Un­cov­er­ing a Dream

Tra­di­tional for­mal­ity meets ca­sual coun­try ap­peal in a his­toric Cal­i­for­nia home that blends handcrafted fur­nish­ings with fam­ily an­tiques.

Country Sampler - - Contents - RE­BECCA RAZO Writ­ten by GRI­D­LEY + GRAVES Pho­tographed and Styled by

A Cal­i­for­nia cou­ple rein­vig­o­rate a his­toric Vic­to­rian cot­tage with a touch of for­mal­ity and loads of ca­sual coun­try ap­peal.

An­tiques col­lec­tors and coun­try-de­sign en­thu­si­asts have long been cap­ti­vated by the magic and charm of his­toric dwellings; in­deed, many dream of one day liv­ing in their own quaint bun­ga­low or ru­ral farm­house. Judy Neu­mann was no ex­cep­tion. “I had al­ways wanted an older home,” she re­calls. “Our pre­vi­ous houses were newer, al­though we tried to make them look old with the ad­di­tion of an­tiques and vin­tage touches.” Two decades ago, Judy achieved her as­pi­ra­tions when she and her hus­band, Jerry, pur­chased an 1879 Queen Anne Vic­to­rian cot­tage in the foothills of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Sierra Ne­vada Moun­tains.

Lo­cated in Grass Valley, the Neu­manns’ three-bed­room, 1,600-square-foot cot­tage boasts or­nate dec­o­ra­tive mill­work, fish-scale shin­gles and a pitched roof, as well as orig­i­nal win­dow glass and doors. Other notable fea­tures in­clude two en­closed sun porches, a mud­room, an en­try hall, a for­mal front par­lor, and loads of unique ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails. “The French doors and arched win­dow be­tween the front par­lor and the liv­ing room are what sold us on the house in the first place,” Judy re­lates.

While the build­ing’s foot­print was per­fect from the out­set, the time­worn in­te­rior left much to be de­sired. “When we bought the house, there were five lay­ers of car­pet­ing that had been laid one on top of the other,” Judy says. “Ev­ery time a new layer was added, the pre­vi­ous own­ers cut off the bottoms of all the doors just so they could open and close.” The Neu­manns lev­eled the floor­ing through­out the house and were able to sal­vage and re­fin­ish orig­i­nal fir hard­wood in three of the rooms. They also stripped away lay­ers of old wall­pa­per, in­stalled new plumb­ing, and rewired the en­tire home. Fresh paint brought new shine to the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior, while new land­scap­ing added curb ap­peal.

Judy orig­i­nally planned to dec­o­rate the home in tra­di­tional Vic­to­rian style, but she soon set­tled on a more laid-back aes­thetic. “I think, af­ter 30-some-odd years, I have evolved into a more com­fort­able place be­tween coun­try farm­house and coun­try prim­i­tive,” she shares. To that end, dis­tressed wood fur­nish­ings, vin­tage sig­nage, and a va­ri­ety of home­spun col­lectibles add coun­try charm while blend­ing seam­lessly with more re­fined pieces, such as an up­hol­stered set­tee with match­ing chairs in the front par­lor and an an­tique con­verted gas chan­de­lier in the din­ing room. “I love old things that have a his­tory,” Judy adds.

To­day, even af­ter more than two decades in her dream house, Judy still loves to change things up when the mood strikes. “My mother loved to dec­o­rate—she was al­ways paint­ing a room or a piece of fur­ni­ture,” she says. “I must have picked that up from her. My hus­band’s fa­vorite joke is that our homes al­ways lose square footage be­cause the walls have been pa­pered and painted over many times.”

What gives Judy the most pleasure, how­ever, is watch­ing how guests re­act to her cozy abode. “Mak­ing a com­fort­able and pretty place for guests is a fun thing for me,” Judy says. “I get a big kick when a guest tells me that they feel like they are stay­ing in a bed-and-break­fast.”

Op­po­site: In Judy and Jerry Neu­mann’s din­ing room, black-and-white checked win­dow valances and match­ing chair-back cov­ers com­ple­ment warm red walls. Black and nat­u­ral-wood din­ing chairs sur­round a dis­tressed farm ta­ble re­cov­ered from an old miner’s...

Above: In the din­ing room, a rusty tri­cy­cle and a doll on a minia­ture chair pro­vide a light­hearted touch be­neath a hang­ing shelf filled with mis­matched crocks and vases. An old-fash­ioned coun­ter­top pie safe is a per­fect show­case for vin­tage wares. The...

Left: Fes­tive gar­land and a flower bou­quet adorned with a pair of dec­o­ra­tive flags set a pa­tri­otic tone in the front hall.

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