Each year the Old House Fair Home Tour features five historic homes in the South Park neighborhood.
With your ticket, you’ll enjoy each home on the tour with docent-lead education and history. You will also have access to hop on and off the tour trolley as you choose, according to the website oldhousefairsd.com.
Nightmare on Grape Street
A 1931 ad in the San Diego Union touted these homes on Grape Street as being based on the “style and design of the castles of Munich, Germany.” The houses were built by A.L. Wynston, a retired San Diego and Toronto businessman. Apparently he liked his women German, too. He married one in Tijuana, but the union was tumultuous, to say the least, and in 1933 he shot her and poisoned himself. Apparently, he was a better chemist than marksman: He died, she survived.
The house in the trees
The original owner of this 1924 Spanish Eclectic style house on 29th Street was Margherita Chiavoloni, an Italian immigrant whose source of income is a bit of a mystery: She worked as a companion to a private family in 1920, and in 1930 was working as a secretary at the Navy locker and reading room. Really!
Somehow she was able to afford this rather spacious $7,000 house, which was built by general contractor Edgar Hastings. A supporter of landmark preservation, Hastings apparently was conversant with a number of architectural styles, which he combined artfully in this light-filled corner house. The plaster walls have been retextured, the woodwork has been painted, and there are a number of curious add-ons. But many of the kitchen cabinets are original, as is the tile and sink in the hall bath. And the house maintains its light, airy feel and formal composure.
Burlingame Prairie style
Prolific architect William H. Wheeler designed this Laurel Street home for Dr. John L. Taylor in 1912 at a cost of $5,000. In 2002, the house was extensively renovated, with restored windows, plaster walls and Douglas fir trim. The kitchen and bath are new, as is the electrical, and every room is wired for the internet, even the garage. You never know when your car may need to go online.
New construction, old style
This new house blends in remarkably well on its corner lot, which was vacant for many years after the original house was leveled by a person who obviously doesn’t read this newspaper. Restoration good! Demolition bad! If you’ve been toying with the idea of building a new old house, this is a rare opportunity to see how it can be done.
Sara is the editor of San Diego Uptown News.