Historic Santa Ana Cottage Started With a Love Story

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What makes a house is wood and bricks, but what makes a house a home is love, which is what Fred Wohl had plenty of for his bride, Gladys, when he built her a cottage in the up and coming new neighborhood of Wilshire Square in Santa Ana, California, in 1930.

According to a relative, the two married in 1923, and lived well into their 90s.

“Gladys and Fred had an amazing love story and Fred built this house out of his love for Gladys,” their great-great niece, DeAnna Walton Thiesmeyer, wrote on Facebook. “They lived to be in their late 90’s (happily married) and passed away within weeks of each other. Even though Fred was very ill for many years, he told my dad that he couldn’t leave Gladys alone. Once she passed away, he followed.”

They chose what would become an idyllic spot post-war. 

“In late 1922, just a few days before Christmas, the first lots went on sale and over 3,000 trees planted in the neighborhood, with a quarter of the lots sold within the year,” the Wilshire Square Neighborhood Association writes. “You will find a handful of Wilshire Square homes built in the 1920s, but most were built after the Depression in the 1930s and 1940s.”

“Master craftsmen designed charming homes for the neighborhood in styles including Tudor, Spanish Colonial, Mediterranean, Craftsmen, and more,” the organization added. “The tree-lined streets invite you in with plentiful Sycamore, Jacaranda, Cedars, Deodars, and Palm.”

The Wahl cottage is a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home with 1,522 square feet of living space that has been beautifully restored. 

While smaller in size, the home feels spacious thanks to vaulted ceilings and plenty of light. A wood-burning fireplace anchors a living room replete with gumwood finishes, and the dining room has gorgeous built-ins and a cove ceiling.

There is also 680 square feet of finished attic space that is not included in the total square footage.

A professionally-designed cooks kitchen boasts a plethora of high-end appliances for the serious cook, too, including a large farmhouse sink with restaurant-style Kohler faucet; a separate vegetable sink with an imported Franke faucet with a separate handle for filtered drinking water; a Swedish Asko dishwasher; stainless steel Laconche range made custom for the kitchen with a gas and electric convection oven, gas oven, and five-burner stovetop; and a stainless steel KitchenAid fridge.

“The kitchen is one of the most spectacular aspects of the house,” said listing agent Brandon Nguyen.

The main bathroom is a marriage of old and new, with the original vanity and tile countertops mingling with a shower rebuilt with a glass door and panels and an adjustable-height large shower head.

But if the kitchen is one of the most spectacular aspects of the house, the show-stopper is the backyard. 

Thanks to a 7,375 square foot lot and a house with a smaller footprint, the backyard is a charming oasis filled with vignettes and cozy little nooks for grand entertaining or more private tête-à-têtes.

“(They are) perfect for large scale entertaining, small dinner parties or a private space to read and meditate,” Nguyen said.

And if that wasn’t enough, the home comes with a tax break thanks to its historic designation, according to the Mills Act.

This adorable cottage is priced at $789,000. Want to see more? Click here.