Home is where the heart is, and a happy heart is what Mary Vaughn has living in her beautiful new home on J Street. Family and friends can attest to the hospitality and warmth Mary offers them, whether it’s a weekend gathering on the front porch or large holiday celebrations inside her gracious home. In 2004, Mary purchased the lot and started planning with architect Craig Hausman of PHA Architects of Sacramento and builder, Frank Skover of Skover & Sons Construction, Inc. (916-422-0852). The end result is a charming Craftsman-inspired bungalow that is complementary to its East Davis neighborhood.
By design, the house is not meant to be historically true to the Craftsman era. Craig did not wish to present a false historicism to the design; therefore, elements of that distinct style and the California Bungalow style are featured along with curved roof-lines to the rear of the structure. To the liking of the City of Davis’ Planning Department, Neighborhood Association and of course, Mary Vaughn herself, the home has a timeless appeal. Mary, a California-native and proud, fourth-generation Portuguese-American, wanted to build an informal home for her family to live comfortably, and allow plenty of space for entertaining. Walking up to the front door, a classic Craftsman porch welcomes visitors. Two large French doors are on either side of the handsome front door and ample seating is ready for an impromptu party before one even enters the house. Upon entry one is taken by the woodwork that envelops the downstairs. Like a blanket, the stained Douglass Fir plank floors, paneling and cabinetry warm residents and guests. A dining area and sitting area flank the generous entry. Quintessential Ginkgo pattern tiles embellish the fireplace surround. Mary adds a personal touch with a favorite piece of original art above the mantel from artist Mackenzie Thorpe . The custom cabinetry on either side of the fireplace underscores the elements of Craftsman style with its glass-front doors. While the mood of the front room is informal, make no mistake in understanding the attention to detail. For example, reproduction push-button switches of yester-year and schoolhouse glass-knob door handles enhance the rooms.
Versatility in the use of space is another component of this dwelling. When open, the French doors along the porch expand the front living space. Frosted, hand-etched glass panels dress up pocket doors between the kitchen and dining room. Who doesn’t love the idea of closing doors to a kitchen full of dirty dinner dishes? The party can continue with the doors shut. However, Mary’s kitchen is stellar even when untidy. What stands out the most is the fact that it’s not a huge kitchen. It could have been, but Mary chose to keep the scale consistent with the rest of the 2800 square foot house. The generous marble slab island serves as workspace and entertaining space, and adds elegance to the sensible tile countertops and large farm-style kitchen sink. Positioned along one side of the island is a clever drawer-style microwave from Sharp . Again, keeping to the scale of the kitchen, a 30 inch gas range top from Viking in stainless steel sits with the other professional series appliances. The subway tile along the backsplash complements the linear millwork of the cabinetry. Pale green cabinets add softness above and below the white countertops while also contrasting with the rich hue of the wood floors. Mary selected pendant style lighting for above the island as well as period-reproduction cabinet hardware, adding to the ambiance to a stylish and functional kitchen.
Off the kitchen is a utility space to be envied. It’s not exclusively an office or a laundry room, but work for both types of rooms can be done here. Included is a clever laundry chute makes transporting dirty clothes easier when upstairs. Space is maximized with storage cabinets galore and a table top for folding clean clothes. Authentic hanging Edison light bulb fixtures illuminate a home office space as well as stir conversation. A bedroom, bathroom and family room round out the downstairs before making way to the extra-wide staircase. Here is where quality construction and precise design meet. The layers and levels of wood wrapping the newels and handrail, then meeting upstairs to baseboards, wainscoting and crown molding appear simple enough, but the thoughtful and experienced execution is what gives this woodwork its beauty; not to mention the extensive process is perfecting the stain of the wood throughout the house. Midway up the stairs is a comfortable window seat where Mary has read many a story to her grandchild. The landing off the stairs gives view to the second of Mary’s Mackenzie Thorpe treasures. The custom framing is art in itself: an example of mixed-media. Two bedrooms and a bath share the upstairs with the master bedroom and master bathroom, an en suite of Mary’s own. A clever narrow wall – with a beautiful stained glass window – stands a few paces from the doorway directing one to go left or right, the bedroom side or the bathroom side of the room. Around the corner the headboard of a luxuriously dressed bed stands against this narrow wall. More French doors open up to a veranda giving the room a tree-house effect. What is a master suite without a fireplace? A lover of the shore, Mary took this chance to add elements of the sea in her bedroom. Large sand-colored pebble stones are set in the surround and on the hearth of the fireplace. Using color and materials there is a coastal feeling that sits just right amidst the dark wood flooring and trim. The spa-like master bath features mosaic-cracked marble trim, Travertine tile flooring, oil rubbed fixtures, a separate water closet and a jet tub with seventeen jets!! Another unique addition to this suite is a stackable washer and dryer in the master closet…..Now that’s a luxurious use of space!
The curb appeal of this home is in part due to the home’s orientation. The streetscape is house dominant, not garage dominant. A recessed driveway leads to a garage with classic carriage style doors. Above the garage is a one bedroom/one bathroom rental unit. The landscaping flows gently front to back. The mature trees have been nurtured back from disease and additional plantings have been added to create a private garden effect in the backyard.
When planning this Craftsman-inspired bungalow, Craig designed it around Mary’s lifestyle. Here she can celebrate family and friends in an engaging, quality-built, aesthetically pleasing environment that enhances this neighborhood in East Davis. A successful businesswoman throughout the area, Mary understands the need to enhance older neighborhoods with construction improvements that support the integrity of city planning goals and objectives. While it may be new construction, the house has a historic appeal which honors the legacy of Davis. Cheers to the Casa Contente!
Special thanks to Mary Vaughn for permission to re-publish the story of her amazing Davis home. You can reach Mary Vaughn of Coldwell Banker Doug Arnold Real Estate at 530-750-7524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The original “Casa Contente” story was published in the October 2007 for Davis Life Magazine.
To learn more about Diana Mahoney and her work as The Design Partner, please go to www.thedesignpartner.com.