The couple who lived down the block from Roy and Laura Barron took them under their wings when the Barrons moved to East 16th Avenue.
The Barrons were understandably sad when the surviving spouse died two years ago.
They had learned the pleasures of antique collecting through their friendship with Armand and Verda Perrenoud, going to auctions with them years ago.
The Perrenouds’ Spanish-style house was crammed with many rare treasures. No less unique was the house, constructed of fine brick, tile, a solid mahogany door and original hardware.
The Barrons bought the dwelling a year ago when it came up for sale from the estate of Verda Perrenoud.
Roy Barron said he always wanted to clean the house and put it back in its original condition, as much as anything, in memory of his old friends.
The Barrons’ work was recognized last fall when they were given an award from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.
Barron last year was a guest speaker at the Old House Workshop sponsored by the Cheney Cowles Museum.
The former Perrenoud house at 1607 E. 16th was one of two South Side homes earning preservation awards.
The other is the Arts and Crafts home of Mark Mansfield and Juliana Scham at 809 W. 11th.
Mansfield and Scham spent three years restoring the home to its original condition, or at least as close to original as they could get with the use of modern building materials like gypsum board.
Mansfield, who attended the awards banquet in Tacoma, said he was pleased to see Spokane residents acknowledged for their participation in this city’s grass-roots preservation movement.
Much of the restoration of old homes in Spokane is being done by individual property owners, not by companies and their contractors, he said.
“I think it’s great Spokane is getting the recognition,” Mansfield said.
A lot of the work of stripping and sanding involves old-fashioned elbow grease.
Barron said he spent hours and hours just cleaning the walls of the Perrenoud home before he could begin painting. He said he used 57 gallons of primer on the job.
Because Verda Perrenoud used the house to store so many antiques, it had not been cleaned, painted or remodeled for years, he said.
As a result, the 1937-vintage house is virtually unchanged.
“It’s probably as close to being an original house as you’ll find,” Barron said. “It had never been abused.”
The restoration involved more than cleaning.
Barron said he rebuilt the paneled garage doors, restored the exterior brickwork and repaired the roof. An elaborate drain system for the roof was unclogged.
The house originally was built for Frank Stanek, who worked for Washington Brick, Lime and Sewer Pipe Co. at the time and later founded Stanek’s Nursery on the South Hill.
Stanek put up a showcase for the kinds of building materials available through the brick company. The bathroom is believed to have original tiles made by the renowned Fulper Co. before the company was destroyed by fire.
The exterior brick walls give the impression of an adobe building because of a weeping mortar effect popularized in the late 1930s. In that technique, the bricklayer uses extra mortar and allows it to ooze and droop along the brickwork.
The only part of the house that was ever changed was the sink faucet in the bathroom, Barron said.
As a tribute to their old friends, the Barrons said they are going to apply to have the house listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places, probably later this year.