FOR THE RECORD: 7-19-97 Incorrect information: The Spokane Showcase of Homes entry “The Conservatory” was designed by Don Henricks of Design Alliance. Also: “The Aloha” will be open for viewing. The Redmond, Wash., based company that built “The Aloha” is in a strong financial position, according to Dave Deily, the builder. A story in Friday’s IN Life section said otherwise.
Ninety years ago, newly developed irrigation and power districts lured families to the Spokane Valley. Soon there were farms, orchards and dairies scattered throughout the area.
Besides fertile soil, though, early farmers discovered something else in their fields - chunks of granite worn smooth and deposited 15,000 years earlier during the last ice age.
According to a 1920 soil survey, some of the rocks traveled from as far as Wyoming and Montana. And their traveling wasn’t over - one Valley farmer, for instance, hauled away 80 wagonloads to clear a 20-acre parcel for planting.
But not everyone got rid of their field rocks. Some used the stones to build distinctive foundations, porches and walls.
Many of those stone houses - along with Vera Water and Powers landmark well tower and pump house at 601 N. Evergreen, and a monument to Capt. John Mullan at the corner of Sprague and Vista - still stand today. They remind us of the hardy pioneers who explored, developed and settled the Spokane Valley.
And two of the six entries in this year’s Showcase of Homes in the Spokane Valley inadvertently pay homage to that pioneer tradition.
The facade of Taigen & Sons’ $479,000 “Crown Jewel” and Gerry Morse’s $270,000 “The Atrium” are embellished with a cultured-stone product that looks surprisingly similar to the field stones used 90 years ago by Spokane Valley builders.
Judge for yourself at this year’s home show, which opens today at the Valley’s Morningside development and continues through July 27.
Weekday hours are 3 to 9 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $6, with children 12 and younger admitted free.
This year’s showcase features three high-end homes - priced from $375,000 to $479,000 - and, several blocks away, three more residences listed at $270,000 to $315,000. A double-decker bus will shuttle visitors from one site to the other.
There’s also a “McDream Street” with playhouses for kids, plus special events throughout the 10-day event, including prizes, free ice cream (Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), live music and seminars.
A new event this year is an after-show sale of furniture and accessories used in the display homes, which will take place at the site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 28.
Here’s what you’ll find in this year’s homes:
Bob Taigen and his sons, Bob Jr. and Jim Taigen, have the most expensive entry in this year’s show, their $479,000 “Crown Jewel.” The four-bedroom “spec home” overlooks Morningstar’s soccer field and running track.
Local designer Curt Schimanski’s extensive use of cultured stone - a pattern called “River Rock Summer Season” - hints at the Craftsman architectural style introduced in 1905.
“What’s popular today is not stark French Country, Colonial or Craftsman,” explains Schimanski. “What’s popular with Northwest builders is a blend of these. I guess you could call ‘Crown Jewel’ contemporary - it’s a blend of bungalow, Craftsman and French Country.”
Besides a stone veneer, the home has both lap and board-and-batten siding. The complicated roof has both hipped and open-gable details.
The entry sidewalk - a slate pattern pressed into the concrete and stained brown - bisects the driveway, leading gracefully to the elaborate front porch.
Inside, the home features a high-ceilinged living room, a faux-river-rock fireplace and a kitchen with a work island large enough to beach a ship on.
Be sure to take the kids over the second-story catwalk and into the bedroom where artist and interior designer Lynne Proudfoot created a charming wall mural for a “secret” playroom.
Proudfoot also did the faux-leather “Old World” treatment on the first-floor den wall.
“Everything in this house is top cabin,” says Bob Jr., “from the footings on up.”
“It’s small things,” Bob Sr. agrees, “like the 10-inch layer of gravel under the driveway - things no one will ever see but, over the long run, will mean less maintenance for the owner.”
The Taigens’ other showcase entry, their $315,000 “Mica View,” was purchased during construction. It, too, features four bedrooms, maple floors and an 18-foot-high ceiling in the great room.
Environment West landscaped both homes.
Gerry Morse’s wife, Marianne, landscaped the couple’s $270,000 showcase entry, “The Atrium,” using real granite boulders to create an attractive dry-riverbed feature that also diverts rain and snow runoff away from the house.
The boulders tie in nicely with the cultured stone around the front porch.
Designer Schimanski says the home’s porch columns, windows and roofline “all reflect a Northwest Craftsman influence, with a contemporary twist.”
The friendly front porch is a first for Morse, who’s been in the building trade around the country 30 years.
Inside, visitors will find higher-than-normal ceilings, both on the main floor and downstairs in the daylight basement, where the media room and two of the home’s three bedrooms are located.
Worth noting is the Lazy Susan entertainment center - Gerry’s idea - which allows the television to be pivoted between the first-floor great room and the adjacent kitchen.
Morse also deserves credit for the master bathroom’s toilet area, which includes a very private telephone and television.
Lori Gray’s $375,000 entry, “The Conservatory,” another Schimanski design, features a traditional two-story, full-wrap brick facade with open gables. Gray says brick’s low-maintenance advantage saves homeowners money over the long run, even though brick initially costs more than painted siding.
Inside the four-bedroom house, Gray has gone with her trademark contemporary features - high, vaulted ceilings and plant shelves, columns, and an open balcony overlooking the main living area. The home’s three-sided masonry fireplace can burn natural gas or wood.
Downstairs, the daylight-basement rec room doubles as a home theater.
Veteran custom builder Dan Eaton has his first-ever showcase entry and his first spec home with “The Montview,” a spacious three-bedroom contemporary with a faux-stone portico entry.
The $377,500 home’s exterior decks are a synthetic product made of recycled plastic and wood fibers.
Special features inside include a gourmet kitchen with synthetic granite countertops, cathedral ceilings and zoned radiant floor heat. The master-bedroom suite has a private deck.
Thomas Holland, owner of LaRay Builders, describes his five-bedroom home as having “a Napa Valley wine country feel.”
Holland’s specialty, he says, is “classic European ornamental trim,” which will be evident throughout the house.
Still under construction earlier this week, the home’s final price had not been determined, “but it will be under $300,000,” Holland says.
A seventh home - “The Aloha” by Redmond, Wash.-based builders Ed Dean and Dave Deily - is listed in this year’s plan book but will not be open during the show because of corporate financial problems.
Nor will the other eight homes under construction at Morningstar be open for tours during the home show.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 4 Color Photos; Map of 1997 Showcase of Homes site
MEMO: For more information about this year’s Showcase of Homes, visit the show Web site at www.spokane.net/ showcase or contact the Spokane Home Builders Association at 532-4990.