Revival of a historic home

Local couple restores 5,000 square foot residence while adding modern touches

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The upgrades

The following are a few of the upgrades made to the Shanahans’ home:

  • One wall was removed to make the kitchen larger. The cabinet layout is similar to the original.
  • All ceilings, walls and trim were painted white semigloss. The original color was butter yellow and many rooms contained wallpaper.
  • All windows are double hung and original to the home. There are 610 window panes.
  • All the plumbing has been replaced and the wiring updated.
  • The blue and red tiles in the upstairs bathrooms were recreated to be similar to the originals.
  • There is a full basement.
  • Several of the original plants were salvaged for landscaping and the stone steps in the backyard are original.
  • Most of the lighting fixtures are flea market finds, painted white. The exterior front entry fixture is original.
  • Terri Shanahan pauses as she gazes up at the unique light fixture in the dining room of her Dutch Colonial Revival home.

    Vintage swag lamps, of all different shapes and colors, give the room a bright, somewhat eclectic feel.

    “I love shopping at thrift stores and flea markets,” Terri said.

    The former Nordstrom employee and current designer has an eye for antique items. The light fixtures are just the start.

    During the winter of 2014, she and husband Bob, a local insurance agent, made frequent trips into downtown Camas during a restoration of a historic home the couple had purchased for his office on Northeast Third Avenue.

    The historic home on the corner of Garfield Street and Fifth Avenue caught her eye.

    “During our drive from Prune Hill, I kept looking at this house,” she said. “I just loved it.”

    The Dutch Colonial was designed by world-famous architect A.E. Doyle and built in 1923 by the Camas paper mill as a residence for its managers. The price for construction was $21,000.

    It had been vacant for many years, and the formerly grand home was in need of a face-lift.

    Having just been through a restoration with local contractor Indy Construction, the Shanahans felt comfortable tackling a bigger project.

    “We were looking to move, so our Prune Hill home was pretty much ready to go,” Terri said.

    When the property came on the market in early February 2014, the couple was in Seattle, welcoming a new grandchild. A friend, who knew they were interested in the home, took photos and video of the interior.

    “We made an offer as soon as we got back home and it was accepted on Valentine’s Day,” Terri said. “We loved the home, with the light and all of the windows.”

    The Shanahans chose once again to work with Indy Construction on the project.

    “[Owner Nate Darling] was great to work with and a good listener,” she said. “We felt we could take on this project because his vision was the same as ours. We wanted to freshen it up, but not too much.”

    Darling described the goal as a blance between creating functionality and highlighting the home’s historic characteristics.

    “The process was to make the home functional for today’s family living style while maintaining the home’s existing charm, features and moldings,” he said.

    It began by figuring out how to create a master bedroom on the second floor out of two existing rooms, as well as how to make the kitchen larger and more functional on the main level.

    That process involved removing a chimney and some walls.

    “As for the design, it worked out great despite the hidden surprises found every time we opened a wall or tore up a floor,” Darling said. “None of it was too big to overcome. It was just little things like 4-inch thick concrete poured upstairs for the tile with pipes running through it. In the end, the house turned out great and kept its original charm, while giving Terri the blank slate she wanted to allow her to do lots of decorating.”

    The Shanahans agree.

    “We did a lot of things to the house, but as lightly and simply as we could,” Terri said.

    The construction process was complete on Dec. 22, 2014, just in time for Christmas. The interior is painted all white, with many of the original fixtures and cabinets left intact. Modern touches are mixed in, with artful decor in every room.

    “It is such an honor to be in this home and to be able to experience things,” Terri said. “We didn’t understand the entire significance of this house when we purchased it, but since then have met many wonderful people. We also love being able to walk from here to downtown. We have really immersed ourselves locally.”

    Bob enjoys how the renovation has benefited the neighborhood.

    “I enjoy the positive influence of this house and the area in which it is located,” he said. “There is lots of curiosity about our home.”

    The couple recently opened their historic home to tours during Sip and Shop, a fundraiser for the Downtown Camas Association.

    The event featured tasting of wine, beer and cider, shopping, caroling and a ride on a double decker bus to tour the house.

    “Carrie Schulstad (executive director of the DCA) is our former neighbor, so when this event came up, she asked if we would be a part of it,” Terri said. “People are very curious about the home so we figured it would be a good opportunity for them to come through. We wanted to share our home with the community for this event.”

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