The Partridge home in Paso Robles: Home is where the heritage is

For John and Barbara Partridge, the love of home design in the Craftsman style and inherited antique furniture combine to make their home special

rajuretic@sbcglobal.netJuly 3, 2013 


    MIX IT UP Craftsman furniture is so simple and clean-lined that it combines well with other styles. Craftsman wood cabinets look nice alongside stainless steel appliances, bringing warmth to a modern kitchen. A few pieces of Craftsman furniture can temper the formality of traditional décor.

    USE WHAT YOU LOVE The Partridges have combined many different furniture styles in their home including traditional, contemporary and Craftsman. Barbara believes that if you decorate with items that you love, everything will naturally work well together.

    KEEP IT LIGHT Lots of richly stained woods can make a home seem dark and closed-in. Designer Jennifer Nogle of Interior Motives helped the Partridges choose an earthy yet light color palette to visually brighten the space. They also chose light to medium wood stains.

Like many of his paintings, the Paso Robles home that artist John Partridge built for himself and wife Barbara demonstrates a deep reverence for the past.

It was inspired by Barbara’s grandparents’ fondness for Craftsman design. Among the pieces handed down to John and Barbara were an oak dining table and chairs made by Gustav Stickley at his Craftsman Workshops in New York, circa 1910.

The Partridges have formulated their own updated version of Craftsman design. John designed the home and was owner/builder for the project, which began in early 2008 and wrapped up in May 2009. With nearly an acre, the couple could have built a massive home, but instead opted for a more modest 2,700-squarefoot, single-level structure that is carefully nestled amongst the dozen or so oak trees on the property. Large rooms, high ceilings and oversize windows create a more bright and spacious feel than the typical Craftsman bungalow.

In the spirit of Craftsman design, the home is clad in natural materials and displays the handiwork of many local artisans. Window framing was handcrafted by Michael Cheer of The Craftsman Way. Wilson Masonry constructed the floorto-ceiling sandstone living room fireplace. Cabinetry throughout the home was designed by John and constructed by Morro Bay Cabinets. The solid cherry front entry door was handcrafted by Thomas Baer of Doors and More in Paso Robles. It has a modern look along with Craftsman details, such as wavy, textured rain glass panels with inset glass jewels and a massive hammered-iron handle.

The kitchen was outfitted with Craftsman-style cabinets that feature rain glass panels and forged iron hardware. But there are also modern elements like pendant lighting, stainless steel appliances, contemporary leather barstools, and quartz countertops. Bar- bara believes it all works together because of Craftsman’s “clean-lined and angular” aesthetic.

Family history is important to the Partridges. Barbara has traced her father’s family back to colonial times; her mother’s father was a first-generation Swedish immigrant. John is descended from the Calvert family that founded the colony of Maryland.

Rooms, nooks and niches around the house were designed to showcase favorite heirlooms, collectibles and art. The Stickley dining set sits in the kitchen. In the formal dining room, there are six chairs: two that are more than 200 years old, and four that were made to match a century later. Barbara recently had them repaired at Bill’s Furniture Repair in Santa Maria, which makes them “good to go for the next 200 years,” said Barbara.

The dining room was designed to display the couple’s collection of European oil paintings, which have been in Barbara’s family for four generations. Also on display is a Shreve & Company demitasse set from Barbara’s grandfather, and a wind-up wall clock that her grandmother learned to tell time on in 1890.

The family room and kitchen display North American Indian artifacts collected by Barbara, who has a degree in anthropology. Pieces include antique Pima Tribe baskets, Pueblo storyteller dolls, Inuit soapstone carvings, and a Cali fornia Indian stone bowl and pestle.

The guest bathroom was decorated in an island style to best display some of Barbara’s mother’s favorite pieces including a creamware Colonial plate and Steuben glass bowl.

Naturally, the house displays many of John’s paintings, including those depicting local landmarks. There are also paintings by friends, including Paso Robles artist Anne Laddon, and Marilyn Simandle of Santa Ynez, who was John’s teacher and inspiration when he first began painting, “so their styles are similar and very complementary,” said Barbara.

John, who specializes in painting both architecture and landscapes, used his keen eye to design and install nearly all of the land scaping on the property. To add to the home’s wooded ambience, he planted about 30 redwoods that have quadrupled in size over the past four years. He added patios, a stonework fireplace and fountain, and terraced gardens. The property is bordered by blooming oleander. “The outside has the feel of a colorful but rustic country open space but is right in the middle of town,” said Barbara.

A Craftsman-style garage with patio doubles as John’s art studio. He also built lofts for the couple’s racing pigeons and parakeets.

To Barbara, the home is not only comfortable and functional, but meaningful.

“It really gives us a sense of where we’ve come from,” she said.

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