Two trips to look at the Thorn and one offer later, the process began for the Kallis’ to move to the gold country, own Thorn Mansion and begin the long and arduous task of preserving and restoring it to its 1861 condition.

They are still hard at it and don’t know just when it will be completed. They say they hope they can finish it in their lifetime. It has been a huge undertaking, but one they feel is important because of the rarity and historical importance of the house.

Marjorie is still working as a registered nurse in Home Health and an IV infusion

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Owners, Marjorie and Rurik Kallis purchased the Thorn Mansion in 2001. Together they continue to restore this national historic home built by Sheriff Benjamin Kent Thorn in 1861. Much research and great attention to detail is evident in the work completed by this dedicated couple who have undertaken other such projects on previous homes.


Rurik Kallis is a retired Restoration Specialist with a Master’s Degree in Ceramics. Rurik graduated from USC with a Fine Arts Degree in Ceramics after completing a Bachelor’s Degree from California State College at Northridge California and has worked as a college and university art instructor. He has also worked in the ceramics and aero space industries before becoming an independent restoration specialist.

Marjorie has been a Registered Nurse for 26 years. She spent some of her working years helping Rurik in his restoration business in San Diego, California before going back to school to fulfill her desire to become a nurse. The Kallis’ have raised one son who still resides in San Diego and is also working in the restoration business.

Born and raised in Southern California, Marjorie and Rurik truly believed they would never leave their home in Lemon Grove, a city in San Diego County, especially since they had worked to restore a beautiful 1895 Eastlake style ranch house called the Sunset View Ranch, a completed, period-correct restoration from foundation to chimney. How could it be that they would actually leave the beautiful, award-winning sunset view ranch house, their home of 30 years?

Well, Marjorie and Rurik first saw the Thorn Mansion when passing thru San Andreas on a trip to Eureka California in 1991. Rurik spotted the place and they stopped to take a picture and admire the intriguing estate with a for sale sign hanging from the balcony. As they looked over the brick wall at the house, Marjorie wistfully fell under the spell of the “Gold Country” and said “Wouldn’t you love to have that house?” She then shook her head to cast off the spell and they went on their way. Not once thinking of the Thorn Mansion again for ten years.

Ten years later through several odd but meant-to-be circumstances the spell of the Sierra Nevada Foothills and the Thorn Mansion (a rare example of Masonry Gothic Revival architecture) once again captivated the Kallis'.

Pictured at right,
tables are set in the front yard area for a wedding reception
that followed a
backyard garden ceremony.

Since this photo
was taken, Rurik
has added a balcony, much like the original, to the second story above the front porch. Many of the rooms of this spacious home have been restored
and are currently
used by the Kallis'
for home and office, while others are
in the process of  renovation.


business. Once in a while someone will talk Rurik into doing a small off-site restoration job in his specialty of windows and doors. But he finds that Thorn House and their antique autos take all of his precious time.

They continue to find the gold country fascinating and alluring. They attend as many local events as they can and really enjoy being part of a wonderful community. They find this area to be a great place to enjoy their antique cars. The scenery, history and people make every day enjoyable.