125 Spanish Street – Elene and Jerry Cook

The home at 125 Spanish Street is a tribute to Sutter Creek history with a pinch of Norwegian flair.   The home was built in 1859 by Franklin Herman, a blacksmith by trade, employed at the nearby Mahoney Mine. Current owners Elene and Jerry Cook bought the home 11 years ago from Bob and Wendy Woolrich. The Cook’s have put finishing touches on the home that embrace its historic past and their own family history.

A prettier setting is hard to find. The home is set back from Spanish Street with an impressive Eastern Tulip Tree in the center of the generous front yard. Sutter Creek gently flows behind the home’s back yard.   Brick pathways lead visitors to the front of the home. The bricks are from the original fireplace and foundation and were made onsite. To the left is a flagpole, a remnant from the past when Franklin Herman’s daughter, a school teacher, held school events at the site. Outside, above the living room, are traces of a threshold from a previous second story entrance to an attic bedroom, suggesting the home may have served as a boarding house at some point.

A wraparound porch leads to the front door. The living room has the original pine floors with nail marks showing where walls once were. Traces of mining history are evident in the room. For example, there is a trapdoor in the floor from its mining days. Beneath the trapdoor was a “hygrading room”. This  was a pit beneath the floor, which was a secret place to break open rocks in the hopes of finding gold. The trapdoor no longer opens and is sealed shut. The antique light fixtures, organ, and gramophone are from the owners’ parents. Along the wall is an antique confessional from the 1700s. The large braided rug was made by Elene’s mother and grandmother from wool coats.

In the kitchen and dining area, touches of Elene’s Norwegian heritage give warmth and character. The cabinets are a pretty Norwegian blue and they sit atop a pine floor. In the corner is an intriguing black heating stove that came from the home of Elene’s grandfather in Norway. On the walls are a Norwegian washing paddle, ironing board, and wooden stirrer carved by her great grandfather. Her mother’s needlework displays the motto “morning hours have gold in its mouth” in Norwegian. Wallpaper squares on the walls are an early American aviary print.

The Cook’s recently rearranged the adjoining den and office, furnishing them with finds from their travels, including a 6-year stay in Heidelberg, Germany.  Notice the impressive desk built by Jerry. The office overlooks the back deck with a stunning view of nearby Sutter Creek. A hot tub on the side deck invites a relaxing soak and creek setting.

Reentry is through a charming laundry room with vintage clothing and accessories. The adjacent master bedroom also shares the creekside view from an impressive antique headboard, modified by Jerry to fit the modern king size bed. Furnishings are family heirlooms.

When leaving the main house, one passes by a small guest house. Above its entrance is a sign saying “Nest”. This perfectly describes the theme of the quaint bedroom and bath. Another of Jerry’s antique wooden headboards surrounds the bed. The walls are painted a pretty robin’s egg blue and other bird accessories make “Nest” the perfect name for this sanctuary.

As you depart 125 Spanish Street, you cannot help but admire the lush landscape work that Jerry Cook did, putting the final touches to this beautiful historic home.