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Where Victorian art reigns supreme

Times Staff Writer

This is a thoroughly Victorian Queen Anne, right down to its wallpaper.

The house, built in 1896, was restored by its owners, Harry Parashis and his wife, Letitia, who are art dealers and collectors with a gallery on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. Perhaps that’s why they were drawn to the Victorian, Harry Parashis said. At their gallery, they specialize in American Impressionists and plein-air paintings from 1870 to 1940. The sun-drenched paintings of early California settings reminded Parashis of the Victorian when he first saw it.

From the time he and his wife bought the property in 1997, the pair viewed it as a three-dimensional work of art. It took them seven years “to do the house just right,” Harry said. They were commuting during that time from Carmel, where they still have a home.

Outside, the couple planted Canary palms, created a manicured English garden with a maze and built a gazebo modeled after one detailed in a design book published in the 1880s. Inside, they took the house a step back in time with period details. The Victorian fireplace has custom-made decorative tiles. The rococo sofa and chairs are covered in red silk. All the furniture in the family room was made from quarter-sawn oak cut at an angle to expose the rich color of the wood.

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Furnishings are not included in the asking price, but they can be purchased. The house itself is a virtual gallery of historic wallpaper. Installers who specialize in Victorian wallcoverings took two months to do every hallway, wall and ceiling.

About this house: It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is in the Old Escondido Historic District. The house was built on spec by Albert Beach, a developer, and to this day it is known as the Beach house. Soon after it was completed, the house was purchased by roller-bearing magnate Henry Timken as a wedding gift for his daughter.

Asking price: $2.5 million

Size: There are four bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms in about 3,200 square feet. The lot is 20,300 square feet.

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Features: The two-story home has hardwood floors and an Arts and Crafts family room, which had been a sleeping porch. It has drapes in historical patterns, custom-made lamps, an electrified gaslight fixture in the master bedroom, a hand-painted China sink -- not porcelain -- in a downstairs bathroom and curtains, called sheers, in a Victorian pattern decorated with Nottingham lace made on the same looms on which lace was made in England more than a century ago. There are also friezes and other artistic touches throughout the house.

Where: Escondido, San Diego County

Listing agent: Cutter Clotfelter, (858) 405-4801, and Chaco Clotfelter, (858) 354-1821, share the listing at the Willis Allen Co., Rancho Santa Fe.

To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, please send color interior and exterior images with caption information on a CD and a description of the house, including what makes the property unusual, to Ruth Ryon, Real Estate Section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.

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