52 Photos - Jul 8, 2014
Photo: This is the old Mello farmhouse built probably around 1915, although a house or barn is in the same spot on the 1900 Yolo County map, so this house may be from the 1890s. It has moulding like houses in San Francisco from before the 1906 earthquake.Photo: The front of the house is old, but the back portion is new, built in 2010 in a major renovation. The house has a basement and a wall was collapsing, so we tore down the old additions on top of the basement and built new from scratch.Photo: The breezes on the front porch were one of the main reasons I wanted to buy the house in the first place. They blow from the South onto the porch almost every evening, and the rails are wide enough to sit on.Photo: The house had nothing when we bought it. I love to garden. The garden has a mix of succulents, perennials, fruit trees, and vegetables. Many of them are drought tolerant.Photo: The 1900 Yolo County map, which (next image) has a house on the spot where this one is located.Photo: The 1900 Yolo County map (I think) showing Davisville only from 1st to 5th Streets and from A to L streets. Follow the railroad tracks north of town past the 10 up to the second crossing road (which is CR 31, now Covell) - go right on CR 31 and near the corner where it meets CR 102 at a right angle turning only north, is the dot that is this house or a barn.  You only see a few other farmhouses on this map that are still around (kind of) - the one on Covell near Birch, and one that burned in the cemetery (near the 11 on the map).Photo: I think this is from the 1916 map. The photo sucks, but locate the cemetery, which is between the Shehan and Childs plots. West of that is the Robson 40 (where this house is located) and the Hunt properties. I believe in 1957 when the Mellos sold most of their farm to become the neighborhood of north east Davis, that they owned between Pole Line, 8th Street, L Street, and Claremont  Dr. (which was CR 31). The Mellos were dairy and pig farmers, of Portuguese descent. They bought the house in 1922 I think.Photo: Beyond the garden is the garage, which I think was built on by the Mello family in 1961, when they also added on to the back of the house.Photo: This house is special because it has no halls, like many "Arts and Crafts" style homes. Halls became fashionable in postwar houses as a way to separate the public spaces from the private spaces of the house, but in my opinion, they waste a lot of space for no good reason. The dining room has the most intricate woodwork in the house, and the most built-in features with two cabinets and drawers and a bay-window bench seat. It has the "plate rack" moulding at eye level.Photo: When you enter the front door into the living room (lilac color), the rooms connect straight to the back to the kitchen along the east side of the house. There are pocket doors between the living and dining room, and we have tried to rehabilitate them, but one is off the rack and it would require taking apart the moulding and doorway completely to fix it. Rose Mello Banninger, who sold us the house, told us her father used to open the pocket doors and hold dances in the living room and dining room that their friends from Davisville would come out to. Mr. Mello was a winemaker - he aged barrels of wine in the basement, which was the old farmhouse root cellar.Photo: Looking from the dining room into the living room.Photo: You can see where the pocket doors are.Photo: Photo: Next to the fireplace is the front door, which faces opening east onto the porch. There is no "front" door to this house opening onto CR 31/now Claremont Drive, likely because there were no other houses around. By facing east, the house gets great morning light into the public spaces of the living, dining room and kitchen.Photo: You can see the bay-window bench seat in the dining room, which has storage inside it. The fireplace and chimney can be adapted for a gas fireplace, but the chimney is not safe for wood-burning fires.Photo: To the right of the yellow painting is a door into the front bedroom on the west side of the house. This bedroom is painted light green and you will see it in a later picture. It has 2 doors into it - one from the living room, and one from the dining room (that you can't see here). It is a very large bedroom (that used to be 2 bedrooms originally - the Mellos removed the wall between the two. The door on the right side of the dining room that you can see goes into another small bedroom (painted a light yellow - another picture later) - this bedroom connects to the front bedroom through a walk-through closet with a built-in dresser. It also has a door into the bathroom off the kitchen (with rustic yellow painted walls).Photo: Photo: The two tall cabinets you see on the back wall of the kitchen, framing the mirror, are the original cabinets in the old farmhouse. We saved them and built a new base for them to integrate them into the new kitchen.Photo: The kitchen gets the best light in the whole house and is an amazing space, with a very tall ceiling, two skylights, a vintage O'Keefe and Merritt stove from 1940 (best burners ever), and stainless features throughout. The old chimney was for the original woodstove in the farmhouse kitchen. There's also an entry into this chimney from the dining room, so there used to be a wood-burning stove in there too. Next to the chimney in the kitchen was an old wood-storage closet.  To the left of the doorway is the old "cooler", which is now the pantry. The "cooler" was a blow-through food storage area with screen below leading to under the house, and screen above, leading into the attic, so that passive cooling would keep food cool.  This is pre-ice-box era!Photo: Canning fig jam, from the Mission Fig Tree in the backyard, in the old farmhouse kitchen - I taught my friend Jesikah this old art of food preservation.Photo: The kitchen has 3 doors in it that are unique. They are the old refrigerator doors salvaged by yours truly from the UC Davis Food Science building in the viticulture section where all the yeasts were kept cool for the brewing and winemaking programs. The are 6 inches think, infilled with cork, and are incredibly sound proof. One goes into the "guest bathroom" (the one with the 1950s cadillac hood ornament for handle), one goes into the back yellow office (4th bedroom) where the Washer/Dryer are located, and one goes into the master bedroom. These doors are beautiful.Photo: This is the 4th bedroom, or office, where there's a back door into the back yard, and also the closet with washer/dryer in it. It has 12' high ceilings.  The old house portion has 9' ceilings, the new portion has 12' ceilings.Photo: Photo: The "guest bathroom" off the kitchen. It is done in a 1920s Art Deco style, with old Deco fixtures. It has a tub with shower.Photo: There is a second door in this bathroom that opens into the small bedroom off the dining room (the light yellow bedroom). This door is opposite the toilet.Photo: The rustic paint look - layers of history.Photo: This is the small light yellow bedroom that opens off the dining room. You can see the door into the bathroom here. This bedroom has a closet with shelves, and another closet that is a walk-through to the front bedroom (with built-in dresser). The floors in the two old bedrooms are fir. The framing in the old house is all redwood.Photo: This is the front light green bedroom (it used to be two smaller bedrooms, now combined). The door to the right goes into the walk-through closet with the built-in dresser. There is also a window bench seat to the right next to the bookshelf. The door on the left goes into the dining room, and there is another door to the left of the typewriter that you can't see that goes into the living room. The walls in the old house are plaster. We insulated all walls in the 2010 remodel - blowing in cotton in the plaster walls of the old house, section by section.Photo: Back to the kitchen, moving in the photo album towards the back part of the house, the new addition from 2010 that on the exterior is sheathed in metal siding.Photo: A few views of the kitchen, which mixes old and new. We saved the vertical wood siding when we demolished the old kitchen and reintegrated it into the new kitchen.Photo: Photo: This is the third cork-filled refrigerator door that leads into the master bedroom.  Just through this door to the right is the master bath, and past the light is another door leading to the basement, which originally was separate from the farm house and was just a root cellar.Photo: This is the master bedroom. It has 12' high walls and a beautiful "New Mexico" style wood ceiling. The windows are 6' tall, and there are 7 of them plus the 8' tall French doors opposite the bed.  The closet area is open storage (IKEA) that leaves the volume of the room intact while still offering a separate dressing zone.Photo: The french doors with narrow transom light above. All doors and windows in the next section of the house, including the kitchen, are Andersen. The light and breeze in this bedroom is amazing. The french doors open onto a 350 sq ft deck, that also has an entry into the kitchen.Photo: This is one-half of the "closet" storage space; the other side has the same drawer/shoe set up, but two 1/2-as-long hanging shirt racks, instead of the long dress rods you see on this side. Over the top of the "closet" you can see the wooden entry into a storage area, which is above the entry to the basement.Photo: Looking from the master bed back to the master bath. The door to the right goes into the kitchen. There is also a dog door to the right built into the wall. We saved the old door from the original bathroom and reinstalled it here, again mixing old and new.Photo: The best bathtub ever. This is the original farmhouse tub. It is 5 1/2' long. I refinished the exterior, and it has a shower faucet. Charcoal colored Italian terra cotta tile covers the floor and the shower.Photo: The tub and sink - toilet is just behind the door to the left, and the large master shower is on the left side of the mirror.Photo: From the shower looking at the tub.Photo: From the tub looking at the shower, which has a bench seat, a casement window, two cubbies for storage , and an overhead rain shower and also side faucet on cord. Honey the husky knows that shower tile is cool. This is her favorite place.Photo: This is the spiral stair that comes off the master bedroom down to the basement. The basement is officially "unfinished" (without AC into it), so its 249 sq feet are not included in the square footage of the house (which is 2072 square feet). It would function great as a kids play room, storage area, music making zone, party space... It is very cool in the summer.

The 2072 also does NOT include the front porch 160, deck 350, and garage 280. The lot size 10,400 sq ft and does not have the CC&Rs/covenant restrictions of the rest of the neighborhood, since it is the original farm. You can have livestock if you want!Photo: Mr. Mello aged barrels of homemade wine in the old root cellar, whose walls still bear their marks.Photo: I built a Bedouin firepit in the back yard after a trip to the Middle East... It has redwood log seats around it, and is an amazing place to spend time with friends.Photo: The garden has artichokes (great Romanesco ones), lots of mullen and towers of jewels (my favorite plant ever), and an incredible passion flower vine that is symbiotically existing with the largest population of Gulf Fritterly butterflies in Davis in 35 years. Last years the Bohart Entomology Museum came and studied them - the neighbor children LOVE all the butterflies - literally hundreds in July and August.  The eat the vine down to the stem (it is called "skeletonizing" the plant), but it comes back to life full-force in the Spring, so it's a win-win situation.Photo: The neighbors in the green house there are the Zalunardos, in their 90s. They bought their house in 1957 as it was the first one built in the new development when the Mellos sold their farmland to Davis. They have lots of stories to tell about the Mellos, including his winemaking and sharing, and the neighborhood, and are lovely lovely people.Photo: The Nugget is across the street. This is a dream for someone who loves to cook. When I move, this will be one of the things I miss the most.  The green wall there on the right side of the front gate is the passion flower vine where all the butterflies live. The cactus is a spineless variety cultivated by Luther Burbank.Photo: Honey enjoying the side yard. The plants behind her are ginger, and the rosebush to the left is original to the farmhouse. The porch was completely reconstructed in 2010, built just to match the original porch.Photo: The yard has a plum tree, pluot tree, 2 peach trees, a nectarine tree, an apricot, meyer lemon, lime, mission fig, two navel orange trees (one original), and a blood orange tree.Photo: Pluot tree to the right here, and peach tree to the left.Photo: The front by the street. The garage is too small for most cars, and has a hand-lift door (old style). it is a great shop and bike storage zone... The driveway is gravel for water permeability, and can hold 2 cars end to end, so really only one if both cars are in use. There is a ton of on-street parking.Photo: Morning sunlight.Photo: The deck outside the master bedroom and the kitchen - a little hard to see, but 350 square feet. It is large.  There is a $4000 budget for decking built into the sale price of the house, for the material of your choice.