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Dixon couple transform 124-year-old home into short-term rental filled with antique charm

DIXON – Loni and Larry Byars wanted to create something unique when they bought the 124-year-old home next door and started doing renovations.

The Dixon couple spent about 2 years sprucing up the home at 211 N. Ottawa Ave. to turn it into a short-term rental property for visiting professionals or families displaced by fires or other disasters.

'We felt that this was something that was needed in the community," Loni said. "It's not a B&B, and it's not for typical families, but it's more of a unique situation where you can stay in a home rather than a hotel."

Loni, 64, is a retired real estate agent and Larry, 69, retired after 32 years with the city of Rochelle. They moved to Dixon in 2014 and have been married 8 years.

Byars Antique Angel is a three-bedroom, two-story house with everything furnished down to the linens.

"It's a beautiful older home, and my husband and I were both antiques when we started the project," she said.

Loni did the designing and Larry did the building.

"The stuff he can do absolutely amazes me," she said.

The floors are all new, a back porch was torn out and a bathroom and mud room took its place, a deck was installed, and the kitchen was remodeled.

Antiques the couple have found over the years are present throughout the home, incorporating different themes in the rooms.

The two houses are the last two homes on the block, which has grown more into a business corridor along with the Dixon Family YMCA.

Rates vary depending on the number of guests and duration. For example, it would be $400 for one person staying 7 days, or $1,500 a month for a displaced family. Utilities are provided, including internet, but no cable.

A website is in the works, but those interested in booking a stay or finding more information on Byars Antique Angel can call 815-517-3541.

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