VPA presentation at the Kimura House

Posted on | March 22, 2010 | No Comments

I just had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the Victorian Preservation Society of Santa Clara County a very friendly non-profit group of folks dedicated to the preservation of historic homes, (including those built after the Victorian era) in that community.

Kimura House

The presentation took place at what I learned was a recently designated historic landmark, the Kimura House, (above) located in the heart of San Jose’s old Japantown.  Our evening was hosted by members James Williams and Lance Shoemaker who had recently purchased the Kimura House property after the death of the last of the resident family members.

I encourage you to read the fascinating background story to this elegant house which is detailed on the VPA newsletter link here, (click on the pdf of the March 2010 newsletter)…

Surviving members of the Kimura family have been helping the current owners with research and history of the house and are said to be keenly interested in its preservation.

To start, all of us at the presentation that night were treated to a tour of this charming old Italianate, with some of its over 100 year old interior decoration still in place.  Of course, the thing that got my attention the most was the remaining wallpaper.  Two complete Victorian roomsets are still in evidence, parts of one of them in the dining room, (which the homeowners had preserved in place before stripping the other decayed remains). The fill paper below (which was more easily photographed) was an abstracted filagree of metallic gold line work, with ivory colored insets on a acidy beige background. James had actually found the short-lived manufacturer’s name on the selvedge of the paper and then tracked some of their story from a Google search. This style of paper was a typical product for them, for they had specialized, according to their advertising, in “gold and ivory patterns on beige grounds”!

dining room fill

The other set, all three pieces being illustrated here, was hung in the remarkably intact finished basement of the house.

basement papers

under stairs paper

Along with the wallpaper, the basement still has its original mouldings and a carved marble fireplace …


Back upstairs, the owners had kindly left another area of wallpaper in the front entry for us all to study, which has several layers, the floral one in the picture being an Arts & Crafts paper designed as many were, to look like a woven textile, which was remarked to look more like a “pixilated computer rendering” than a typical bungalow-era paper.

arts & crafts fill

After the tour, a brief history of the Kimura House was given and then the lively group of about 30 in attendance were treated to a “sneak peek” of some of the Bradbury & Bradbury projects we have in the works, and it was great to get their positive feedback and suggestions, which are always appreciated. I last spoke to the group in 2006, so it was a great chance to catch up on how things have gone for everyone over the last few years.

I had a great evening with the VPA members and it was exciting to see so many original intact wallpapers and the beautiful Kimura House! Thanks again to the VPA for the invitation and to James and Lance for hosting the evening for us.


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