In July Art & Ag artists visited Clos Cavanis Farm in Woodland. Preserving history is important to Van and Catherine Overhouse. That explains why they spent the last two decades bringing their 1868 Victorian Italianate home back to life.
It was a demanding project, scraping the old paint and repairing the damaged wood in an effort to “keep it original”. Van took apart the moldings around each window (77 pieces in total), refinished them and put them back together exactly as they were. “There is definitely a feeling of accomplishment to preserve the beauty of the house and I am happy that this is something we can leave for posterity, to pass it on.” says Van.
Said to be the most ornate of the Italianate homes in the county, the home was originally known as The Morris House, homesteaded by Asa Morris, who was a “leading farming pioneer” of his time and also served as county supervisor. The home stayed in the Morris family all these years until the Overhouses purchased it in 1995. They renamed it CLOS CAVANIS.
The house is set in the middle of 80 acres of prime farmland, 69 of which are leased by Aoki Farms currently used for growing tomatoes. Although Van spent years in the tech industry, he is no stranger to farming himself. He is the 4th generation of a farming family from Winters and he farmed in Capay Valley for a time.
Their work and dedication to this labor of love has created an oasis of quiet elegance on this property, combining the historic architecture with the beauty of nature, including Swainson hawks and California quail. The home is surrounded by a variety of trees including Gray and Aleppo Pines, mulberry, and native olive trees. It is also flanked by other original and renovated structures including a carriage house, pump house, and the beautiful redwood horse barn.
Special thanks to Van and Catherine Overhouse for hosting an Art & Ag farm visit.