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The Downing Home


2303 N Van Ness Blvd.

Please remember to bring your tickets the night of the tour!

This house was built around 1928 by the owner of a lumber yard. It is a Taylor Wheeler and is particularly unique because of its Portland Cement exterior which has never been painted. The house was part of the Taylor-Wheeler St. Francis Woods subdivision. It is around 2500 square feet with a finished basement. Every window in the house is paned. Another unique feature is the sunken backyard.

In l950 Dr. Downing bought the home. He made sure to retain the authenticity of the home. The mahogany woodwork has never been painted and the oak floors are original. The living room features include indirect florescent lighting in the ceiling. The cornice relief covers the lighting. The signature Taylor Wheeler fireplace is all tile with floral mantle supports.

Santas and snowmen can be found in every room although the living room is for Santas only and the dining room is for snow people only. The entire house is an eclectic mix of the décor the homeowner has collected for almost 60 years.

The dining room and breakfast room have parquet floors. The paned windows in the breakfast room look out onto the front yard. There is also a second entry door which may have been used by servants. The small kitchen is reflective of an era of help before larger kitchens were built to accommodate women cooking for their families. There are also two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor. One of the bedrooms might have been used as a servant’s quarters.

The Downing home was on the first Holiday Home Tour 25 years ago. A poster specially designed by Bebe Long was created for the event and one of those posters hangs in the office on the first floor. The first Holiday Home Tour house sign hangs in the window at the back door.

The beautifully curved banister leads to the second floor. The master bedroom and bath are located on this floor. The two other bedrooms are joined together by a jack and jill bathroom. The tile and tubs/showers are all original in the bathrooms. The guest rooms are an homage to the homeowner’s girls and the kid in all of us. The fabric angels and red and green wreath are about 40 years old and were done by an artist in Visalia - Kathy Vidak. The master bedroom harkens back to the days of burgundy and hunter green Xmases giving the homeowner an opportunity to use some of her older pictures and artifacts.

This homeowner is only the fourth owner of the house since it was built. She started decorating in the second grade when she purchased a pink aluminum tree from Woolworth’s. She started collecting seriously in her 20s and has been collecting ever since then. Her philosophy to decorating a home is to stay away from trends and stay with tradition. Every room in her house is reflective of that idea. It is obvious that she loves her home and all things Christmas. We are thrilled to be revisiting the home this year as we celebrate our 25th anniversary.