Stroll Through History 2022: Woodland historic homes open for tour – Davis Enterprise
Online and downtown tickets
Tickets are $30 online or in-person at the locations listed below. Tickets are $35 on the day of the Stroll — Saturday, Oct. 8 — and only available in person at Heritage Plaza at the Opera House. All sales are final; refunds are not available.
Prior to event:
• Online: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-stroll-through-history-2022-tickets-415743659477.
• Corner Drug Co. at 602 Main St.;
• Vintage House by J at 519 Main St.;
• Matthew Taylor’s Home at 510 Main St.
If you have purchased a ticket, either online or at a local store, you will bring your voucher/receipt to the Information Booth at Heritage Plaza on Stroll Day. The Information Booth opens at 8 a.m. The table will be next to the Heritage Plaza Clock. There, you will exchange your voucher/receipt for an Open Homes Tour Ticket and Booklet. The volunteers staffing the information table will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the day’s events.
321 Bartlett Avenue
Owner: Dixie Clark
Exterior: The exterior of this Mid-Century Modern home is both dramatic and unique. It was considered quite avande-garde and innovative as compared to other homes built in this era. Much of the façade is exposed cinder masonry blocks. The front room is bounded by seven floor-to-ceiling windows. Designed by Woodland builder, Gus Riede, in 1961-62, his daughter tells stories of Gus sitting at the kitchen table with drafting paper and photos of Frank Lloyd Wright’s (FLR) later “Usonian” home designs. Inspired by the mass productions of post-WWII Levittowns, Reide dreamed that his design could be the prototype for low-cost mass-produced Mid-Century Modern Levittowns. (Riede also designed and built three more homes further west of 321 Bartlett.) The flat-roofed second floor is recessed behind the front room, leaving a first impression that this could be a single-story home in the FLR single-story Prairie style. The entryway features an open decorative cinder block wall that creates a private entryway under a covered breezeway. Square offset blocks outline a massive fireplace inside.
Interior: The front room features a floor-length fireplace and is full of light. The family had visited Japan in 1978. Their visit inspired a collection of many Japanese-style prints and screens and some Asian ceramics. These are interspersed with family memorabilia. In 1999, they began an extensive renovation, moving major walls, creating more livable spaces and updating a terrazzo family room. The kitchen and family room received new light-colored birch cabinetry which brightens the look and provides wonderful storage space. The footprint of the kitchen was enlarged to increase its utility. The kitchen, family room and first-floor bedroom all have large windows that let in wonderful light and provide broad views of the back yard. The stairs to the second floor are very steep and are therefore closed to the tour.
Gardens: The attractive backyard features an inviting free-form pool in the center and a Koi pond/water feature in the back left corner. These key features can be viewed from all of the first-floor rooms. Look at the back of the home from the Koi pond to appreciate the unique Mid-Century Modern profile.
Ownership: Gus Reide and his wife, Norma, lived in the home for a year before selling to Tony and Sue Barber. They, in turn, sold to Jerry and Virginia Ernst. Then, Dixiana and James Clark purchased the home in 1975. Father James was Rector of St. Lukes Episcopal Church for 13 years.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Kevin Twitchell
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Mike Ward
5 Hermosa Place
Owner: Bill Means
Exterior: As you approach the stately Means family home, its Mid-Century credentials are immediately obvious, thanks to its horizontal design, glass-faced entry and solid front door with knob at its center. Board and batten siding is made of clear redwood and the bricks are from a former Woodland hotel. Visitors might note a small, jalousie window at the upper left looking down on the entry. It was designed to allow homeowners, standing on a fireplace hearth, to see who is ringing the doorbell and even talk to the guest, making it sound like the voice is coming from an intercom.
Interior: This house is filled with well-maintained original details, thanks to the stewardship of several generations of the Means family. The entry hall showcases a gorgeous Victorian fireplace and mirror which — though not indicative of decor for a home of this era — is nevertheless a vintage treasure because it was saved from a local historic house when it was demolished. Built-in storage is a notable feature throughout the home, lining hallways and spacious rooms. The house is flooded with light from large and numerous windows which illuminate interior features. Among them are an attractive kitchen whose vintage stove and plaid formica counters have survived intact for 66 years. A counter-height pass-through between the kitchen and family room offers safe passage for food and beverages and is blessed with sliding doors to separate the spaces, when desired. Bathrooms boast tile, tubs and design typical of the ‘50s decade. A grill and separate rotisserie, built into the family room and still used today, showcase the entertainment-focused lifestyle of the period. Woodland’s hot summers are bearable thanks to central heat and air conditioning, allegedly the first of its kind in Woodland when installed. And, a car can still be washed at home, regardless of outdoor conditions, due to a well-placed drain in the garage floor.
Gardens: A large lot provides room for plenty of outdoor living, including a pool, patios and fruit trees. Of interest may be the solar system, which offers two distinct units: one from an earlier decade that still works to warm the pool, and a second, more modern system, remotely controlled through desktop and computer. Near the exit gate is an area with a sign that signals it was “Grandpa’s Garden,” where chrysanthemums once flourished.
Ownership: The current owner, William Means, purchased the house from the estate of his father, Les Means, in 2009. It was originally commissioned by Les and his wife Ev, whose brother, Al Thomas, designed it. Dale Warren was the general contractor. Mr. Means was Deputy DA in Yolo County for three years before WWII intervened. Afterward, he returned to Yolo County and was elected DA from 1948 to 1956. He then went into private practice in the firm that is now known as Gardner, Janes, Nakken, Hugo and Nolan, Yolo County’s oldest law firm.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Jim Hilliard
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Chris Lewis
212 Toyon Drive
Owners: Erik Daniells and Sara Shelley
Exterior: Built in 1963, this wonderful example of Mid-Century design was in major need of not just TLC but major renovation and retrofitting of its vintage features when acquired by its present owners in 2021. A new metal roof replaces the original composition shingles. Intact characteristics such as the angled roof, pillars, stone and plated glass are now complemented by newly installed concrete hardscape and lush landscape that harmonizes with the home’s linear modern design, welcoming you to its gracious entry.
Interior: Architectural firm Studio Oxeye and Stony Creek Construction were called upon to reimagine and rework this home without compromising the integrity of its original features, many of which were created by Ray Colombara, whose custom wood craftsmanship has been a source of Woodland pride since 1955. The terrazzo floors were a welcome vintage find, as were well-maintained wood accents like the foyer’s walnut doors disguised to hide floor-to-ceiling storage. Likewise, a carved screen that separates the entry from a spacious dining room is still an eye-catcher. Lighting in the dining room is provided by three new George Nelson fixtures chosen for their era-appropriate look. In the kitchen, the ceiling has been raised and a skylight added. New mahogany sapele cabinetry designed and built by Ray’s son, Craig, of Colombara’s Cabinet and Millwork, provides for modern-day family enjoyment. The living room boasts a massive stone fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows and a wet bar showcasing an original Nutone system whose radio is still in use. A “brain room” created from a garage closet contains two tankless hot water heaters, a whole house water filter and other “techy” additions. Walls have been strategically moved in the master bedroom suite to accommodate a contemporary style bathroom, with heated floor. Slight shifts in the original floorplan also allow for laundry and a mudroom that open to the pool. The pool and patio additionally benefit from an innovative reconfiguration of the guest bathroom to provide easy access from the outdoors.
Gardens: The gardens surrounding this lovely house are a work in progress, as the owners focus on the home’s interiors for a near-term move-in date. As with other aspects of the thoughtfully designed property, the outdoors will reflect the comforts and lifestyle of the mid twentieth century. Included will be a pool lounge, outdoor shower and spa.
Ownership: This house was originally built for Orville and Elizabeth “Betty” Geer, but most of the remaining history of the property is difficult to trace due to the complexities of a trustee sale, foreclosure and brief corporate ownership. It is believed that there have been three or four distinct owners, but their identities are not well documented, except for that of present owners Erik Daniells and Sara Shelley, whose restoration is creating a new chapter… and new lineage … at 212 Toyon.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.:The Barn Stormers
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: David Riggs
10 Toyon Drive
Owners: Tom and Meg Stallard
Exterior: This is perhaps the best example of Mid-Century Modern architecture in Woodland. The best views are from the backyard showing a dramatic horizontal massing, a wide profile with a flat roofline, floor to ceiling windows, and a screened-in pool / patio lanai combination. The south end features multiple elevations while the main home is single story. The street façade is, in contrast, reclusively understated with plain masonry walls and high clerestory windows along the roofline.
Interior: The interior is mostly finished with clear-grain redwood walls, cedar ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Shoji screens adorn most doors and other closures. Full-length windows surround the interior pool and patio. (There is almost no visible drywall.) Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired features include a cantilevered balcony extending from the music room above the first floor and submerged bathtubs. The Stallards have added strategically-placed skylights in several rooms and a sitting room, with reproduction stained glass, along the back west wall. Decorative highlights include two full-wall Japanese screens and an antique caned chair and desk. Ask about the renovated 60s bomb shelter and the hidden “Nancy Drew” door accessing the basement.
Gardens: The Japanese Garden was designed a Japanese master who also worked in the Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park. The Koi pond is fed by a stream and has a waterfall. Carefully placed rocks, tailored cypresses and three temples surround the pond. Finally, a protective wall of bamboo screens the garden from the rest of the world.
Ownership: The home was designed by Robert Crippen and built in 1961 for Lynn and Elinor Keys. Tom and Meg Stallard purchased the home in 1984. Their love for their 20th century modern home is just part of their appreciation of unique architecture. They have been “Heritage Heroes” for their work in restoring (and rebuilding!) many of Woodland’s 19th century downtown buildings to their former glory.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Gabe Lewins
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: James Drips
Woodland Haven Preschool
Exterior: The original building at 1730 Cottonwood was built in 1972 by Jim and Bill Streng as part of their Streng Park subdivision in southwest Woodland. Working with architect Carter Sparks, the Streng Brothers built more than 3,500 homes in Yolo, Sacramento and Placer counties. The builders offered homeowners about 50 different combinations of floor plans and features, many of which can be seen on the homes around Haven. These “contemporary” homes — as they were called at the time — were designed to have character, but be affordable.
This structure maintains the original exterior design, including the pitched roof and domed skylight. The garage was removed as part of its repurposing as a school.
Interior: The home includes an atrium, brick fireplace and the master bedroom is now the office. Walls were added and the other bedrooms were removed as part of the conversion to being a school. Multiple skylights provide natural light in the two main rooms.
Ownership: Pamela Hillis purchased the new home in 1972 with the intent of turning it into a school. She also purchased the two empty lots to the south and ultimately built the second building at 1738 Cottonwood in 1975. This second building was purpose-built to be a school, but designed to reflect the style of the original house. A Montessori school operated at this site from 1975 until 2021. The center is now owned by the Aoki-Slaven Trust and a non-profit organization operates Woodland Haven Preschool. The preschool opened its doors in August and is expected to provide care for approximately 100 children from 3 months to age 5.
11:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Katie Rose