Holiday Home Tour: From country to town living

Vicki Riddle deserts country life for an established home in a desirable Exeter neighborhood

By Cindy Valdez

Exeter Woman’s Club

EXETER – Vicki moved from the country in 2016 and found her new home in one of Exeter’s most desirable well established neighborhoods. Her home was originally built in 1922 but has gone through an extensive remodel over a recent two year period.

Approaching the home, you will be greeted by a delightful Christmas display of Santa’s Sleigh. Behind the display is an outside lamp pole in which the base is an original brake drum with the light pole itself being made from a Ford drive shaft. On each side of the house there are outside courtyards. In the south courtyard you will see a beautiful scene of Santa’s Village. Just inside this courtyard there is an old-fashioned swing originally made by a previous owner and Exeter High School shop teacher, Beryl Allison. This is a must see! The sides of the swing are secured by Ford drive shafts and the ornate iron designs at the top of each side were taken from 1902 Lincoln School desks making this really an interesting piece.

In the north side courtyard you will encounter a spectacular Winter Wonderland White Christmas! Here you will see an artistic silhouette of a couple kissing in a window and be able to smell greenery called Rosary Beads or String of Pearls that smell like Christmas cookies.

Going into the home through the front door, you are met by an open floor plan. The kitchen sits on your right and is newly remodeled. The home has gone from dark stained wood and earth tones to very inviting cool whites and muted gray tones creating a new, fresh and cheerful atmosphere. Many historical and architectural features have been preserved. Immediately noticeable is a large wall- to- wall exposed gray stained multifaceted bridge beam. This beam was originally covered by stucco. The original three six paned panel windows, which face south in the dining area, create warm sunlit mornings. There is an original built in cabinet just below the windows with matching china cabinets on each side.

Looking across the room is the fireplace which contains prized Batchelder tiles and sconces. These were made by Ernest Batchelder (1876-1957) an American artist who lived in southern California. A door near the fireplace leads to the spacious master bedroom which was created by walling in part of the north side courtyard.

The stairs, that lead up to two beautifully decorated bedrooms and a bathroom, are original to the home. Again you will see the Ford drive shaft and school desk ornamentation used at the beginning of the stairs. The bathroom is also original and is done in bright whites. The bedroom on the south side of the bathroom previously had a closet built in just inside the door to the room. When the closet was removed in this latest remodel, a secret door was found inside the closet that now leads to the bathroom from the bedroom. This same bedroom originally had a small room in it that was used as an observation room to watch for incoming military aircraft at one time. That small room is now a walk in closet with barn style doors. The two upstairs bedrooms and downstairs guest bedroom (off the family room) are dedicated to each of Vicki’s three grown sons, Jonathan, Brandan and Justin, so they have a place of their own to stay when they visit.

In the upstairs hallway there is a door that leads to an old- fashioned attic. Here in the attic a scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has been created for your pleasure!

Going downstairs you will walk east through the family room and out a door to the east side courtyard where you will be able to smell chestnuts roasting! Just outside the door there is a very comfortable relaxing social area. Next to this you will find a separate building that was once the carriage house. Just inside the door, there is an exposed area showing the bricks that are the primary building material in the home. The home was originally built by the owners of the Exeter Brick Yard. Looking north, past the sparkling pool and spa, you will see a beautiful Christmas Nativity.

There are many charming, unique and interesting things to see in Vicki’s home that are too many to mention here. This is a home you will just have to see!

You can see Vicki Riddle’s home along with three others on the Christmas Home Tour presented by the Exeter Woman’s Club, Friday, Dec. 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are $25 each and on the day of the tour tickets are $30. Tickets are available at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Antiques by the Water Tower and E.T.C. in Exeter, Franey’s in Visalia or from any EWC member. Featured homes will be decorated for the holidays and there will be a hospitality house at the Exeter Woman’s Club, 201 N. Kaweah in Exeter, where they will be serving hot cocoa and snacks with live music throughout the evening.

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