Are We Walking to Alaska

Are We Walking to Alaska
Are We Walking to Alaska - A True Story

Monday, September 2, 2013

Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors

When we first moved to Blue Lake, CA I was fascinated by the old houses, and their old doors.  We spent one evening walking around town, me taking photos of doors, Don trying to act inconspicuous as he waited for me to finish taking pictures of people's houses.

The houses were all built between 1888 and 1902.

Blue Lake was a new town, founded by a Frenchman who offered French citizens 100.00 in cash and a city lot to build their house on if they would come to America.

The people that accepted the offer came by ship around through the Panama Canal - it sometimes took them over a month at sea to reach their destination - and then they had to come by a smaller steamship up to Blue Lake from San Francisco.

The houses were beautiful as were the gardens, but one thing that the French brought that was not welcome - the huge snails.  Some escaped from their kitchens and it is still a constant battle to keep the snails from eating everything in the gardens. One snail can strip 6 good size marigold plants in one night.

Many of the homes are on the National Register of Historic Homes.  

Notice the doorbell - just above the horizontal decoration - slightly to the right (painted light pink).  You twist the knob of the bell and it rings inside.

This home has been turned into a business.

This house was in sad shape - it is waiting for someone to fix it up and give it new life

This is the front door to our house.  It had been painted HOT PINK with burgundy trim - the front of the house had faded to a softer, dirty pink.  It was painted over 40 years before we moved in, so it was time for a change.  Don picked the color scheme - keeping it traditional.  Pale sky blue with white and navy blue trim.  The paint store mixed the darker color for us - it is now available as Navy Gumbo - Don chose the paint name too.  So if you want that exact color - ask for Navy Gumbo at Sherwin Williams - they will mix it for you.

After painting - that's better.

The house was built with wood from just one redwood tree.  The man who built the house cut the tree and milled his own lumber with the help of his son.  They had enough wood to built two more houses just like this one, from the same redwood tree.

Because it was redwood the house had to be hand scraped and then primed with oil base primer.  If primed with latex paint the redwood would soak through the paint and make big stain marks, ruining the whole paint job.

We painted the house in  September, and the coastal weather turned cold and misty near the end.  We  painted a big portion of the back of the house the last day, and when we got up in the morning all the paint had slid down the wall and puddled on the ground.  We  had to repaint - on a warmer day, and finished the job two days before our 25th anniversary trip to Wisconsin on Amtrak (a gift from our kids).

After we painted our house our neighbors saw the improvement and many of the others houses in town got a new coat of paint.  It was fun to walk up and down and see the community spirit of improvement.


Nonnie said...

wow, the Founding Father was generous! I love the new color of your home; it's such a soothing color. Navy Gumbo, not sure about the name, but it is a wonderful color. How great, to let his name of the color be accepted by the paint company!
I love old doors too. I wonder what it says of us? Maybe that we are open-hearted? Yeah, let's go with that!

The Weaver of Grass said...

JoAnn - that house of yours is magical - to someone from the UK
I must say that it looks like a house in fairyland.

Em Parkinson said...

I absolutely love pictures of doors so this was a great post for me! Beautiful - thanks JoAnn!

Kay said...

Thank you for the great history lesson! I didn't know that was how Blue Lake came about. Love the door pix and the story of your former house. It is really beautiful and "navy gumbo" sets it off perfectly.

Fundy Blue said...

The doors are lovely, JoAnn! And your house is beautiful. I love the colors you chose. I can't imagine waking up and finding the paint puddled on the ground! How discouraging! Have a good week!

Pondside said...

That was a fun post! I have a 'thing' for doors, and as I scrolled through your post I thought 'I like the ones with all glass, and a curtain best of all' - and then there was your door - glass with a curtain!

J said...

Your house could be a Christmas card - such a perfect time of evening captured against the welcoming warmth of the light inside one window. Makes me want to step right in, settle down, and stay forever!

Mary said...

Beautiful homes, and what scrumptious doors! :) I have a definite 'thing' for wonderful doors.

I had no idea that snails are so destructive! Awful. I write little rhymes about them sometimes. but the ones i write about are 'good' snails. lol. Maybe i should change them from snails to some other creature. But definitely not banana slugs. lol again.

VioletSky said...

Those doors are lovely!
And I can barely imagine a tree so big as to be able to get even your house out of it, never mind two more!!

toby said...

Thank you so much for that wonderful collection - the doors are beautiful, and their history is fascinating! Your house looks lovely, I can see how it must have been an inspiration to your neighbors :)
Thanks for sharing these with us at WWDD! Have a great week!

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

I like this blue. Don't think I would ever want a hot pink door : )

Jeanne said...

I would love to walk the streets of your neighborhood. What enchanting doors and your house looks very inviting.

Wildflowerhouse said...

Your sweet home would make a wonderful Christmas card. Loved hearing all the history.

radish38 said...

Joanne, I saw this post and laughed. We lived in Arcata, and Mckinleyville for about 30 years. Every now and then we thought about moving to Blue Lake, because the weather was better. So many times we could see that Blue Lake was out of the fog.

Yes our weather was great last night. I keep buying cabbage for sauerkraut but nothing has come to pass.

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

What a sweet little town you lived in! I love the history and the beautiful doors! Doors say so much about a home and these are really special. Your former home is very pretty with its beautiful colors and door. It looks like a Christmas card! How cool that the paint company kept your name! I really enjoyed this post. xo

Anonymous said...

Interesting doors. Your house looks lovely after painting.

Mary said...

How amazing that one tree provided so much lumber for building! How long did you live there Joanne? It's just beautiful, especially with snow for the Holidays.

So the French actually traveled all that way with LIVE snails, yuck! I dislike them almost as much as slugs!!
Doors always fascinate - one wonders just what goes on behind them!

Hope your week is going well dear.
Hugs - Mary