Home Tour: History revisited
October 2, 2012
Kilroy was here! Or should we say, the Kilroys! One of Nevada County’s “old established families” that settled here generations ago, the Kilroys, had a compound of sorts. With multiple homes up and down Drummond Street they were able to house their extended and growing family.
One of these homes from the late 1800s has been restored, and done so in a most remarkable way. First of the six homes on this year’s Music in the Mountains annual Designs for Living Home Tour, this delightful home is in the heart of Nevada City and it is a “do not miss” experience. With more than 2,500 square feet, it might have been the granny cottage; it is also said the mayor of Nevada City once lived here.
This historic home will set you back in time. Who has a front porch and garden anymore? It is something out of “To Kill a Mockingbird”… An arbor, aromatic wisteria, a swing … a mysterious neighbor? … No, that’s in the Harper Lee classic. But still, the towering 70-year-old Magnolia, planted by the Kilroys after World War II, holds court over this genteel home.
Enough about the history. Now, the restoration, Take your time as you absorb the many fine details and artifacts. In the living room (the old “parlor”) look for a collection of perfectly, absolutely round stones, sorted from large to small. Look for the Liz Collins’ painting with a very personal message. Acknowledge the East meets West works of art such as the Thailand Buddha baby sleeping on the watermelon. Don’t miss the coffee table legs made from an old stove, the wire sculptures that undulate rather erotically. All these and many more throughout the home reflect the owner’s passion for travel and collecting.
The kitchen is a hostess’ dream. Who would guess in a house of this vintage? An inviting bar stretches the width of the kitchen offering a visual separation from the living area. Heavy beams, slate floor, indirect lighting all work together to create a warm and welcoming ambience.
Relocated to the back, the kitchen opens up to the back and side patios making for wonderful indoor/outdoor guest flow patterns.
In the heart of Nevada City, with typically small lots, this home has an unusually large and secluded patios and gardens. Oh, yes, the gardens. Magnificent in themselves, but combined with the babbling waterfall, lovely sculptures and outdoor artworks … a good book, cup of coffee and a sway in the hammock are in order. The focal point is an old iron works shed (original to the lot) adorned with 19th century artifacts that were unearthed during the restoration.
Surprisingly the home actually has three stories. Up the spiral staircase, the former attic has been converted to a large and open guest room/music room/library/sitting room; however one chooses to use it. Dormer windows with window seats draw in light and views all around.
Final stop: downstairs to the master bedroom suite. Creatively, and without distracting from the 19th century flavor, the owners have brought in southwestern chic to this historic treasure. I’m at a loss to explain it — except it works! From the Kiva fireplace, plaster walls, extraordinary wide beam ceiling, old walnut “chem lab” bookcase — it is another respite from the world. Cool in the summer, warmth from the fireplace in the winter.
All this … and walk to town!