Home 4: David and Vickie Stillwell
Notwithstanding the vestiges of a quiet back road, the Dofflemyer/Stillwell house has kept it’s appearance both inside and out over the past 106 years. This grand old lady sits on the corner of Spruce (now one of the busiest roads in the county) and Marinette.
Built in 1906 by Pete Carney, bought six years later by T.J. Dofflemyer and thereafter remaining in the linage of the Dofflemyer family.
A EWC Home Tour repeat (2000) David and Vickie Stillwell have again stepped up to share this “labor of love” with us. “Rose Villa” coined from a former family love of roses, is one of the older surviving private residences in eastern Tulare County. Make no mistake, Rose Villa stands to this day as a result of David and Vickie’s penchant to maintain it in much of it’s original and 1930’s details.
It’s a rare treat indeed to view the home in the evening much less at Christmas time. The Season is a favorite of the Stillwells and they bring out the best to trim this beauty.
To paraphrase our earlier article, “Upon entering the front door the visitor is greeted by a large foyer with a high, crown molded ceiling. Underfoot is a rare and fancy grade quarter-sawn oak floor”. Also there to greet you is the “Green Nude” by the noted San Francisco artist George Lukits. A rare early acquisition from an otherwise known landscape artist.
The parlor to the right is like walking into a museum, most everything is original. The colors of a peacock run through the textures and shades of fabrics and area rugs, hence the antique black lacquer Peacock theme screen in the corner. Over the fireplace is a large watercolor of St. Mary’s Loch by Scottish artist Tom Scott.
Beyond the parlor sits a very small alcove that will captivate the bibliotheca in everyone with a library and art collected by family long ago. A small watercolor landscape of beloved Scotland must be noted.
The “West Wing” of the house is accessed through a small vestibule on the west side of the entry foyer. It is a more recent addition to the house and is an example of Vickie Stillwells skilled hand at decorating. A prime example of Art Deco style is displayed in the adjoining bath.
To the left of the entry foyer is the formal dining room. Again, all original and impeccable. At the far end of the room hangs the portrait of Mrs. Dofflemyer’s grandfather, Donald MacPherson. To your right through double glass French doors you will see the newly renovated glass ceiling conservatory where the Stillwells have decorated with poinsettias, as was the rooms original intended use.
“At the south end of the dining room turn left into the “butler bar” and then on to the classic, utilitarian farm house kitchen complete with functional wood stove and 1930’s electric range. Vickie assures this kitchen is soon to be renovated but kept with the house integrity. Off the kitchen is a large utility room, a small bedroom & bath, and the breakfast nook, which opens into the conservatory.”
Going up the staircase the second floor landing opens up and leads to the master suite. Here again, the arts and crafts furniture and Persian rug are original to the house. The color of blue being a Dofflemyer favorite saturates the walls and continues throughout fabrics on the bed, the period furnishings and the drapes. A fanciful large horizontal stripe in the drapes was the design mind spring of Vickie. The master bath is truly a step back in time with it’s original Art Deco sink (chrome legs) and lighted mirror. Vickie recalls she had seen a wall covering in Architectural Digest, got online and found the vendor and here you see Peacock feathers on the walls!
In Mrs. Stillwell’s (David’s mother) personal bedroom a picture of her on her wedding day hangs on the wall. As for the rest of the room, the furnishings and fabrics are from her time in the home. Take note the height of the chairs; Vickie recalls that Mrs. Dofflemyer was diminutive.
The upstairs T.V. room is decorated with acanthus leaf wallpaper above a chair rail and grass cloth below. The silk folding screen is truly another work of art as well as a precious antique decorated with cranes in flight. The bath off this room is one this author describes as “stand back!” All exquisite original plumbing fixtures and tile that have been meticulously maintained.
Down the hall at the South/East end of the home is “Grandmother’s Room”also in her favorite “blue” tones. The Eastlake style bed and chest of drawers set came with the house back in 1912.
As you leave this place channel back to 1907 when the Camfer tree in the front yard was still a seedling and the house exterior siding was still green painted shingles and Spruce road was a horse drawn buggie back road.
Thank you goes out to David and Vickie Stillwell for opening this beauty to us. Rose Villa is truly a highlight of the EWC home tour.
For more information on the EWC Christmas Home Tour go to www. exeterwomansclub.com. Tickets on sale at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, By The Water Tower Antiques, Franey Design Center and the Scripture House in Visalia.
Remember to stop by the Exeter Woman’s Club building for your Tour Booklet. Refreshments, treats to take along, and music are in the house!
– By Sara DeJager of the Exeter Woman’s Club.