Bits 'n' Pieces: Magazine to feature local couple’s home

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Sally Steidl first became fascinated with Cape Cod, colonial-style houses back in 1971, when she and her husband, Rob, went to visit relatives who had moved to Boston, Mass.

Of course, the Northwest isn’t exactly the best place to find a home like that, so in 1987 the Vancouver couple stopped looking for one here and decided to work with a local contractor to build their own.

“I’ve always been interested in historic homes and I just fell in love with the style,” she said. “Since then our house has been kind of a hobby.”

Over the years, the pair, who are both 59, have added a host of furniture, decorations and other additions to get the house to look just right.

“My husband built the cabinets, reproduced shelving and installed wide pine planks with square head nails for flooring,” she said.

And while he was being handy, Sally Steidl searched local shops, went on trips and scanned the Web for furnishings to match.

After all their years of hard work, a friend suggested to Country Sampler magazine that the Steidl home might make a good feature — and the magazine editors agreed.

Their house will be featured in the July 2011 issue in the article “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

For his part, Rob Steidl said one of the more interesting aspects of the photo shoot was that representatives from the magazine ended up rearranging their furniture and other decorations.

“I’ve installed wood floors in most of the rooms, but we still have carpeting in the living room because I like to lay on the floor and watch TV,” he said. “So they brought in wood planks and put them on top of the carpeting so it would look more like the other wood floors during the shoot.”

After the shoot, the pair ended up putting most of the rearranged furniture back where it originally was, but they said they learned a few tips during the process.

“We liked having lots of fresh flowers and fresh fruit in the pictures,” he said. “I think Sally got some tips out of that.”

Vancouver author inspired by local history

photoVancouver author Charlotte Lewis has a new book out, “The Letters.” It’s the second in her Abigail Stone mystery series.

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Vancouver resident Charlotte Lewis volunteered at the Clark County Historical Museum from 2006 to 2009, and the experience left a mark.

“I learned a lot of local history,” said Lewis, 73, a retired accountant who works part time as a receptionist at a senior-living complex.

Lewis incorporates what she learned into her historical fiction novels. She has self-published 12 books in recent years. The latest, “The Letters,” came out on May 8 (http://www.charlottelewisonline.com).

“The Letters” is the second in Lewis’ Abigail Stone mystery series. In the book, Abigail visits the Clark County Historical Museum and finds a 100-year-old letter. Other letters soon emerge, and in researching their origin, Abigail uncovers a love story and helps solve a century-old crime.

Lewis enjoys learning and writing about local history.

“It’s just fascinating to see how a place has grown,” she said.

Lewis currently is working on a third Abigail Stone book.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood 360-735-4561, or e-mail features@columbian.com.