By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
There’s a chandelier in every room.
Frames festoon the walls.
Hats hang from antlers.
“Nothing goes together,” homeowner Mark Henry said. “It’s just things that I like. I guess it’s eclectic.”
There’s an Italian motif somewhere. Think Venice in Snohomish, with splashes of you-name-it.
See for yourself. Henry’s house of everything is a stop on the Snohomish Historical Society Home Tour, a self-guided tour Sept. 15.
He shares the 1910 bungalow with a cat named Ophelia who has yet to knock over any of his thousands of artifacts.
It’s a museum of antiques, glass, art and Fortuny.
“I’m a Fortuny freak,” Henry said of the posh Italian silk pillows and lamps. “I have expensive tastes.”
He moved to the two-story bungalow in 1984 from a tiny apartment in Seattle, and has been hellbent on decorating the floors, walls and ceilings since.
In the kitchen, ornate bird cages hang from the ceiling that once or twice had a bathtub upstairs overflow through it.
When the built-in microwave stopped working, it became a cabinet to expand his caboodle of spices.
This fits with his practical side.
“The bookcase came from IKEA,” he said.
Most items have less humble origins.
“This table is from China. It has pigskin over wood that’s been lacquered,” he said.
What he calls his “new toy” is an English glass greenhouse where classical music plays for his potted friends, including a clivia he’s had since about sixth grade.
He doesn’t like to get rid of things. He moves stuff around.
“I find a better place for it,” he said.
Henry isn’t afraid to go for bold. Take, for instance, the leopard print runners on the stairs.
“I came home from Europe once and decided to paint these walls Venetian red,” he said, “and then I painted the woodwork black and then I said, well, the only thing that’s going to work is animal. Everybody likes it.”
Henry retired in 1994 from teaching vocal music and kindergarten in King County schools.
He goes to Venice almost every year to shop, visit friends and lead garden tours.
He fell in love with Italy on a trip to Europe in 1968.
“When I got to Venice, I felt like I was home,” he said. “I have a postcard I sent my folks telling them it was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen and that I could spend my life there.”
Instead, he brings pieces of Italy home. “I’ve tried to create my little bit of Venice here,” he said.
His Italian themed garden has been featured in several coffee-table gardening books.
Henry’s home tour includes a garden stroll, rain or shine. By the door are about a dozen tall, black umbrellas.
“Anytime I find something I like it’s the beginning of a collection,” he said. “I can’t have one of anything.”
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snohomish Historical Society Home Tour
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 15.
Cost: $15, ages 13 to adult; $12 for older than 62 and younger than 13.
Tickets: Annie’s on First, Joyworks, Kusler’s Pharmacy &Gifts, McDaniel’s Do-It Center and Speckled Hen Country Store.
Tickets and maps are available on tour day at the Waltz Building, 116 Avenue B. Tickets include admission to the Blackman House Museum, with period furniture, clothing and other historical items.