Eight of the top 20 most-read stories in 2017 on The Times website were Beyond the Listings.
The Beyond the Listing features, which launched Jan. 22, 2015, was the brain child of Times reporter Chuck Stanley, based on features done a number of years earlier by onetime reporter Melissa Garzanelli, called "Knock, Knock."
For Beyond the Listing stories, we search for homes on the market, then contact the owner or real estate agent to see if they're interested in a write-up; about 99 percent are enthused.
I tell owners, "I want the story to breathe life into your homes."
I was scanning lists of houses for sale almost a year ago, when I spotted Nick Duncan's abode in La Salle — the home may have been small, but it had big appeal.
The house had the chief quality for which I look in a Beyond the Listing — age. The 1939-built home was updated for sure, but still retained some of its New Deal-era trappings, such as a light sconce near the front door, still giving off a glow. How many appliances that old still work in our current throw-away society?
But what's more, the house had seen plenty of life, a tiny reminder of which was left behind — the jewelry jar.