Vacant farm house now a retail shop
August 28, 2008 · Updated 4:01 PM
MARYSVILLE "We didn't realize that is " begins Wayne Christianson.
" quite the project that it is," finishes wife Louise Christianson.
Still, while they had their share of setbacks, with possibly the biggest being either a burst waterline or a break-in, the pair has opened for business their Details Home Décor and Gifts in what started out as an early 19th century farmhouse.
Sitting at the corner of 61st Street NE and 47th Avenue NE, Louise said the home-turned-business was built in about 1915 by the Quast family, known in Marysville history as the developers of the Cedarcrest Golf Course.
After running a pharmacy in their hometown of Lake Stevens, the couple operated Details in Marysville's Allen Creek Shopping Center for 10 years. When their lease came up for renewal last year, they decided to scout around for a new spot to set up shop.
"It was an opportunity, the time to get away from leasing," Wayne said.
"We looked at a couple of spots, but found this place a natural," Louise added.
The couple first had to approach the city about rezoning the property from residential to retail. They admitted the process took longer than they expected, but apparently resulted in no hard feelings on either side. Though Details was operating in its new home a couple of weeks earlier, Mayor Dennis Kendall cut a ribbon to mark the opening of the shop July 29.
Besides the rezoning, what also took longer than the Christiansons expected was the needed renovations to the home. The work started in November and, expect for the first floor, continues.
"Everything was more than what we thought," Louise said.
In particular, plumbing and electrical work turned out to be a bigger challenge than they had anticipated. The above mentioned water line break didn't help, pouring water from the home's second floor all the way to the basement. The break-in happened while the renovations were ongoing. Thieves made off with plumbing fixtures and tools.
While they used professional contractors for some work, both Wayne and Louise said they got lots of help from friends, family and members of the Marysville Rotary.
"We had a small army of unpaid laborers working in here," Wayne said. "We'd invited people up from Seattle and end up putting them to work."
Besides renovating the first floor of the home, the Christiansons did plenty of work to the exterior as well. Louise shows off pictures on the Details web site that show the front of the home nearly invisible behind unkempt trees and bushes. Now, raised landscaping sits off to the side of the home, next to a small, but brand new parking lot. (Which, because of drainage issues, also was more expensive than anticipated.)
Inside, the final result of the couple's efforts is a bright, inviting store with a wide variety of items, ranging from bird feeders to custom furniture. While they had to knock out a few walls to create display space, the couple left in tact as much of the original home as possible. Kitchenwares are displayed where else? in the home's first floor kitchen which still is complete with a working antique sink.
Wayne seems to enjoy talking about the virtues of the former farmhouse, pointing out the heavy wooden beams still visible on an upper floor.
"It's got good bones," Louise said of the house.
Up on that second floor, renovations are still underway. While it is closed to the public, the second floor of the home, with bare wood floors and old, fading paint shows just how much work was done on the first floor. For now the upper floor is being used for storage, needed especially for holiday items. For various reasons, the upper floors can't be used for retail, but eventually may be redone into office space.
"Our intuition was this would be a great location," Wayne said.
"And it will be," Louise said, once more finishing her husband's thought.