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24 San Diego Uptown News | June 10–23, 2011


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This exuberant example of 1920s flair is front and center during the Old House Fair annual home tour, June 18.

Old House Fair showcases exuberance of earlier eras

HouseCalls Michael Good If you know Burlingame,

North Park’s famous “Tract of Character,” then you probably know Virginia Sherwood’s gar- den. It’s on a prominent corner, and it’s exuberant: free-form, a bit wild, and filled with colorful and strangely shaped plants. Sherwood’s house, too, is a standout, painted brick-red with green trim. On June 18, you’ll get

“Many houses of the era are quirky for a reason—they reflect the tastes of an indi- vidual, rather than a focus group or mar- keting study or a cautious committee of builders, bankers and architects.”

a rare chance to see both house and garden as part of the annual

Old House Fair Home Tour. Like the garden, the 1924 house is a spirited of medley, with plenty of original woodwork, unusual deco- rative painting and boldly colored tile in the kitchen.

The original homeowner,

Sherwood explains, “really liked colorful tile, so she had the whole kitchen covered in it. The ceiling is in a mustard yellow. It comes down the wall one tile, and then the border has a decorative flower with black trim. The wall itself is that turquoise-color tile that was popular in the ’20s. Then they trimmed all four doors in four-inch-wide black tile. It’s very distinctive.”

Many houses of the era are quirky for a reason—they reflect the tastes of an individual, rather than a focus group or marketing study or a cautious committee of builders, bankers and architects. In this case, the original home- owner worked closely with the builder and the result reflects her particular concerns and tastes. We know this because the daughter of the original owner stopped by the house after Sher- wood and her husband purchased it in the mid 1990s. The daughter had lived in the house for 50 years, until 1974, and was happy to pass on the family history. “From the daughter’s com- ments, we know that the mother was in charge of the house’s design. She worked with the builder.” The father, Sherwood

see House, page 25

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