The Phil and Rosalva Willon Home, 25 Palm Ave.
Exterior: The broad bracket-supported eaves, side pergolas, and porch columns hint that this is an Arts and Crafts style home — the interesting roof line with both gable and shed dormers validates it. The front porch of the home was enclosed by former owners, Mark and Karen Harrison to make space for a small library. They replaced the front walk, replicating the original sidewalk and re-poured the damaged front steps.
Interior: An arched entry welcomes you into this lovely home. The living and dining rooms have coved ceilings and exquisite inlaid red oak floors. All woodwork in the home was restored by the Harrisons to its original splendor, including a sliding French door that separates the living and dining rooms. An interesting discovery is a signature in a dining room window casing. presumably done by the original installer. A large brick fireplace anchors one end of the living room. The kitchen has walnut stained Arts and Crafts style cabinetry and period appropriate hardware and lighting fixtures. A play room for the Willon’s twin daughters and a bathroom complete the downstairs. The second floor has a master bedroom, a guest room, two bathrooms, and the girl’s delightfully decorated jungle-themed bedroom. A unique feature of the home is the 14 patent or “Dutch” windows that open like a door in either direction to catch a cooling breeze, plus, as Rosalva says, “That makes window cleaning easier!”
Gardens: The current owners are planning vegetable and flower gardens which will include a grassy play area for the twins.
Ownership: This home, built in 1918 by William R. Fait, became his family home for 16 years. It is the fifth oldest home in Beamer Park. Phil and Rosalva Willon purchased the home in 2013.
The Niehaus Home, 16724 N. Ashley Ave.
Note: Since Ashley Avenue becomes Road 98B past (or north) of Kentucky Avenue, this home’s address is actually 16724 Road 98B.
Exterior: This home is a large Queen Anne-style Victorian cottage. Characteristic Queen Anne features include multiple rooflines, an asymmetric façade and two gabled bay windows. In contrast to the earlier Italianate style, these windows are not as tall and narrow. The corners of the bay windows are decorated with graceful curved support brackets. Fish-scale shingles decorate the second story. Four finials sit atop each end of the roof and on both gables. A stained glass window graces the south wall. The exact age is unknown, but this style was very popular in the 1890s. The present owners have added a large 12-foot-deep wrap-around back porch that welcomes the visitor to relax and enjoy the spacious grounds. If you look closely at the exterior you will discover a siding board with unusual carvings that the owners found when making repairs.
Garden: The four acres that surround this home contain a playhouse for the children, large enough for an adult to stand, with a loft and three small metal cots. Beyond the playhouse is a wonderful pool that has overtones of the pools at Hearst Castle. On the south side garden are two antique benches from Woodland Street cars. They’re about 12 feet long, and the backs fold down. Flanking these benches is a full size Bocce Ball Court . In the garden are several original cobblestones from Main Street. As you stroll through the gardens watch for the angels — they each have a special meaning for the owners. Jim’s workshop on the north side is covered in ivy and resembles an old Irish stone house.
Interior: As you enter the house, the stairs lead to three upstairs bedrooms. The master bedroom and bath is downstairs. Doors throughout the house have transoms decorated with etched and stained glass. Most of the woodwork had deteriorated so badly that it had to be replaced with close attention to replicating the original style.
Tucked under high gables, the library invites you to sit and read. The spacious dining room is dominated by a 12-foot-long table built by John Brunner, who also built the desks in the Sacramento Capitol building. The floor is covered with an Axminister wool carpet. Hanging from the ceiling is an unusual chandelier-it is rose colored and has small white “buttons” that were blown into the glass. The kitchen has been completely remodeled but gives the impression of being almost the same age as the house. A family room with a large fireplace and floor to ceiling windows beckon you to sit and gaze over the gardens behind the house. In the full finished basement is a playroom with a standard pool table, comfortable seating and a wine cellar.
Ownership: This home is just outside of Woodland City Limits. As a result, it has never been researched for the Woodland Walking Tour Booklets. The builder is unknown. The present owners, Jim and Donyel Niehaus, purchased the home from his parents in 1990. Jim’s Aunt Hiddleson owned the home in the 1940s. Jim’s parents purchased the home in 1965 and used it as a rental.
The Turner Garden, 103 First St.
Exterior: This Spanish Colonial Revival Home has a unique diagonal placement on the lot. Its mission tile roof, textured stucco walls and a circular entry porch highlight the façade. A street lamp and a water fountain frame the entry walkway. The small panes in the steel casement windows are typical of that construction era.
Interior: Today is a garden-only tour.
Gardens: This garden provides a cool, calm and peaceful sanctuary from a hot Woodland afternoon. Though modest in size, the garden is packed with decorative features including multiple fountains, statues, ceramic tiles, chimes, an awning and wicker chairs. The present garden was initiated when a friend donated the Dutch Girl Fountain. Betty Martinez, of Silvera Landscape and Design, selected many of the plantings and helped to design the present layout. Her boxwood plantings follow the original paths laid out by the builder over 80 years ago. Light refreshments are available in the garden.
Ownership: Joseph Motroni, the noted Woodland contractor, built this home for G. Volante in 1931. The home remained in the Volante family until 1963 when the Schoordijke family purchased the property. Ute Turner, the third and present owner, purchased the property in 1991.
The Watson Home, 5 East Keystone Ave.
Exterior: This stately yet charming Colonial saltbox home graces the corner of East Keystone and Bliss avenues, east of Palm Circle. The traditional symmetry of the windows, and the clean-lined simplicity of the wood siding and shutters reflect the colonial style of this home, while the arched front entry beckons guests to come inside.
Interior: The home’s interior wraps around the curved central staircase, with cozy living areas on the bottom floor, and spacious bedrooms upstairs. The fully renovated kitchen nods to the era with its subway tile backsplash, marmoleum floor, and new windows built in the style of the originals. On the second floor, the tiny sewing room has been maintained as a craft area. Great care has been taken to preserve many details of the home, including original French doors, several 1920s light fixtures, the laundry chute, and built-in cabinetry found throughout the space.
Gardens: With several distinct outdoor areas, there are many places to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or pleasant conversation on a warm afternoon. The welcoming side patio leads both to a recently landscaped quiet path beneath the lilacs, and on to the back of the home where it opens to a large, shaded yard off the kitchen.
Ownership: The original owners were the McGrew family, who also owned Fred R. McGrew Plumbing & Jobbing on Fourth Street. While there are no recorded dates on file, it is believed that the lot was purchased in the 1920s, yet the home was not built until the 1930s, possibly due to the effects of the Great Depression. In 1965 it was purchased by Richard and Joella Watson, who owned it for 35 years. Their son and his wife, Richard and Vicki Watson purchased the family home in 2000 and are the current owners.
The Bell Home, 152 Third St.
Exterior: This charming Tudor Revival Cottage catches the eye with its three Palladian front windows. The white stucco exterior glistens in the sun. The façade is defined by two rooflines, the main roofline and that of the front entrance. The roofline above the entryway has a graceful curvature. The trailing walkway leads you past a charming patio and through the curved archway to the front door. Built in 1930 by Brown and Woodhouse, it replaced an earlier Victorian that was built on this site c. 1886.
Interior: The entryway leads directly into a large living room. The glazing on the walls of both the living and dining room was done by Joanne Bell. To the left, there is a long hallway leading to a study with original built-ins. Next comes a large art deco bath and then two bedrooms. The master bedroom has an ensuite bath. The living room opens into a beautiful dining room. French doors lead to a private side patio. The buffet was constructed in what is now the Czech Republic. The chandelier was salvaged from a hotel, which was destroyed during the 1987 Loma Prieta earthquake.
When the Bells purchased this home, many doorknobs and light fixtures were missing. They added their own beautiful and unique lighting. The kitchen remains largely unchanged. There is a vintage Gaffers and Sattler range in the kitchen, along with a buffet serving as an island. Off the kitchen, there is a design library for Joanne, and a large office. Joanne hung the very unusual wallpaper in the hallway. At the back of the house is a family room that once was a covered patio.
Gardens: The back yard, once a pile of broken concrete and buried trash, now boasts a sparkling pool with shady pergolas.
Ownership: Joanna Augusta Rupert had the home built in 1930. She, her husband Charles, and son Charles, Jr. lived here until 1940, when Joanna died. William and Ruth McWilliam purchased the property after her death. It was sold to Al and Betty Soga in 1961. They lived here until 1973 when it was sold to E.G. and Helen Blankenship. Ron and Joanne Bell bought the house in 1999 and began the restoring the home to its original charm and beauty.
The Smith Home, 51 Pershing Ave.
Exterior: This home, another outstanding example of Joseph Motroni’s skill and flair as a builder, is a tour de force of brick masonry craftsmanship. The double gabled roof and sitting porch have the look and feel of a bungalow, while the tiled roof and arched front porch feature Mediterranean elements.
Interior: While the exterior of the home appears to not have changed from the original 1929 building, the interior experienced an amazing and tasteful modernization as the Smith family quickly outgrew the 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bath home. The front entry floor and fireplace were tiled with marble and the original oak floors refinished in a rich Mahogany stain. The chandelier in the dining room is original to the home. The bedrooms were updated, closets enlarged and the bathroom received a full remodel.
In 1988 a 1,000-square-foot addition was added, making this a spacious four-bedroom, three-bath home complete with two fireplaces, a formal living-dining room, a larger kitchen/eating area, a family room and a master bedroom suite. The old garage was incorporated into the addition and is now a laundry room/pool bathroom and office. The kitchen includes a large farmhouse sink, surrounded by Cattacala marble countertop. A basket-weave tile backsplash sets off the beautiful cherry cabinets. Walnut floors and stainless steel appliances make this kitchen a chef’s paradise. The family room has an entertainment center and an impressive flagstone heat-a-later fireplace. The pool is easily accessed from the entire back of the home, making it convenient for parties! The two-car garage was added in the mid ’90s.
Gardens: Kathy designed and planted the garden with perennials and fruit trees.
Ownership: This Motroni home was built in 1929 for J. Barth, followed by Edward Farr, and then Anton and Pearl Kareofales who in 1984 sold the home to Doug and Kathy Smith.
The Pashley Home, 9 Palm Ave.
Exterior: The historic Beamer House is an elegant colonial plantation style home. Set back from the street and framed by lush palm trees and a deep front porch, this home retains many of its original attributes, from the delicate support columns to the wavy glass windows found throughout the house. The original home in the back of the lot has 18-inch adobe brick construction. This valued Heritage Home is sure to enjoy at least another 150 years of future Woodland history.
Interior: A classic central entryway beckons guests into the parlor with its rich paneling and ornate coal fireplace. The large living room houses stunning antiques from China, Japan, and England, while the smaller sunroom provides a cheery 180-degree view. The spacious, well appointed dining room leads to the kitchen where the retro appliances represent the vintage style of the kitchen’s upcoming remodel. As you head upstairs, note the added bathrooms — the home did not originally have plumbing or electricity. The cozy master suite once was part of the wraparound porch, and the brick walls and window of the original exterior add charm.
Gardens: Although the 480 acres of farmland surrounding it is no more, the large lot feels expansive and of another era. The backyard courtyard plays host to evening get-togethers, and the serene pool provides welcome relief on summer days. Tucked away in the back, be sure to note the original separate kitchen and root cellar.
Ownership: The Beamer House is the oldest recorded home in Woodland, dating from 1860, and was built by Richard L. Beamer, a cabinet maker from Virginia. The civic minded Mr. Beamer promoted the planting of trees in the city, and helped open Woodland’s first public high school. The Beamer Park neighborhood was established when the home’s acreage was sold in lots to the Keystone Development Group in 1914 by his son, R. H. Beamer. John and Jill Pashley bought the home only a few months ago after falling in love with it, and are passionate about retaining its original beauty and grandeur.