A historic home with a legacy of love from former residents
Nestled on a park-like sweep of a nearly an acre of land, the Tudor Revival home of Patricia and Phil Butterfield is private and serene, with a South Hill location that takes advantage of city and mountain views, yet is conveniently located within minutes of downtown. The home is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and is part of the Rockwood National Registry Historic District—the only neighborhood in Spokane designed by the nationally acclaimed landscape architecture firm of the Olmsted Brothers. The elegance of the home combined with the privacy of the setting makes this property truly special. “That’s the magic of this house,” says Patricia.
Patricia and Phil, both faculty at WSU, purchased the home when they moved to Spokane in 2007. They were immediately drawn to the property. “We came from Seattle. The idea that we could be one and a half miles from work and live in complete privacy—that’s what was amazing to me,” says Patricia.
The five-bedroom, five-bathroom home has seen a long chain of ownership, beginning in 1910 with Myron and Maud Folsom; Myron was a prominent local litigator. Designed by noted architect W. W. Hyslop, the home has the storybook quality long associated with Tudors, with a cross-gable roof, clinker brick chimneys and the trademark stucco and timber exterior. The black window casings and other dark accents provide a welcome contrast to the light-hued stucco, and the slate roof and copper gutters are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. The landscaping is diverse but harmonious, bringing together flower beds, manicured shrubbery, rock gardens, deciduous and evergreen trees, and grassy expanses lined with basalt retaining walls. The home looks like it belongs on the site, and may always have been there.
Since the home was erected over a century ago, owners have come and gone, and Patricia and Phil feel grateful for the good stewardship that has been shown all along the way. “One family sows, another family reaps,” is how Patricia thinks of it. “A historic home site is really for the ages…and each family brings a new layer of love and joy to the site,” she says.
One person they’ve especially appreciated is Betsy Jewett, who owned the home previously, along with her family. Over their many years on the property Betsy and her family did much of the landscaping, in addition to major projects like modernizing the kitchen and adding a breakfast nook, expanding the brick terrace (a spot beloved by the Butterfields, who are counting down the days till the weather is nice enough to eat outdoors), putting on the slate roof, and updating the electrical system to get the home in good shape for emergency conditions.
“Our family has benefited from the beauty and thoughtfulness of her planning,” says Patricia. Betsy is still in touch with the Butterfields and was happy to speak over the phone about the home for this story. For her, as for Patricia, the home was “instantaneous love,” says Betsy. “I literally took one look at the pictures of the house and said, ‘That’s my dream house.’”
“I just felt it was such an amazing safe place for kids to grow up,” says Betsy. Her two children, now grown, were small when her family moved in. Wanting to complement the home’s storybook character, they worked on projects like the large north side flowerbed, added a lower garden (fondly referred to as the “secret garden”), put in raised beds and installed a pond. They “wanted to give a sense of gracious outdoor space,” says Betsy, emphasizing it as a beautiful place where kids could explore and play and find hidden nooks and crannies. Phil and Patricia have appreciated it just as much. “We think about her when we’re out gardening. We think about her when we’re out enjoying this beautiful space,” says Patricia.
“I’m thrilled that you guys have enjoyed it as much as we did,” says Betsy upon hearing that.
Patricia and Phil were particularly grateful for Betsy’s forethought when a record-breaking area windstorm left them without power for seven days last fall (the storm, with near hurricane-force winds, took out power for 180,000 Avista Utilities customers). Working upstairs in the office during the storm, Patricia could hear trees falling all around the neighborhood, but when the power went out, all the Butterfields had to do was purchase five gallons of gas and start up the generator Betsy’s family had put in years earlier. “The fact that the generator was wired in so well—I felt almost guilty because we were in such good shape,” Patricia says, noting that most of their neighbors moved into hotels during that period. Between the gas stove, the fireplaces and the generator, the house’s essential functions were barely interrupted.
“You have Ice Storm to thank for that,” says Betsy, referring to the notorious 1996 Eastern Washington storm, in which freezing rain coated trees that came crashing down, damaging property and taking down power lines for half the city. Betsy and her family were out of power for eight days. “I didn’t want to ever do that again,” she says. Following the storm, they had an electrician out and worked with him to establish the seven zones that would be powered by the generator in the event of another outage. So when the windstorm hit in November, Patricia and Phil were well prepared. Though the majority of the house was dark, all of the key areas were functional, like the kitchen and, oddly enough, a certain closet in the master. “I would go upstairs, and the ladies’ closet had lights!” Patricia says with a laugh.
One of the benefits of living in a home with a long history is visiting with its previous residents. Along the way, both Patricia and Betsy have had people return to tour the property and reminisce; some who were children at the time they lived in the house have been older than its current owners when they return. Betsy remembers the “kids who grew up there who were older than me when we bought it!”
What a home it is to come back to! Approaching the property, a wrought iron gate opens onto the home’s circle driveway, which curves past the garage and the covered breezeway that leads from the garage to the home. Steps ascending from the driveway lead to the recessed front entry, where the stately front door has a stained glass window.
The interior of the home matches the exterior in charm and character, with details like multi-paned windows, built-in bookshelves, French doors, cozy alcoves and original oak flooring with walnut perimeter detailing.
The front door opens onto an entry vestibule, which passes through to a center reception hall, off of which the living room, den, dining room and kitchen are located. While maintaining all of the home’s original integrity, the Butterfields have made changes in keeping with their personal taste, updating wall colors, some light fixtures (mostly from Revival Lighting) and the inset wallpaper panels that lend charm and texture to several of the home’s main rooms.
“We wanted a real sense of warmth,” says Patricia of the color palette and décor. They worked with interior designer Coleen Monaghan, who consulted on color and style. “She is remarkable; a magician with interior spaces,” says Patricia. The couple also worked with Rebecca Bunker, a WSU Interior Design graduate student, who guided them in making the home a restorative environment. “She examined elements (colors, textures, products) that facilitated a sense of peace and well-being in our historic home,” Patricia wrote in an email. “When I walk in and get a sense of calm beauty from a room I thank Rebecca.”
The spacious living room has walls painted a golden-green color called “Pale Ale.” The focal point of the room is the fireplace, with beautiful tilework that was painstakingly redone by Phil in recent years (Phil has personally taken on many projects, including installing the home’s copper gutters). The space is large enough to have ample seating and open floor space. The furnishings include a library desk placed behind the leather couch, situated to echo the feel and design of a national park lodge, says Patricia.
One of Patricia’s favorite rooms is the conservatory, where she and Phil like to drink their morning coffee as light streams through the many windows. The exterior door here opens onto the spacious brick terrace. In the dining room, rich red walls (the inset wallpaper here, by William Morris, is called Brer Rabbit) provide the backdrop for some of the couple’s art collection, which includes pieces by George Flett, Russell Chatham and Ric Gendron.
When it comes to furnishing and decorating their home, Patricia says there’s a simple litmus test. “First and foremost, it’s about whether we like it,” she says. The Colorado sunrise lithograph by Chatham looks as suited to the dining room as does the vivid artwork by Gendron, though the pieces are vastly different in terms of color, subject and material. The décor has the welcoming, collected feel that comes when residents bring in pieces they love, over time. Case in point: the library desks. “I just happen to love old library desks, so we have a lot of old library desks,” says Patricia. Why not?
The kitchen is white and spacious, with a gas range, a large island and handcrafted cabinetry. Patricia describes herself as the rare person who has more cabinets and drawers than she knows what do with. “It’s a luxury I’ll never have again,” she says. The original butler’s pantry has built-in china cupboards and wide drawers designed to hold cutlery and linens. The eat-in kitchen nook, lined with built-in glass-front cabinetry and multi-paned windows, provides a sunny eating spot and opens onto a deck.
Also on the main floor is a cozy den with a fireplace as its focal point; the walls are lined with built-in bookshelves. The main floor powder room is located just off of this space.
A stately staircase off the reception hall leads to the second story. The master bedroom has a charming alcove with its own fireplace, topped with a copper and zinc hood; the master boasts two closets and an en suite bathroom. The second story also has a large office and two guest bedrooms, in addition to an upstairs laundry room (a space added to the house in 1914, which first served as an open-air sleeping porch). A smaller staircase connecting the first and second stories was designed for domestic help.
The home also has a spacious lower level. “We have a whole vast empire down there,” says Patricia with a laugh, noting that it’s complete with a sauna and a Japanese soaking tub. Downstairs there is also a recreation room, storage space, bedrooms and bathrooms, and a mechanical room.
The home is full of rich details and quality craftsmanship, all of which convey the hard work and love that have been poured into it for more than 100 years, with each owner placing his or her stamp on the property before it becomes shelter for its next good stewards.
New owners will have that opportunity again before long. Phil and Patricia are preparing to embark on their next adventure and have put the home on the market. It will soon be time for the next family to grow herbs on the deck off the kitchen, as Patricia does and Betsy did before her, and for someone else to meander down to the secret garden that Betsy’s family put in and that Phil and Patricia laid a path to one year for their anniversary. The next owners will make their own mark, reaping the benefits from those who have come before and sowing for the generations to follow.
“We’ll make sure the next family loves it and will take good care of things,” says Patricia.
If you’d like to learn more about this historic home, which is currently on the market, please contact broker Joe Dinnison: (509) 869-4509, [email protected], or www.joedinnison.com. A 3D tour of the property is also available on the home page at www.joedinnison.com.
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