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Beauty Restored

An architectural gem in Hobson Heights gets a facelift to restore her historical charm and elegance.

By Karen Lindell

Photo by Chad Jones

 

n real estate, home flipping v. historical renovation can be compared to pancakes. Buying a house and fixing it up to sell it for a quick profit is not unlike whipping up pancakes from a mix and slathering them in store-bought syrup, prepared by anyone who can read directions on a box.

Renovating a house is akin to painstakingly making those pancakes from scratch, with syrup sourced from Vermont, all crafted by an executive chef.

An estate home in Ventura’s Hobson Heights neighborhood has gone the gourmet route.

The historical home, built in 1938, fell into various states of disrepair over the years under different owners. It has been lovingly restored by the current owner, real estate developer and construction consultant Trevor Eikenbary of Ventura, who specializes in historical renovations and bought the home in March. Eikenbary and his crew completely renovated the Spanish-style estate, taking care to maintain classic features like the white oak floors, a domed copper breakfast-nook ceiling and old-fashioned fixtures, while incorporating modern amenities like recessed lighting, new plumbing and sleek appliances.

“Flipping is not concerned with the historical integrity of the architecture or features of the home, or how the house was meant to be lived in,” Eikenbary said. “I’m really committed to bringing out the historical elegance of the house.”

Eikenbary said he purchased the home because he had been looking for a house that needed “significant restoration to bring it back to its original beauty. This was a real diamond in the rough. I’ve done a lot of historical renovations over the years, but this was far from what it once was, more so than anything I’ve ever seen.”

His Ventura realtor, Judy Fairchild, was more blunt: “It was daunting,” she said of the restoration project.

At 51 Lincoln Drive, historical integrity begins at the front door.

Eikenbary, who preserved the home’s original mahogany wood door with peekaboo windows, speaks passionately about the door’s details.

“For locks on most doors now, you just bore a hole through the door,” he said. “But we have this mortise lock, where you have to cut into the side and face of the doors to receive the lock. And we used the original glass knobs and metal, so when you open the door, you grab what the original owners grabbed.”

As for honoring how the house was “meant to be lived in,” according to Eikenbary, that meant taking advantage of the ocean views and providing plenty of space inside and out for entertaining.

The 3,880-square-foot home, on 18,981 square feet of land, has five bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. As in other Hobson Heights homes, occupants have prime views of the ocean and Channel Islands.

The Lincoln Drive home preserves the original tall windows throughout — the 1930s glass is rare; building codes today wouldn’t allow it — and includes six outdoor lounging/dining spaces. Nearly every room has access to an outside area via a balcony or patio. Outside dining areas include Spanish tile and wrought-iron features, and a pergola on pea-gravel flooring.

On a smaller scale, Eikenbary paid attention to every little detail in the house.

“I spent a lot of time identifying and salvaging what’s already there, and being very, very careful with it,” Eikenbary said.

Other elegant features that Eikenbary preserved are the 12- to 14-inch-tall intricate crown molding, metal basins in several of the bathrooms, and tile throughout, whether on the floors or on the fireplace in the living room.

“In a few places where it’s falling out, the workman spent hours cutting it out,” Eikenbary said of the fireplace tiles. “In a flip you quickly knock it out and replace it. In a renovation you spend hours with a small sharp knife chiseling tile to reuse and preserve it.”

A powder room downstairs contains the original metal basin sink.

“It’s more cost-efficient to buy a sink at a home-improvement store, mount it and be done with it,” Eikenbary said. “We have modern plumbing and faucets, but the historical renovation element is re-using and revitalizing that basin.”

His biggest renovation challenge, he said, was finding someone to craft a wrought-iron railing that “looked top-notch but handmade, and incorporate it into the main staircase. That element was really important to me.”

Each step of the prominent circular staircase in the main area downstairs is decorated with colorful Spanish tiles handmade in Mexico.

Downstairs is a breakfast nook with a vaulted ceiling and copper dome roof. The nearby Spanish-style kitchen has a plastered-in range hood, with hanging pendant lights over the sink. Custom cabinets look as though they are from a long-ago era, but inside contain modern luxuries such as soft-closing hinges — a rare instance of newer hardware beating out vintage fixtures.

The kitchen also has a butler’s pantry and basalt counters, often found in older homes.

Eikenbary said another challenge was the landscaping. He worked with a landscaper to determine what the home would have looked like when it was built. He sought out Mediterranean flora, including olive trees and agave plants. The home does have a front lawn, but the remainder of the landscaping requires minimal water to maintain, Eikenbary said.

Double doors lead into the master bedroom suite, which has more of those tall windows, along with a wrap-around balcony covered with a trellis, offering views of the harbor, ocean and islands.

The basement has a wine cellar refurbished with unstained alder wood to give it a vintage look.

“There’s an old element to the wine cellar; you think you’re walking into some kind of speakeasy,” Eikenbary said.

Even though the home has a roomy footprint, the vibe is neither daunting nor imposing.

According to Fairchild, “We had 150 people for an open house and the house just absorbed it. No one ever felt crowded or stepped-on. Yet you don’t feel like you’re in a cavernous place. The design lends itself to easy entertaining.”

Despite all the Spanish authenticity, one of the home’s most charming elements has a decidedly English flavor. Underneath the curving staircase is a closet that Eikenbary calls the Harry Potter closet — after the cupboard that Harry Potter was forced to live in by the Dursleys in J.K. Rowling’s book series.

“My wife and kids put Harry Potter books, a wand and a candle in there,” he said.

So in addition to all the historical touches, the house has a touch of magic, too.

Trevor Eikenbary
805.698.5362
trevor.eikenbary22@gmail.com

Chad Jones Photograpy
805.390.6965
www.chadjonesphoto.com

Staging provided by Ventura County Home Staging venturacountyhomestaging.com.

Oon a clear day it feels as though you can see forever (or at least out to the Channel Islands) from the spacious balcony of the upstairs master suite.

Boasting nearly 4,000 square feet of living area, the estate is an entertainer’s dream, with wide open spaces, vintage white oak floors, arched entryways and a grand staircase with custom tile and wrought-iron railing.

The large upstairs balcony will impress with its sweeping views.

 

In the kitchen classic style has been harmoniously blended with modern amenities. The soft green paint and vintage fixtures have the charm of an era gone by, but the stone countertops and luxury appliances are up to the minute.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is both stunning and spacious, with its own balcony, a walk-in closet and a large master bath.

French doors lead to a Mediterranean-style garden, with drought-tolerant landscaping, a pergola and a large farm table — ideal for outdoor entertaining.

09-01-2018

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