A high-stepping horse and masses of snapdragons welcome visitors to the unique home of renovators Suzanne and David Dobson.

Hospice Home Tour: Vintage Craftsman finds new life with renovation

April 05, 2006
Santa Paula News
A vintage Craftsman-influenced house long ago moved from an oil field found its own home and later took on even newer life when lovingly restored by Suzanne and David Dobson. A vintage Craftsman-influenced house long ago moved from an oil field found its own home and later took on even newer life when lovingly restored by Suzanne and David Dobson.The Dobsons demonstrated much affection in their ambitious renovation of the home at 249 Third St., just one of the offerings of the April 23rd Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group Spring Home Tour, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.This annual Tour offers fascinating contemporary homes, classic architecture, mesmerizing collections and touches of local history at stops throughout the Fillmore, Bardsdale and South Mountain area.The Dobsons fretted over their decision to purchase the circa-1930s home, sagging den ceiling and all.“My wife almost cried when she first saw it,” confided David.It’s hard to believe that the house was ever anything but the beloved home of the Dobsons, who in a little more than two years have worked wonders utilizing hard labor, talent and imagination.The house was just one of many built between the 1920s and 1940s at a Texaco oil refinery near Pole Creek in Fillmore.Moved in 1950 to the generous Third Street lot and enlarged by a subsequent owner, over the years the house fell into disrepair, but now it features a vintage wrought iron high-stepping horse that hangs above the doorway, urging visitors to step right in.Callers will want to linger outside to admire the w side border of multi-colored snapdragons and green expanse of manicured lawn created by David, a professional landscaper/designer.David restored or replaced the wood floors throughout the house, where in the living room they proudly support the handcrafted white oak plank Craftsman furniture he made prior to purchasing the house.He also crafted the era-appropriate gleaming white bookcases with wavy glass that add a subtle border to the room. Built-in shelving and a vintage telephone completes the cozy atmosphere of the living room and matches the traditional built-ins throughout the home.There was no drywall, just planks covered with cloth and paneling, only one of the renovation challenges the Dobsons’ documented with photographs.Originally holding two bedrooms and a pocket-doored Jack & Jill bath, the addition of the planked ceiling den and a guest room created a now roomy 1,700 square feet.The rustic kitchen - their next project - is traditional black and white down to the domino floors; bright red seems to make antique canisters pop out at visitors.Now a den and office combination, the Dobsons believe that the rugged but unusually tiled fireplace was initially an outside gathering place...and that the room was built around it.Folk art prints comfortably line the walls, courtesy of Suzanne, who “has a real flair for low-budget decorating,” as well as an eye for accessories that brings to mind yesteryears, said David.Suzanne’s flair is evident in the bedrooms where soft pastel bedding brings thoughts of linens long hidden away in Grandmother’s trunk.The rear yard is a showcase of natural design using flagstone pathways, a brick raised-patio area holding a spa (under the close scrutiny of an oversized ceramic parrot) and barbecue shaded by a large wooden arbor.From the raised vegetable gardens, a second raised patio area, riots of kaleidoscopic flowers including those spilling from half-barrel planters, birdbaths and a stately Chinese elm, it’s obvious that David’s profession is also his avocation.
There are also more masses of the multi-colored snapdragons that, “To me, are the perfect flower...”An unusual standout is the espalier tree holding six varieties of apples, grafted by Otto & Sons nursery.“I’m from the East Cost and this reminds me of old porch house,” noted Suzanne. “It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter...and I love it!”Other Tour homes include 573 W. Guiberson Road, a contemporary Mediterranean-Spanish hacienda with Old World charm, home to the well-known musical “Familia” of Oralia and Jorge Herrera.At 458 Central Avenue is the home of Michael Keegan, a lofty Neo-Classical-influenced landmark built in 1914 as a Catholic Church now holding unique collections amid gothic living quarters.The fascinating orchard-surrounded home of Deborah and Vincent Burns, 20596 So. Mountain Road, Santa Paula, was designed using nature’s elements and constructed with environmentally friendly “green” materials.A crafty couple, Phyllis & Jim Austin, 415 Fourth St., Fillmore, made a contemporary home uniquely their own with ambitious projects and elaborate finishing touches inside and out.Built in 1901, charming redwood landmark Trinity Episcopal Church - moved to the intersection of Second and Saratoga streets - will be the scene of a Plant Sale (starting at 10 a.m.), Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Sundaes and other Tour activities (12 noon on!) and an opportunity to “freshen up.”Tickets for this very special Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group Spring Home Tour are now available for $20 each; Tour Day $25 at the door.In Santa Paula tickets can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce (200 N. 10th St.), Pamela’s (861 E. Main St.) and Santa Paula Times (944 E. Main St.) and John Nichols Gallery (916 E. Main St.).In Fillmore at Mirage (corner of Central Avenue/Santa Clara Street) and Fillmore Flowers (354 Central Ave.).In Ventura at Jan’s Hallmark & Mail Center (4756-4 Telephone Road/Mervyn’s Shopping Center) and The Senior Center Craft Shop (429 E. Main St.).In Ojai at Tottenham Court (242 E. Ojai Ave.).$20 tickets can also be purchased by mailing a check payable to Santa Clara Valley Hospice, P.O. BOX 365, Santa Paula, CA 93061; to furthersupport Hospice’s “always free services” please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope!For more information, call Hospice at (805) 525-1333.After April 14, call (805) 524-5131 for tickets and “Will Call” reservation information.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.