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Home tour captures history

Sun., Nov. 30, 2008

Four houses in Booge’s Addition open to public

High school sweethearts Gregory and Alicia True moved away from Spokane when they were young to pursue careers and raise a family, but returned several years ago to fix up and settle down in one of the city’s historic gems – the 1907 Pattullo House, a Craftsman-style home designed to capture the feel of the California bungalow movement of the period.

On Saturday, the home at 1201 S. Adams St. will be open for public tours as one of four vintage residences in the ninth annual Holiday Heritage Home Tour. Sponsored by the Spokane Preservation Advocates, proceeds go to preservation projects across the area.

Old houses, Alicia True said, “have creaks. They have noises. They have a life of their own.”

They also can be updated.

After spending $204,000 to buy their home in 2003, the Trues renovated it by enlarging the kitchen, adding a family room, upgrading the bathrooms and restoring original woodwork. The renovation is compatible with the original architecture, and includes period cabinets and hammered copper hoods over a new fireplace and kitchen range.

“It was our intention to make the house comfortable for the way we live,” said Gregory True, a retired structural engineer who was appointed two years ago to the Spokane City/County Historic Landmarks Commission. He declined to say how much they spent on improvements.

He and Alicia True are both active members of Spokane Preservation Advocates. They obtained a listing of their home on the Spokane Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Originally a ‘show home’

The couple, who met as students at St. George’s School, raised their two children in King County before deciding several years ago to return to Spokane to be close to relatives and the region’s four-season outdoor lifestyle, they said.

At the time, vintage homes in Spokane were selling at a premium, and buyers were snapping them up as quickly as they went on the market. The Trues said they didn’t lose patience and waited for the right deal.

Their 1907 house was built for mortgage company owner Charles Pattullo and his wife, Estella, under a design from the Ballard Plannary Co. of Spokane, a noted architectural firm of the era.

It was advertised originally as a “show home” for the architect, William Ballard, according to its historic nomination. Under the arrangement, Charles Pattullo agreed not to show the home to anyone else without the permission of the architect and builder to help protect their business interests.

The front façade features two large gables with Tudor half-timbering. The gables originally extended above a full-length front porch. In the early 1920s, both sides of the porch were enclosed and incorporated as interior sunrooms with tapered trim around the windows to match the original look.

The main floor is divided by a Craftsman-style staircase with elegant newel post, balustrades and bench seat. Floors are done in narrow oak. A large pocket sliding door separates the entry from the living room where box beams create a classy but rustic look overhead.

Rejecting Victorian stuffiness

Craftsman homes, particularly bungalows, have become so durable in American architecture that their classic elements can be seen in modern homes today. The term Craftsman was derived from the Arts and Crafts movement, which rejected the stuffiness of 19th-century Victorianism. Good Craftsman examples are found throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Lower-priced homes from the early 20th century also have Craftsman exteriors, but most of them do not continue the design to their interiors.

Historic consultant Linda Yeomans noted in the nomination that the look of the Pattullo House originated with California-inspired bungalow design. “In direct rebellion to the tall, elaborate, usually costly Queen Anne styles that preceded it, the Craftsman aesthetic and design tradition was embraced by the masses and became one of America’s most dominant styles,” she wrote.

The house is included in the small Booge’s Addition Historic District, which will be a focal point for Saturday’s tour. The district is one of only four local register districts in Spokane. National historic register districts, which put fewer restrictions on architectural modifications, are more common across the city.

Other homes on the tour

The three other homes on the tour are:

•The Renstrom-Leigh House, 1115 W. 10th Ave., a Queen Anne Victorian built in 1895 for Teamster and wholesale grocery porter Gustaf Renstrom and his wife, Anna. Current owners Fred and Laurie Taylor found relics from the early owners and had the house featured on HGTV’s “If These Walls Could Talk” show.

•The Alexander and Stella Anderson House, 1317 W. 11th Ave., is a Queen Anne home with classical columns along the porch and an upper balcony that put it in the “Free Classic” sub-type. It was built in 1906 – fairly late for the Queen Anne period – for bridge carpenter Alexander Anderson.

•The Charles and Susan Hussey Home, 1125 S. Adams St., built in 1905, is another good example of how the Arts and Crafts movement swept across the Spokane landscape. Its current owners, Damian and Anne Putney, also found relics in their home, including a letter to the Husseys’ maid. The house also was featured on HGTV.

Mike Prager can be reached at (509) 459-5454 or by e-mail at

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