A 1950s Mid-Century Home Joins the Spokane Register of Historic Places

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By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
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A pedigreed mid-century home tailor-made for its inhabitants and environs joins the Spokane Register of Historic Places.

Seeking a house that would exemplify their design-oriented lifestyle (together they ran a modern housewares and furniture store), Joel E. Ferris II and his wife, Mary Jean, hired Bruce M. Walker in 1955. A promising young architect, Walker studied at Harvard under Walter Gropius.

"There's a sort of peacefulness that envelops you," says Sam Ferris of the house he grew up in, show in 1955.

"There's a sort of peacefulness that envelops you," says Sam Ferris of the house he grew up in, show in 1955.

Walker delivered a warm home attuned to its surroundings. Many of the exterior materials—red brick, white stucco, a black post-and-beam system—are used throughout the interior. He enlisted noted landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, who added a fieldstone wall, Japanese rock garden, and brick terraces to the yard.

The view as it appears today.

The view as it appears today.

"Growing up, my siblings and I knew we lived someplace special," says Sam Ferris, Joel and Mary Jean’s son, who recently helped get his childhood home inducted into the Spokane Register of Historic Places. This marks the first time a landscape was added to the Register. "The house has aged gracefully and looks more beautiful today than it did when it was brand new."

The living room features two side chairs and an end table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar and a bronze screen designed by Harold Balazs.

The living room features two side chairs and an end table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar and a bronze screen designed by Harold Balazs.

A drawing by Lawrence Halprin details the landscape plan.

A drawing by Lawrence Halprin details the landscape plan.