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Vallejo, CA, isn't the first locale we think of when considering the impact of Julia Morgan's architecture. ( Hearst Castle, anyone?) But the prolific architect left her legacy in the Northern California city with this historic home, currently available for $949,999.
One reason this house, built in 1909, may have been overlooked? It was designed in the First Bay Tradition, according to listing agent Cheri Stanley. The exterior wood shingles were apparently a nod to the original owner's preferences, the agent notes.
"It has a bit of a Swiss chalet look," Stanley says. "As far as I know, this is the only one in this style that she did."
However, Morgan's embrace of the Arts and Crafts movement is still evident. Interior architectural details include oak wood paneling on the walls, an ornate staircase and landing, and three fireplaces.
The bathrooms were renovated at some point over the decades, and the kitchen has been updated with new appliances. The glorious Tiffany dome light in the kitchen was added by the current owner.
Amazingly, most of the features in the home's other rooms are original, including flooring, french doors, pocket doors, the glass in the windows, and even the light fixtures on the four covered porches.
Thanks to an abundance of light and a roomy floor plan, the 3,300-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom home seems huge.
"The layout is unique," the agent says. "For its time, it was a very elaborate home." As you enter, each wing spans out on either side like a butterfly. The bedrooms (especially considering the era when they were built) are surprisingly spacious and sunny.
Even the flow from indoors to outdoors creates a sense of open space, with a deck off the living room and one off the master bedroom. The grounds are filled with well-tended mature plants and trees, matching the feeling of the gracious home.
Standing the test of time may be the greatest legacy of the architect. Materials such as premium true heart redwood and corner copper flashing to protect the shingles from water damage ensured longevity.
According to the agent, who has seen Morgan's original spec book for the home, her attention to detail was exacting -- even naming the type of nail to use. The ornate finishes are even more mind-boggling when you consider that the residence was entirely hand-crafted over two years.
Says Stanley, "It was designed to last forever, and it has."