Saturday, September 03, 2005

Judge Hunter's House

I had a rare treat yesterday to go inside one of Eureka’s finest homes. Maybe I should say, what was at one time one of Eureka’s finest homes. Judge Hunter was a Supreme Court Judge, and I think he built this house in 1887, but that could be wrong.

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The house was cut-up in to apartments in the 40s. The main house has 4 units and the water tower building in the back was expanded to create a 5th unit. The butt-ugly garages were added at that time as well. Even though it was cut-up the interior remains largely in-tact, although in much need of repair and restoration. The one great casualty was the main stair case. It was butchered beyond recognition to separate the upstairs from the downstairs. Also, the square corner turret used to have a large pinnacle roof that extended maybe another 15 or 20 feet in the air. It was probably topped with ornamental metal work.

The house recently went on the market and some friends are considering buying it. They toured it yesterday with a realtor and I got to tag a long. I went posing as Thomas Petch, a wealthy industrialist looking to expand his empire here in Eureka. The current owners bought the house in the ‘70s for $39,000 (Yes, I wrote, thirty-nine-thousand). They are listing it for $565,000. They have done almost nothing to the house in the last 30 years. I mean nothing. Most think it will eventually see for about 20% under the asking price.

Only the finer homes had oak or mahogany trim. Most had redwood. This is the downstairs trim in all but the front parlor and library



The bottom 3-feet of all door casing has this carved detail




There are 5 fireplaces








One of the built-ins in the library


Exterior Detail










Inside shot of 3rd floor turret. You can see most of the city and bay from here.


One of more than a dozen stained glass windows in the house. This one was in the stairwell



Cool house across the street

6 comments:

Amanda said...

Wow. Absolutely fantastic.
Are your friends going to make an offer?
How's the structure?

SmilingJudy said...

What an amazing find! That window in the stairwell looks practically brand new! I love the little 3rd story turret room and the stained glass window (2nd down in exterior detail). Found one very similar to that at an architectural salvage not too long ago, and they wanted like $350 for it even though it still needed total restoration! A bit pricey for me so I had to pass.

Greg said...

Yesterday was the second walk-through. We got to go in the attic. It is huge with towering ceilings and a plank floor. Talk about your great rooms. I'm not sure they've decided to make an offer, or if they have they didn’t tell me. It is actually a small group of people who will buy it as an investment. There are all old house fanatics, so it will be much more than an investment, and they will make improvements. I'm sure there will be a long term goal to turn it back to a single family home. As far as the structure goes, I haven't seen the pest inspection. Like all of these old houses in this area it is made entirely out of the finest old-growth redwood. If there is damage from pests and dry-rot I'm sure it is not that bad. And as with Judy, even at 20% less than the asking price, it is well out of my price range.

Suzanne said...

Wow, what a great house! What fantastic detail. Thanks for the pix, what a treat. I hope either your friends buy it, or someone with vision (and money to do the job. It's certainly worthy. I have to say, those garages are the ugliest additions I've seen in a long time. Gack!!

BTW - Is that you with the camera in the mirror?

Greg said...

Oops, I meant to crop that out. Yes, that is a rare photo of me in the mirror.

Jocelyn said...

imagine living in such a house in it's time-wow. That woodwork & trim is beautiful and great it's still intact. The garages do detract a bit- I agree.

thanks for sharing.