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Washington Voices

Spanish bungalow style a rare sight in Northwest

Thu., July 25, 2013, midnight

The Spanish eclectic bungalow-style Stanek-Perrenoud house is pictured July 16. (Tyler Tjomsland)
The Spanish eclectic bungalow-style Stanek-Perrenoud house is pictured July 16. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Spanish eclectic bungalow-style residences are seen all over Florida and California, but rarely in the Pacific Northwest. The best and perhaps only example of such a house in Spokane is the Stanek-Perrenoud House at 1607 E. 16th Ave.

There are a some larger Spanish-style homes in the city, to be sure, but most don’t meet the criteria for true Spanish eclectic bungalow status – being rather small, for example, and being just one-story with minimal eave overhang and having an asymmetrical façade, arched entry doors and/or windows, an entry patio partially enclosed by a porch wall, exterior walls clad in stucco or white-painted brick, and a low-pitched roof covered in red clay, half-cylindrical Mission tile. The Stanek-Perrenoud house, listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places, has all of that. And more.

Interestingly, much of the interior and exterior are original, going back to 1938 when the house was built by Frank Stanek Jr., who, together with his father Frank Stanek Sr., founded Stanek’s Nursery and was involved in developing the Lincoln Heights Shopping Center on Spokane’s South Hill.

It was an unusual choice for a Spokane home 75 years ago when Frank Jr. decided to build it on the 50-by-150-foot lot that served as storage space for the family’s nursery business, which was located on property just to the north. Frank Sr. had worked for the city parks department and as a private gardener before opening his own nursery in 1915 specializing in flowers and flowering shrubs at the site. With his only child, Frank Jr., he built up the business, including in 1924 purchasing the overflow lot. They sold the business in 1938, the same year that Frank Jr. began constructing his custom home.

It appears that Frank Jr. wanted to build a home that would showcase products produced and provided by Washington Brick, Lime and Sewer Co., for which he also worked as a truck driver hauling rock, brick and tile throughout Washington and nearby states – in addition to working with his father at the nursery. He hired workers from Washington Brick to help build the house, incorporating clay roof tiles, exterior brick veneer with weeping joints, decorative ceramic tiles and other items from the brickyard.

In the meantime, the Staneks opened another nursery in the downtown Spokane area, naming it Stanek and Son Nursery. At the death of Frank Sr. in 1948, his son, needing more room, moved the nursery to 27th Avenue a few blocks west of Ray Street and also continued development of Lincoln Heights Shopping Center north of 29th Avenue between Southeast Boulevard and Regal Street.

Although Stanek’s Nursery ceased operation earlier this year and has since been torn down, during its years of operation it received contracts for landscape work from the National Park Service, from the state of Washington for development of rest stops along Interstate 90 and for work done at Walla Walla’s Whitman Mission, Fairchild Air Force Base and numerous parks in the city. It was a landmark business on Spokane’s South Hill.

The house that Frank Jr. built has held up well, as it retains many of its original materials today. The 1938 Philippine mahogany arched front door with its wooden window grill and brass and copper hardware is still in place. The entry, located behind the requisite entry patio behind a short wall, leads into a small vestibule with corbeled arch and ceramic tile floor covered with multicolored aggregate. The fireplace in the living room is a work of art with its hearth covered in multi-hued tan, gold, teal and terra cotta-colored ceramic tiles – over which is, in place of a mantel, a small arched niche with a quarry tile sill. An arched entry leads from the living to the dining room, which has a striking floor also covered in multicolored ceramic tiles. Most of the original Pullman-style kitchen is intact, including the black ceramic tile countertops with teal backsplashes and window sills covered in ceramic tile.

Painted plaster walls are throughout the interior and most floors are done in either tile patterns or are made of narrow oak planks. Even the spacious bathroom and most interior light fixtures are original to the house.

Frank Stanek Jr. and his wife, Helen, who would go on to have six children, lived in the compact two-bedroom bungalow for less than a year. Completed in 1938 for about $3,200, it was sold that same year for $5,100. Armand and Verda Perrenoud were the home’s longest occupants, from 1959 to 1997. Roy and Laura Barron bought it in 1997 and sought historic register status for the home the next year. The home has changed hands a few times since.

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