Cliff Elliott, owner of Natural Born Bikers, 2869 E. 24th Road, Marseilles, loves the home he built behind his business. Add four buildings on 12 acres of woods and it's a place of tranquility.
“This property my parents owned has always been wooded,” Elliott said. “While the north and south end were level, there was a deep ravine in the middle.”
When Elliott married his wife, Brenda, about 30 years ago, they needed a place to live. His parents offered them the property in the middle.
“They originally used the property for raising cattle and horses,” Elliott said. “My dad knew I loved the area, so when I got married, he said he'd put the property in his will for me. But after talking with his accountant, he found out the inheritance tax would be huge. So, he sold me the property for $10. Everything worked out well because my wife always wanted a barn, so after a lot of work, I was able to build a barn home set back quite a way back from the road.”
A huge part of that "lot of work" included finding a way to level the ravine.
“In order to make the ravine level with the rest of the property, I had to truck in 60 tons of dirt,” Elliott said. “All of that dirt allowed me to back-fill the property and build a long driveway from the road all the way back to the end of the property,” he said with a laugh.
The three-story, three-bedroom home Elliott built features a three-story deck. Every room is wired for cable and telephone. Doors throughout the home are solid oak, and 12 Velux windows with crank-out and tilt-in features span the second floor.
“When I was halfway through building the home, the fire marshall stopped by and told me I had to have two exits from each level,” Elliott said. “So, every story has its own walk-out to the deck. When I first came up with the plan, a three-level deck was not in the plans at all.”
Elliott built the entire home, including handling all of the carpentry work inside.
“The only thing I had help with was the siding and roof shingles,” he said.
The home is contemporary with Pergo floors throughout. Two bedrooms are off the living room, one with a built-in Jacuzzi.
A spiral staircase leads to the third-floor master bedroom and spans the full length of the home. Elliott custom-built the surrounds for both the fireplace and Jacuzzi. Glass doors open to the top deck. The view from the deck overlooks a gazebo, also built by Elliott.
“The gazebo has a built-in swimming pool surrounded by windows that have a great view of the trees,” Elliott said. “You could be in the pool and watch deer and rabbits wander the property. And there are always finches and doves in the trees.”
The other buildings can be used for storage or a workshop, some featuring concrete floors. Elliott used one of the buildings as his carpentry workshop.
A large 2 1/2 car garage with a half bath is part of the lower story of the home.
Elliott has packed all of the inventory from Natural Born Bikers for a move to Indiana.
“The new owner can use the building for any kind of business,” Elliott said.
Elliott said it's time for him to downsize. His wife died four years ago, and trends are changing in the motorcycle business. He said the property is too large for just him and his two dogs.
What was the best part of living on the property?
“Living here with my wife was the best part,” Elliott replied. “She always wanted a barn, so I built her a barn house. The peace and solitude of the property and the fact that I built everything with her in mind. ... We're close to I-80 or it's a very short drive to downtown Marseilles, so that's really convenient. There's just a lot to be said for the peace and quiet that living here provides.”
His advice for new owners is to enjoy the country setting.
"Enjoy the peace. If you're traveling to work, you'll be happy to come home to everything that's here. And you aren't isolated even if it's a county-setting. Go down the driveway and turn right — you're in Marseilles. A few miles away is Ottawa. And people around here are friendly. It really is a great place to live.”
• THE HOME at 2869 E. 24th Road, Marseilles, is priced at $365,000. Seller to offer a one-year HMS home warranty. The home is listed by broker/Realtor George Shanley, Coldwell Banker, The Real Estate Group. Call Shanley at 815-228-1859 for more information.