History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

26 June 2009

A mansion in McCloud

I just returned from a delicious week spent in McCloud, California. This tiny village sits just south of Mt. Shasta, which you can see from every street in town. McCloud is my favorite place to rest and recoup, partly because my brother and his wife live there, partly because I have no agenda or to-do list when I visit, and partly because their house has a huge, old-fashioned sunny/shady front porch.

This house was built in 1904! McCloud is an old lumber-mill town in Siskiyou County, 14 miles east of Highway 5. Between 1904 and 1908, the mill owners built all the houses in town for the lumbermen and their families, and the structures are still solid as a just-skinned redwood tree. Most are two-story, with big rambling kitchens, many-paned windows, big front porches, fenced gardens, steep roofs (for the snow), and wood shingles.

When my brother and his wife first looked at the house, it was divided into two separate upstairs and downstairs apartments (nowdays you’d call it a duplex). When they bought it in 2004 it was a real mess. They converted it into a (very large) single-family house, stripped the hardwood floor, added 3 elegant bathrooms (!), modernized the kitchen, scraped off the wallpaper and painted all the walls (including the beautiful old crown molding). Then they furnished the entire place with antiques scrounged from estate sales in nearby Dunsmuir and Shasta City.

If you love big, old houses, you would love this place: four bedrooms with wrought iron double-bedstead frames and handmade heirloom quilts; 4 bathrooms, 3 with old-fashioned claw-foot tubs; oriental rugs bought at estate sales on the downstairs living room floor and on the upstairs living room floor; and a wall-to-wall windowed sun-porch upstairs that runs the width of the house.

And, of course, my favorite feature---the sublimely relaxing front porch, on which I hang out and work on my novel in progress.
And read.
And nibble cheese and wine.
And talk.
And write...
And wish I could spend year-round in McCloud.

I adore old houses. Do you?

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Blogger Unknown said...

I do. I grew up in a 1906 Craftsman Foursquare, and I'm in the midst (muddle?) of trying to buy a 1916 Bunglow. *fingers crossed*

11:38 AM  
Blogger Amanda Elyot said...

It sounds so yummy, Lynna! The perfect place to recoup your energy and recharge your creative batteries. I grew up in a Bronx apartment, live in an apartment now (in fact I've never lived in a house!); and I love old houses just like your McCloud paradise. They're the sort of places I like to look for in a B&B when my husband and I head for a romantic getaway.

More and more lately, my psyche is craving the notion of living in a lovely old house somewhere with clawfoot tubs, window seats, and a whole separate room for my library. Oh, how I would love to have all my books in one place!

And yet, being a dyed in the wool New York City gal ... I'm not sure I could do it full time, for the rest of my life.

Oooh, Kalen, my fingers are crossed for you, too!

3:52 PM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Fingers crossed and sending positive energy your way, Kalen! You must post some pictures of your little bungalow. I love that style!

We have some lovely old houses here in Wetumpka. If you have ever seen the films BIG FISH or THE GRASS HARP you will see a number of the gorgeously restored old houses here.

My ambition is to have an old-fashioned house with a wrap-around porch built on my five acres one of these days.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

I live in a tiny SF Victorian that may or may not be pre-quake -- high ceilings, a bay window, some ok old molding. Not so bad all in all.

But if I had my druthers I'd live in a house with a porch, with a swing, from which I could watch thunderstorms (and also, somehow or alternately, live in Manhattan).

8:51 PM  
Blogger LorelieLong said...

When I was about 8, I lived in an SF Victorian (in the Castro district). I still love old houses. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't.

Our joke is that for retirement we'll have to find a large property with an old house on one end, and a lake on the other, and have his and hers houses.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I adore old houses. There are some gorgeous Queen Anne homes in Flatbush in Brooklyn from around the turn of the century, and I'm just dying to own one, or a lovely mews cottage in London.

4:09 PM  

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