Victorian-style house was new owner’s dream home


For some residents, there is that one house in Canyon Lake that they call their “favorite;” whether it’s because of the location, the architectural design, the landscaping or the character of the home. For Alissa Rackstraw that house was the Victorian-style home at 23055 Canyon Lake Drive North.

“I’ve always loved that house. It reminds me of a dollhouse,” she says.

Alissa, who moved to Canyon Lake with her parents in 1983, liked the house on the corner of Cross Hill Drive and Canyon Lake Drive North so much that she and her husband Wally purchased it in 2013.

She says, “We were the first couple to put in an offer as soon as it went on the market. The  previous owner was in a hurry to sell it, so they accepted our offer right away.”

The 2,606 square foot home was designed and built by the late Ron Horton, an independent contractor who had a love for building period style homes. The home was completed in 1984.

According to Ron’s wife, Ron use to flip homes before he started building them. He built his first home in Bell Canyon. He moved his family from Manhattan Beach to Canyon Lake so that he could build homes in Canyon Lake.

Ron chose that particular lot on Canyon Lake Drive North to build his first Canyon Lake home because it was located on the main street, which he thought would be a great location to showcase his work. He also needed a corner lot to built a wraparound porch, and he liked the fact that the side street provided extra parking.

The home was the first of many homes Ron would build in Canyon Lake, and the first Victorian-style home to be built by any builder in Canyon Lake.

According to his wife, the Hortons rented the house across the street while Ron was building the new home. One reason for that was so that Ron could run an extension cord from one house to the other to provide the electricity he needed to build.

The two-story home boosts three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, den, living room, formal dining room, breakfast nook, two fireplaces, hardwood floors, several sitting areas with built-in storage compartments and and a two-car garage with extra parking for a boat  or RV.

One of the most notable features on the house, and what caught Alissa’s  eye, is the wraparound porch, where two porch swings now hang.

The home also has extensive wood detail. According to  those who knew him, Ron was an excellent craftsman. He did all the cabinetry and woodwork in the home by hand, including the crown molding, built-in storage compartments and staircase.

The in-ground pool in the  backyard was not part of the original plans; it was added after Ron sold the home in 1993 for $300,000. The new owner also changed the color of the exterior from white to gray and painted the door mauve.

When the home was sold again in 2012, the new owner painted the house yellow, the color it is now, and upgraded the master bathroom.

The current owners, Alissa and Wally, married in 2002. They purchased a home on Cascade Drive in 2009. When the Victorian-style home went up for sale for $410,000 in 2013, the Rackstraws seized the opportunity to purchase the home Alissa had always dreamed of living in since she first laid eyes on it.

Ironically, when Wally was in high school, he had a job installing wallpaper and his new home is one of the houses where he worked. The wallpaper he installed still remains in the hallway, dining room and bedroom.

“The hallway wallpaper needs to be replaced because of so many people touching it, but the dining room and bedroom wallpaper is still in good shape,” says Alissa.

The Rackstraws have not had to change much about the home since they bought it. One thing they did change is a section of the white picket fence. They replaced the side fence with a cement wall, so that the pool area can’t be seen from the street.

Alissa and Wally plan to change the color of the home from yellow to baby blue or light green. They are still undecided. They also plan to knock out a wall to create more of an open floor plan. “The woodwork is so beautiful, we don’t have any plans to change it,” says Alissa.

Ron Horton went on to build almost 20 homes in Canyon Lake, including a saltbox-style home on Pretty Doe Drive.

When the recession hit and  the market took a dive, Ron retired from building homes and accepted a job as a building inspector with Riverside County. He passed away in March 2012. His children no longer live in Canyon Lake but his wife still lives here in the last home Ron built. They were married for 46 years.


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Donna Ritchie