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MailTribune.com
  • Home Is Where The History Is

    in medford
  • Dan Teglia and Jeffrey Hanson were looking for "clean, green and nice" when they contemplated leaving Los Angeles. The Rogue Valley provided all of that plus the home of their dreams — as long as they were willing to roll up their sleeves.
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    • who were Putnam and Neff?
      "They were involved in everything that happened journalistically and legally in Southern Oregon for half a century," says Ashland historic preservationist George Kramer. "These were two incredibly ...
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      who were Putnam and Neff?
      "They were involved in everything that happened journalistically and legally in Southern Oregon for half a century," says Ashland historic preservationist George Kramer. "These were two incredibly significant people."

      George Putnam was born in New Orleans in 1872 and educated at the University of Nebraska before moving to Oregon. From 1907 to 1919, he served as editor and publisher of the Medford Mail Tribune. He then moved onto the Salem Capitol-Journal and also worked as a newspaperman in Portland.

      Other than his impressive curriculum vitae, very little about the man exists.

      "Except this house," explains Dan Teglia, the home's current owner who nominated the house for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. "After he ran the paper, he moved up to the Portland area and the house he lived in up there burned down and he died in the fire."

      Porter Joseph Neff, who bought the house from Putnam in 1919, moved to Oregon in 1908 and became a public servant. He wrote the Talent Municipal Charter, sat on the Medford City Council and was the city's attorney and a member of Medford Town Club. Neff is also known for founding the Cooley-Neff Building, which has since become the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in Medford.

      "It's great this nomination succeeded," Kramer says. "I hope it will give people pause to remember who Putnam and Neff were. You could argue that the Rogue Valley wouldn't be the same without them."
  • Dan Teglia and Jeffrey Hanson were looking for "clean, green and nice" when they contemplated leaving Los Angeles. The Rogue Valley provided all of that plus the home of their dreams — as long as they were willing to roll up their sleeves.
    "It had everything we were looking for except it needed a lot of work to bring it up," says Dan of the 3,200 square foot, four bedroom, 2.5 bath house they bought in 2004. "A lot of blood, sweat and tears — and love — went into it."
    Located in historic east Medford, the two-story, wood-framed home was built in 1910 by B.F. Whisler. The grand residence was designed for entertaining and its classic Craftsman features were enjoyed by two high-profile Rogue Valley residents — founding Medford Mail Tribune editor George Putnam from 1910 to 1932 and renowned attorney Porter Neff from 1932 to 1960.
    This pedigree, along with two solid years of research and restoration by Dan and Jeffrey, recently earned the home a place on the National Register of Historic Places. A plaque outside now officially recognizes the residence as the Putnam/Neff House.
    The last century hadn't been totally kind to the home's many showcase features. When the couple first laid eyes on it, they were faced with layers of decades-old paint that hid classic, indigenous fir and oak woodwork and floors.
    "It took a crew months to remove the paint and it took me six weeks to varnish everything," says Jeffrey, an environmental designer whose mission was to "allow the architecture of the house to speak to me and let the renovations be as close to the original as possible."
    Now the partially paneled walls and built-in cabinets with wood-framed glass doors in the formal living room — where the home's main entry is — shine with an age-old patina. A river rock surround built around the original fireplace in the late 20th century gives the room a lodge feeling. Wood-framed casement windows with their original pit/wave glass let in garden views.
    "It was a challenge to figure out where to place furniture in here," Jeffrey says of the Mission style tables, leather chairs and a blue brocade sofa arranged on an angle. "This offsets the linearity of the rectangular Craftsman room."
    A grand oak door, flanked in William Morris-inspired curtains, leads to the vestibule — the home's original entry, before it was reconfigured to face the street in 1930. The wood-paneled vestibule features a welcoming nook alongside the original oak staircase.
    An attached sunroom becomes a cool retreat with a braided grass rug, cushy sectional and knotty pine walls upholstered in soft blue-green silk shantung.
    The dining room, accessed through the sunroom and vestibule, is "understated glamour." Rich silk curtains, stitched by Jeffrey, accent two cove windows. Dusty plum walls create a formal backdrop for china cabinets and the Stickley-style table. A chandelier with handmade mica shades hangs above.
    Green and white flooring with black square accents lends the kitchen an eclectic, Craftsman-meets-retro vibe with touches of Art Nouveau. There's a Formica dinette set nestled in the breakfast nook next to an original dumbwaiter; schoolhouse pendant lights hang overhead. Built-in butler's cabinets line one wall while the main kitchen has been updated with black granite countertops and a bead and board surround around the refrigerator and range.
    Regularly used as the most convenient entry to the house, the attached kitchen porch also serves as an informal entertainment venue with a marble-topped banquette of cabinets, wicker and glass table and chairs and a fir floor that's been given a high gloss treatment.
    "This room and the sunroom have the exposed fir subfloors," explains Jeffrey.
    The downstairs powder room, accessed through an airy utility room, is lined with subway tile and outfitted with a re-powdered cottage sink.
    In the basement, where three wide stripes of different greens line the walls and give the ceiling some lift, is the canning room and wine cellar.
    The door to the basement is just one of many that required special attention.
    "There were 36 doors in this house that all had to be stripped and painted," says Jeffrey. "Along with all the hardware—everything you see here was painted white."
    Eight upstairs rooms include the master suite. Glass-paneled French doors lead to a sleeping porch with hinged swing windows and a tongue and groove fir ceiling.
    "I did fabric half the walls in here with special acoustic fabric," Jeffrey points out. "That helps soundproof the room from street noise."
    Paisley bed linens with red silk flourishes, historic sketches and a Stickley reproduction bed keep the room rich and period-appropriate. Bead and board paneling in the master bath is also historic, revitalized by a black and white marble tile surround designed by Jeffrey that wraps the original porcelain tub.
    Also upstairs is a charming guest room, a former sleeping porch repurposed into a restful reading room and an office. Outside is a cottage that provides comfortable lodging for the couple's many visitors.
    "This place was built to be grand and you just can't get homes like this anymore," says Jeffrey. "So you treat it with TLC, respecting the materials and the people who put it together so many years ago."
    Thanks to Dan and Jeffrey, the Putnam/Neff House will be appreciated for many decades to come.
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