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Coronado 365 - May 2022

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Rescue mission

Cottage update respects home’s history

By MARTINA SCHIMITSCHEK

With royal blue shutters set

against light stucco and a gambrel roof reminiscent of a barn, the recently renovated Dutch Colonial Revival house surrounded by a white picket fence is a picture of storybook tranquility. But by the time the current homeowners, who wish to remain anonymous, bought the house in 2018, it had seen a lot of living. “The house was in rough shape,” the husband said.

To avoid a patchwork of updates, the couple decided to take the walls down to the studs, rewiring and replumbing the two-story 3,500-square-foot house while making some small adjustments to the layout to add modern comfort. They kept everything that was salvageable,

including the original hardwood floors, the doorknobs and a lot of the hardware. In all, 688 windowpanes were numbered and removed; the window frames were shipped to Los Angeles to be stripped of years of paint. The windows that couldn’t be salvaged were replaced with old glass.

Their effort has garnered them a GEM (Going the Extra Mile) nomination this year from the Coronado Historical Association.

Among the owners’ priorities was getting a historical designation by the city of Coronado and subsequent approval for Mills Act tax reductions. Both goals were achieved by January 2019.

The couple had their eye on the home when it was for sale two years before they bought it. When it came on the market

Clockwise from top left: The pantry still has the original tilework around the sink; the backyard was completely redone with a new lap pool; water damage made restoring the sunroom windows a challenge; a new hallway with reading nook leads to the back family room.

again and another offer was accepted, the wife said, “I was in a panic that they would knock it down. I get upset when I see an old house knocked down here.” But that deal fell through, and the couple was able to buy the house and give it the TLC it needed.

“I liked the cottage feel of it, and I liked the coziness of it,” she said

Built in 1928 by A.M. Southard Co., which was the largest custom residential homebuilder in San Diego at the time, the house cost $14,250 to construct during Prohibition. While renovating the home, the couple found “lots of places to hide booze,” the husband said, such as a niche behind a sliding door in the back of a built-in bookcase.

The house, which will be part of the Coronado Historical Association Mother’s Day Historic Home Tour on May 8, was constructed for Charles F. De Long and his family. De Long is believed to be the nephew of Frank De Long, a wealthy Philadelphia inventor who came up with the idea for folding paper boxes, hook-and-eye clothing fasteners and the bobby pin. The De Longs lived in the home for five years until the death of Helen De Long, Charles’ wife.

In 1933, the house became the property of Navy Capt. Stewart Reynolds, his wife, Jane, and their three children. Members of the Reynolds family lived in the home on and off for six decades and hosted everything from military soirees to weddings and lots of family gatherings and parties.

Nick Reynolds, the youngest of the three children, was one of the founding members of The Kingston Trio. The folk music band soared to worldwide acclaim during the late ’50s and early ’60s and helped spark the folk

music revival of that era. Reynolds, who died in 2008, credited his keen harmonizing skills to his family’s singalongs, led by his father, who also played guitar.

The new master bathroom has a vintage feel with black and white tile and decor.

The house, which has five bedrooms and four bathrooms, is designed with lots of places to gather, including a living room, a sunroom, a formal dining room and a casual seating and eating area that opens to the backyard pool.

The couple realigned the hallway from the living room to the back family area,

creating a light-filled corridor next to outside windows and a reading nook by moving the powder room toward the interior of the home. Like much of the rest of the house, the small bathroom is designed with a nautical feel.

The bar area at the beginning of the same hallway was kept intact, complete with a pass-through window to the butler’s pantry. Another hiding spot for liquor was found beneath the bar cabinets.

The couple, who hired Coronado

« The deep blue in the living room reflects the wife's love for color. The wood floor is original but the fireplace was redesigned when the house was used as the San Diego Historical Society's Showcase home in 1998.

Pastel colors add a cheerful note to the dining room and the adjoining sunroom.

“I like color,” said the wife, who grew up in historical homes in San Diego. Her love of color is evident with the rich, dark blue on the living room walls, aqua colors in the pantry and sunroom, and a happy pink in the formal dining room. Colorful chandeliers collected during travels add sparkle.

In contrast, the new upstairs master bathroom was designed in classic black and white with hexagonal floor tiles and subway tiles on the walls.

The landscaping also received a complete makeover with a new lap pool, seating area and an outdoor shower. The front of the property was regraded to level the slope that drained toward the house, causing water damage.

A small, live-edge bench in the front yard adds to the storybook feel of the home, which the owners have named Crescent Moon Cottage for the moon shapes in the meticulously restored shutters.

Like the rest of the house, they needed a lot of tender, loving care, but the extra effort was worth it to the owners.

“You’ve got to respect the house,” the husband said. ■

What: Coronado Historical Association Annual Mother’s Day Historic Home Tour

Where: six homes throughout Coronado

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 8

Tickets: $55 per person or $45 for CHA members, available at the Coronado Museum Store, 1100 Orange Ave., or online

Information: (619) 435-7242 or coronadohistory.org