Home of Ben & Joyce Cozzello

Photo not available for Cozzello Home
Photo not available for Cozzello Home

R.R. 2, Hillsboro, Illinois

Remember those nice Sunday afternoon drives through the country dreaming about owning your own little farm? Well, that dream has come true for Ben and Joyce Cozzello. After many Sunday drives by the Ben Beck farm, Ben decided to stop and ask Mr. Beck if he would consider selling his farm or at least a portion of the wooded area. Mr. Beck's reply was that the day before he had turned the farm over to Dean England, a realtor from Morrisonville. The realtor was contacted and the 80 acre farm was purchased the next Tuesday.

The old home, located by the barn, was torn down shortly after the purchase. Ben and Joyce decided to build their new home in the lovely wooded area at which they had looked for many months.

The sign read “sold”, but ahead was the job of clearing the land and finding a contractor to make real the dreams they had in their heads. For years Ben and Joyce had been putting together pictures, thoughts, and designs of what they wanted in their home. Ben had drawn up a sketch but no blueprints, so they looked for a contractor who could build a home from thoughts and sketches! They found Dale Renken. On March 8, 1975, Dale started with only the sketches and thoughts Ben and Joyce had given him. They said Dale seemed to know exactly what they wanted. They worked very closely together throughout the building process, sharing ideas and making them become a reality. On December 13, 1975, two weeks before Christmas, Ben and Joyce moved into their new home.

The interior and exterior wood is cedar, offset by a redwood deck which extends the width of the house. The front entrance is accented with a warm greeting on the door, "FRIENDS ARE THE RICHES OF THIS HOME, AND LOVE IS ITS' BLESSING". The door was carved by Alma Tarran.

You will notice there are not many north windows in the home, but the southeast is completely exposed to the sun. This was done for two purposes: for Ben to help heat the home and for Joyce's hobby of growing plants, which do add a loving touch throughout their home.

The raised conversation area which is cantilevered over the deck has windows on two sides which allow lots of sun for the plants and a changing picture all year around. The large stone fireplace adds to the relaxed atmosphere and, also, helps heat the home. Last year Ben and Joyce became more energy conscious and installed a wood burner in their fireplace.

The home has a spacious, open-air feeling because of the cathedral ceilings. An old stained glass window found in a little antique shop many years ago adds to the charm of the living room. The macramé hangings were made by a good friend, Carol Kessler. The carpet is three-inch wool shag.

An L-shaped kitchen and dining room combine work and eating areas. A utility room and the entrance to the attached garage are located on the north.

The kitchen has wooden cabinets with ceramic tile on the counter top and floor.

The round oak table and chairs in the dining area sit in front of a large picture window which gives a lovely view.

As you go up the open stairway to the bedrooms you can look down over the balcony and get a full view of the living and conversation areas. The guest bedroom and the master bedroom are separated by the bathroom. Joyce and Ben's

four poster bed is accented by the hand woven wool bedspread. The lion head chair is one of Ben's antique treasures which he refinished. You will notice that throughout their home Ben and Joyce have used a touch of the old along with the new.

The year after Ben and Joyce moved, Ben finished the basement himself with tongue and groove cedar. The hide-a-bed in this area gives the home another bedroom when friends or family come to visit.

Ben and Joyce are very thankful for their home and happy to be able to share it with others. Of the 80 acres, they maintain about 15, which includes a two-acre lake that you may enjoy taking a relaxing walk around before or after the tour.

In the 1970's the Historical Society had home tour each year. This article is from a hand out visitors received when they toured this home.

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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society