthday, anniversary, and even New Year’s Day parties. The more people the merrier!
The long of it:
Oh, but she tried to get him to write a response to my questions. She's actually the first wife who's included her husband at all. Luckily for us Maria Bushur did manage to get her husband, Terry, to talk to me about their home. His family’s third generation, 1920s milk barn that he spent weekends and evenings for two years and then brought in help for the fourth and fifth year of renovation to convert. Whew.
The family farm is located on the north side of town where Effingham turns from shopping/subdivisions into farmland. Maria wanted to restore the old farmhouse on the property and make it pretty, but due to major structural problems, that was not in the cards. So Terry invited the Sigel Fire Department to come tear down the farmhouse as practice and he set his sights on the barn. Maria, through blind faith, followed him along.
Now imagine, this was back in 2006, when few people around here, if any, were turning barns into homes or building “shouses” (shed/house). The barn’s last function was as a barn so there were still mangers, stalls and hay inside. I can kind of see Maria’s difficulty in wrapping her mind around this huge project.
Let me tell you a little about this couple. In my mind Maria is a Peruvian version of Eva Gabor from Green Acres. She’s always impeccably dressed and done up, she tells you what she thinks yet she’s very nice about it and she lives on an old farm. Terry is a full time journeyman and concrete finisher, lover of vinyl records and a man of very few words. This marriage is the perfect example of opposites attract.
Terry was definitely the one with the vision for the place. Maria walked into the not-yet-finished house one day to find someone installing the railing on their staircase. When she learned that it was hog fencing she about lost it. There was no way she was going to live in a house with hog fencing. But it stayed and she’s grown to love the slightly industrial feel it lends to the home.
Terry’s barn-converting methods involved repurposing/restoring a lot of different materials. Like taking off the existing tin roof and flipping it over and pressure washing all of the barn wood four to five times (FOUR TO FIVE TIMES!) and then sealing it. He used nontraditional materials (um, hog fencing) and reused things as often as possible. The sides and front of the bar are made from the door of the old farmhouse. Being a self-employed journeyman and long term concrete finisher, he made the floors. Yes, he made concrete look like brick and he installed underfloor heating. He also poured the concrete countertops. This was a man before his time.
Maria confesses that his friends probably thought what he was doing was crazy, but they, plumbers, carpenters, electricians and dry wallers all came together with the knowledge and expertise of general contractor, Ron Goldstein, and completed the project. In the end Maria’s only regret is that they didn’t install a more barn-like door and his is that he should have only built one balcony instead of two. Because in his words, “you can only use one at a time”. Men.
Although her home is a former barn, Maria didn’t want it to be too country looking. Hence the absolutely fantastic, sleek kitchen cabinets from Lustig Custom Cabinets in Effingham. They are contemporary slab door style Maple cabinets with a dark stain and a metallic fleck in the finish. Nothing visible to the eye but it uniquely catches the light. Who knew there was such a thing? The hardware is Key West.
Upon closer inspection of this home’s accessories you find many of Maria’s mid-century vintage finds mixed in with rustic pieces from the farm interspersed around the contemporary furniture. She’s managed to tie all of these otherwise disparate elements together thanks to the unifying barn wood and one predominant color – orange. She loves orange. And she loves hunting down vintage treasures and great deals. Many of her vintage pieces were found at auctions and garage sales. Ask her about her near death online garage sale experience. Plus she’s got many collections of very cool things from Peru.
As Maria puts it, “our house has a story” and Terry and Maria are both very proud to be living in something they created. And if Terry ever pulls the trigger on his dream of building a walkway to a hot tub built on top of the silo, then this may just become the coolest barn/house ever built.
//Next issue: Patty and Troy Greene - A Christmas Edition
About the Photographer
Tytia Habing is an award-winning and highly regarded fine art, family and commercial photographer based in the Effingham, Illinois area. You can see her work at www.tytiahabingphotography.com