A Vintage-Post WWII Home in the North McDonald Historic District- Part II

Real Estate Agent with FHAllen, Sonoma Country and Vintage






"Every home has its own story"

Part II

A Vintage Post WWII Home in the North McDonald Historic District


This is my second installment on Vintage Homes in Sonoma County. As it happens I have just listed a vintage home within walking distance from where I live. It is located in the Historic North McDonald Addition which is part of the Junior College District.

The home is a example of post war ranch -style construction. It was built in 1948 in the post World War II housing boom. I wouldn't be surprised if it was financed by a VA loan ( an important component of the G.I. Bill) that did so much to broaden and strengthen the American middle class. After the war, lumber and other building materials were in short supply. With millions of veterans returning to civilian life this imposed constraints on the average size of new dwellings built in this period. Thus most of the houses of this vintage had only four or five rooms including a single bathroom within a thousand square feet.

This single level, 3 bedroom, 1 bath vintage home was later expanded to incorporate the space formerly occupied by a patio. This addition was extended from the kitchen to create a family room that leads to an exceptionally large back garden. The lot is almost a quarter of an acre.

This is a simple house that has been owned by the same family for over 40 years and has many features that mid-century homes offer. The hardwood floors have just been refinished, and expansive windows in the living room provide visual access to the street where neighbors pass by on their way to local shops walking their dogs and jogging. Houses on this block don't come up for sale very often because the location and the variety of architectural styles encourages and sustains strong neighborhood ties. Most of the neighbors have known one another for many years and the relatively small, more manageable houses on large lots provide for comfort, convenience and affordability.

One of the advantages of this neighborhood is its close proximity to downtown, the old courthouse square and to shops and restaurants within the neighborhood. The Town and Country Shopping center for example is a few blocks away and includes a family owned market with local and organic products and a GREAT delicatessen, pizza parlor, florist, family restaurant, cleaners, gift shop, and a first class bakery.

All homes have their own story, especially vintage homes. This home's narrative features a woman in her eighties who with her husband bought the house from the original owner in 1968. The young couple started a family and raised two children in the house. After their son and daughter moved on into adulthood, they stayed in the home together for many years, enjoying friends, family, and neighbors, until he passed away. She stayed in the family home continuing to enjoy her neighbors and lifelong friends in familiar surroundings. But as she grew older, the house and grounds became increasingly difficult for her to keep up and she wanted to live closer to her daughter, son-in-law and their family.

The home was in need of work before it went on the market. As might be expected a number of deferred maintenance items had accumulated, which is typical of homes owned by older people. The family contributed many hours putting the house in order to market it successfully. Much time was spent painting, pulling up carpet, installing quarter round, cleaning, mulching, pruning and eliminating overgrown shrubs. Past relationships were rekindled when the daughter returned to her childhood home to refurbish the house for marketing. Even her grandson, who was home on spring break, contributed his skills as he prepares for a degree in landscape architecture!

A home and termite inspection was ordered so that there would be "NO" surprises when a buyer has their own inspections. As a result a new roof and gutters were installed.

We will be "on the market" this week. Wish us luck!


 Front of Stewart St.

Posted by

Kathleen Bonham

Vintage Home Specialist

Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol