Rescued & Re­stored

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Find mo­ti­va­tion for your own projects in the story of a Wash­ing­ton-state Crafts­man that was re­lo­cated and re­habbed by re­source­ful own­ers.

To fash­ion a room di­vider us­ing fur­nish­ings, sit­u­ate a har­vest ta­ble crowned with such tall items as this rocking horse, ta­ble lamp and minia­ture house against the back of a large sofa.this ar­range­ment de­fines the en­try­way and keeps Rosie and Mike Saun­ders’ fam­ily room out of the flow of traf­fic. Pile on plenty of linen pil­lows that re­sem­ble feed sacks to cre­ate a cozy coun­try theme.

Find in­spi­ra­tion in the story of how a Wash­ing­ton-state cou­ple saved a 1911 Crafts­man from the wreck­ing ball, re­lo­cated it, and re­turned it to its for­mer glory, adorn­ing it with prim­i­tive pieces, tex­tiles and count­less eye-catch­ing col­lec­tions.

Back in 1979, Rosie and Mike Saun­ders had been draft­ing plans to build a Vic­to­rian-style house in Yakima, Wash­ing­ton, when Mike learned of a 1911 Crafts­man that was set to be razed to make way for a down­town park­ing lot. For just $1,700, the home was theirs—they just had to re­lo­cate and re­hab it. Not ones to turn down a once-in-a-life­time deal, the cou­ple was up to the chal­lenge, and thus be­gan their ad­ven­ture. “It was mad­ness,” Mike re­calls, “but it was well worth it. All the draw­ings we had for a house to build came to a halt. Now the plans sit in a tube in our base­ment.”

To­day, the house sits high above 55 acres of ap­ple trees, its porch now a wrap­around with a newly added tur­ret. Restora­tion has come in stages, with Mike com­plet­ing the base­ment and up­per floor him­self. Rosie, a con­sum­mate col­lec­tor since mar­riage, spear­heads the in­te­rior de­sign.

The home’s orig­i­nal price tag may have been small, but the cost to move it was $10,000 per half. Over­head tele­phone wires pre­vented the three-story home from be­ing moved in one piece, so it was sliced in two hor­i­zon­tally. Be­fore the move, the cou­ple re­moved the leaded-glass win­dows, oak floors, beamed ceil­ings, pocket doors and steam ra­di­a­tors so they could be reused later.

Noth­ing went to waste; even the brick foun­da­tion was re­cy­cled to cre­ate the fam­ily room fire­place and ex­te­rior chim­neys. The kitchen was ex­tended, mak­ing room for a nook and arched win­dows to bring in the light, with shut­ters to reg­u­late it. Even­tu­ally, wall-to-wall car­pet­ing was torn out, and the orig­i­nal oak and red fir floors were re­fin­ished.

Rosie uses tex­tiles to soften the orig­i­nal red fir wood­work and col­umns that dis­tin­guish the liv­ing and din­ing rooms, whether it’s a pair of slip­cov­ered wing chairs (“I love any­thing with a stripe,” she says) ac­com­pa­nied by a stack of tick­ing pil­lows or comfy off-white linen din­ing chairs paired with press-back oak din­ing chairs and an ad­justable har­vest ta­ble.

Over the years, Rosie’s tastes have shifted to­ward prim­i­tive style. “When we were first mar­ried, our fur­ni­ture was pri­mar­ily oak,” she ex­plains. “But this house was so much big­ger than our first that we had to add a lot more fur­nish­ings. Now, it’s a com­bi­na­tion of oak and painted prim­i­tives, which I love.”

Vic­to­rian fur­nish­ings have also been ex­cised from Rosie’s new look. “We changed our Vic­to­rian bed to a new Colo­nial four-poster with cleaner lines,” she notes. Childrens’ bed­rooms also were treated to a trans­for­ma­tion. Rosie pre­served the youth­ful am­bi­ence in one room by re­tain­ing ac­ces­sories such as toys and a school desk, but she added a touch of el­e­gance via bed­ding and wall decor.

Rosie draws in­spi­ra­tion from her col­lec­tion of in­te­rior de­sign books and mag­a­zines as well as the chang­ing sea­sons, her an­tiques-store finds, and fam­ily trea­sures. Like the cir­cum­stances that led to the cou­ple find­ing their dream home, the way the in­te­rior has come to­gether is also a bit serendip­i­tous. “My dec­o­rat­ing is all trial and er­ror, but I have [achieved] the look I like,” Rosie con­fides. It’s a happy end­ing for a house once destined for de­struc­tion.

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