The Fresno High Holiday Home Tour 2017

This fall, we were approached by the organizers of the Fresno High Holiday Home tour, which raises money for projects in the Fresno High neighborhood and for Fresno High student scholarships.  Happy to share the house and its history with others, we said yes and embarked on readying the house for its visitors.

This meant getting into deep cleaning and Christmas decorating mode immediately after Thanksgiving – tree(s), additional ornaments, stockings, candles, more outside lights, table settings, etc. Everyone pitched in as no room was off limits to tour attendees. Throughout the preparation, we worked with a home chairperson and provided them with house descriptions and historical information. We also coordinated traffic flow and safety plans.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The tour annually draws several hundred people, so there is a lot that goes into organizing the event. Fresno High School students volunteered as docents and received an evening of training. The house even had its own professional photoshoot. The pictures can also be seen below:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On the night of the tour, we vacated the house, and let the volunteers take over. Members of the Fresno High band played Christmas music on the porch. The student volunteers were assigned rooms and were placed accordingly. Each student provided tour goers information (historical and present) about their area of the house.  Adults were also on hand to help with crowd control and security.


It was a bit strange not being present on the night of the event, but for this one, the house was the host and had the party without us!



Room by Room – the Great Room

A wonderful feature of this old house is the grand living room. It is huge!  Several comments have been made about pushing the furniture against the wall and holding a full-fledged dance party.  It could happen.

In the process of restoring the floors.

This room has a grand old fireplace with intricate wood detail and two sets of French doors (one to the front porch and one to the back yard). We have not used the fireplace as we do not know the condition of the chimney and there are very few wood burn days in the Central Valley.  The wood trim and the crown molding continue in this room and add to its character.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The wood floor in this room is also spectacular – old growth timber, quarter cut, gorgeous patterns. When Tim, our floor restorer, saw the floor in this room, he said not to let anyone else touch it – he wanted to be the one to bring it back to life.  We all agree that he did a great job!

One of many designs in the floor

We elected not to penetrate the ceiling to install built in light for this room. This meant less holes (and less expense).  However, now we need to add more floor and table lamps as the lighting is just a little too subdued.

Minor wall penetrations for this room!

There was no wallpaper in this room (thank goodness!), but it was painted a washed out shade of yellow and the crown molding had a wide blue stripe.  As  result, the fine wood trim and molding were not well showcased. In addition, the bold stripe in the crown molding made the ceiling feel lower.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Painting the trim in the room would have been a huge job, so we cleaned it up a bit and decided to paint the walls a shade of latte. This color is enough to provide some contrast and really highlights the trim.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We have enjoyed hanging pictures in this room (and in the dining room and entry as well) using the original picture rail molding.  We purchased picture rail hooks and wire, which allow us to hang pictures without making holes in the plaster walls.  If we want to change the location of a picture, we can just slide the picture rail hook along the molding.  Cool.


Room by Room: The Front Entry and Stairwell

We love the grand entry of this old house.  From the outside, the large front porch and red door flanked by stained glass windows and lamp-post light fixtures welcomes one upon arrival.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shortly after moving in, we realized that although the original mail slot, allowing the mail to be directly deposited onto the inside floor, was quaint, it was also rather impractical.  The size was barely wide enough to fit a business size letter.  Most days, the mail carrier’s only option was to leave the mail on the cement beside the pillar.  Looking ahead to cooler days, a windy or rainy weather would not bode well for any stack of mail left there.

As a result, we found a larger, more durable and secure box that we were able to mount on the wall next to the door.  We tried to find one that would match the characteristics of a colonial revival home.  We are very happy with our locked box which accommodates larger pieces of mail. And, rumor has it the mail carrier is much happier being able to actually put our mail into something rather than leaving it out on the ground.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once inside the house, the most extensive change to the entry was the addition of lights! Originally there were no lights in the entry or the stairwell, which made for a somewhat dark welcome.  We added an overhead light right inside the door and another light in the stairwell.  Needless to say, this brightened things up immensely.  Again, we looked for something that would honor the colonial revival architecture of the house. We we able to find coordinating fixtures in this flush mount for the entry and a pendent for the stairwell).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another noticeable change we made to the entry was to refinish the floors and add color.  The faux marble wallpaper and yellow trim have been replaced by Sherwin-William’s “meditative blue” on the walls and “alabaster” for the trim.  Painting the entire trim one color really highlights it and provides a nice contrast to the walls.  The detail of the stained glass windows are also highlighted nicely with these colors.

Alabaster was also used on the spindles of the banister and beige (Sherwin William’s killiam biege) was used for the walls of the stairwell. This lighter color compliments the blue of the entry, contrasts the darker shade of the wood landing and stairs, and make the stairwell feel more open.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Monday Musing

After a quiet weekend, Monday is back with the sounds of hammering, sawing, and drilling.  Before I left this morning, our crew was moving furniture out of the breakfast nook, so I knew that could be where we might see some progress today. We haven’t had any power in that room for a couple of weeks, so I am excited!

When I returned home this afternoon, I could see that they had been busy working. The dining room now houses our kitchen table and has a makeshift light.  The breakfast nook and the sun room are covered in plastic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The kitchen is apparently off limits according to this not so very subtle sign.


Lead paint is part of occupying an old home, and our crew takes this very seriously. I am thinking we might be eating out tonight!

There may have been an absence of power tools humming on the weekend, but that didn’t mean there was an absence of work.  Project wallpaper removal was in full swing, and we are happy to say the psychedelic stripes are no more!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One room down, many, many more to go…