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Collection of Memories

by: Vern Uyetake, The family room is vibrant with colors, patterns and of course — family photographs and collections of dishes, pillows and candle holders.  The wall sconces above the fireplace are not original but chosen carefully. When an electrician dug for the electrical boxes in the wall he also found newspaper from the 1950s. Holwerda said the bookshelves to the right of the fireplace were added in the last 40 to 50 years.

Like the Alice and Wonderland story, curiosity takes precedence when visiting Kasey and Steve Holwerda's home. Without a rabbit with a pocket watch to follow around, visitors can twist and turn through any of the many rooms clad with vibrant colors, bold patterns and classic details.

The historic house feels happy -like a children's story.

If the large tulips and incredible rock pathway leading to the front door - past the garage, guest house and hedges adorned with fresh blooms - don't entice you, what will?

Historic homes, while charming and reminiscent of the past, can sometimes be ever-changing. A room once used as an attached garage can become a family room with two bedrooms above. It's all a part of the evolution. And such is the case with the Holwerda's home on Oswego Lake.

'I am a true purist when it comes to old houses,' said Kasey Holwerda. 'My dream would be to have a house in completely original condition, so when we bought this house - and some of the period details had been removed - we have been in a constant state of trying to 'take it back in time.''

The home was built in 1927 by the Mulder family. The Lake family bought it a few years later -making many of the changes that still exist today. The Holwerdas moved in eight years ago with their children: Kisky, 16; Gunnar, 14; and Sina, 11. Holwerda said her grandparents were friends of the Lakes.

'At that time there were not so many homes on the lake,' she said.

This home - along with a handful of others - will be featured on the Lake Oswego Historic Home Tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 17. The second-annual tour is in celebration of National Historic Preservation Month and put on by the Oswego Heritage Council.

Upon entrance to this home, forest green wallpaper wraps the hallway - framing a hearty sideboard displaying dozens of small photographs of family members.

'The downstairs foyer was originally a porch or covered overhang … that connected the front door to the original garage,' Holwerda said.

The family room to the left - with original wall sconces and knotty pine paneling - may hold some secrets. The parquet floor is a more recent addition, Holwerda said. And when a bookshelf was removed from the corner, its many layers were revealed.

'I'm not sure why another floor was put on top (of the original one),' Holwerda said. 'I would love to pull up the new parquet to reveal the old parquet, but I am a bit worried that there may be damage to the original floor, so I haven't done it yet.'

On the opposite side of the home, the living room has a photo of Holwerda's grandparent's home seen from the lake.

'That home is still standing today,' she said.

Holwerda said she believes the bookshelves were added in the last 40 to 50 years. But they nicely display her collections of dishes, vases and candle holders.

The marigold-colored dining room fixture was an antique found by Holwerda's sister in Pennsylvania, which she purchased from seeing a digital photo.

'A previous owner told me that when they lived in the house there was a servant's call button in the floor under where a dining table goes,' she said.

Upstairs the master bedroom is 'one of the most original rooms in the home,' Holwerda said.

The mantle and pink-tiled fireplace are the only completely original fireplaces in the home.

'The wallpaper is a period reproduction,' Holwerda said of the tan paper with a pine tree pattern.

A playful pillow collection on a cozy couch overlooks views of Oswego Lake and the new boathouse the family built last year because the original one didn't match the house.

The two-story garage on the side of the yard houses more collector's items in the guest suite - a cradle built by Holwerda's grandfather, a three little pigs collection and tons of tiny small framed photos.

'Originally it was the gardener's room accessed by stairs inside the garage. Now you can access it from the outside,' she said. 'The fir paneling in there is original.'

With so many unique spaces to visit - like the nautical-themed den near the master which feels like the bow of a ship as it is perched above the lake - the Holwerdas' home truly feels like an adventure in wonderland.

For more information about the Lake Oswego Historic Home Tour, visit the Oswego Heritage House at 398 10th St. or call 503-635-6373.

The tour, featuring homes from the 1880s to 1939, is on May 17 and costs $25 for those that are not members of the Oswego Heritage Council, and $15 for members.