Exeter Spring Home Tour: The Nickel Home

The home of Gene and Carol Nickel will be part of the Exeter Woman’s Club’s spring home tour on March 21

By Cindy Valdez
Exeter Woman’s Club

EXETER – To get to this home you will need to drive eastbound in the 1300 block of Rocky Hill Drive and just past the school speed sign turn left onto North Gill Road. The street is marked by two rock and brick columns. Drive to the end of the street and there you will see the Nickels’ beautiful new Craftsman styled home. Parking is along the south side of the home.

Upon walking up the semi circular spacious cement driveway, you will immediately notice the masterful design of the front of the home with its gabled roof, square wooden columns, eaves and finished pine soffit, rustic lighting fixtures, rock walls and rock chimney. You will also see upgraded features such as the four link rain chains which drain water to the ground like a waterfall!

Our tour begins at the front door. There is a sweet miniature kumquat tree just to the right of the entryway. A right turn inside and down the hallway will take you to Gene’s office which is handsomely decorated. An extraordinary chicken coop with stained glass windows can be seen from the window, making it easy for Gene to check on his chickens! Notice on an upper shelf a 1920s toy truck that belonged to Carol’s father. Above the west side windows and window seat there is a framed WWll “Short-Snorter,” also belonging to Carol’s father, which is currency signed by flight crews and conveyed good luck to soldiers crossing the Atlantic. Friends would take local currency and sign each other’s bills creating a “keepsake of your buddy’s signatures.”

Moving down the hallway is the guest bathroom and bedroom. The guest bed features a brightly colored bedspread and a Sundance quilt. In the room there is a wooden spinning wheel which was handmade by Carol’s great grandfather. The needlepoint footstool near the spindle was won by Carol’s grandmother in 1905 in a foot race. The three pictures over the bed were Carol’s daughters when they were children.

The tour now enters the generously sized living room. Stylish custom-built display ledges and cabinetry make up the entire south wall. A wood, tile and stone fireplace stands in the middle of the room which separates the entry to the home from the living room. The individual tiles are from Pasadena Craftsman Tile and were made to the specific dimensions of the custom fireplace. Near the fireplace is an old oak platform rocking chair made in 1875 by Carol’s great grandfather.

Next is the kitchen and dining areas of the home. The kitchen is a top of the line chef’s kitchen and includes every modern luxury including dark gray Neolith countertops, three sinks, double ovens, roll out microwave oven and an in-cabinet trash container. Every detail was carefully selected and quality crafted. Carol said during the construction of the home she found that the double ovens placement made it too difficult for her to manage so one of the double ovens was placed at the far end of a large walk in pantry. A very large (equivalent to a case of wine) 1982 Pesenti Winery Zinfandel wine bottle sits on a counter which was a 40th birthday gift. Carol said it was opened in 2018 and was still very good!

You will now enter Carol’s comfortably furnished office. Here you will see a long butcher block table which is used as a working area, for craft activities and a storage place. Notice the dog ornaments hanging near the window which are pictures of all the dogs that have been part of Gene and Carol’s life over the years. On top of the table there is a hand-crafted wooden truck that was won at a charity auction and given to the Nickels by Carol’s sister. It is now a favorite toy of the great grandchildren!

Moving down the hallway from Carol’s office you will now enter the master bedroom and bath. The bedroom features a recessed ceiling and lighting fixture with wood accents surrounding the room and recessed areas. In the master bathroom there are matching dual vanities and separate showers with an exquisite tree design stained glass window in between the showers. From the windows in the bedroom and bathroom there is a showcase view of the Sierra Nevada mountains and Homer’s Nose! Beyond the master bedroom and bathroom is the laundry room. 

The tour is finished with the covered flagstone back patio. Here you will see a relaxing outside living area, raised pool and spa, water fountain, flower beds and a large ornamental metal flower—a perfect place to spend time in our great Exeter Spring weather and fantastic area for outdoor entertaining! The spacious back yard is fenced in black wrought iron. You will exit the tour around the south side of the residence where you will see hand built raised flower gardens and the before mentioned adorable chicken coop that you do not want to miss seeing!

The Nickels have created a gorgeous home in a stunning setting-a beauty you will have to see! You can see the Nickels’ home, along with three other homes on the Spring Home Tour presented by the Exeter Woman’s Club, Saturday, March 21, from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are available now at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, By the Water Tower Antiques, and at E.t.c. in Exeter. For more information, call 559-799-3641 or www.exeterwomansclub.com.

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