Home tours typically give visitors a chance to get the creative decorating juices flowing, to dream of permanently occupying rooms as exquisite as the ones they are temporarily visiting. Home they go with visions of Victorian libraries or koi ponds dancing in their heads.
But dreams differ from person to person. Not every house nor every room suits every individual. That's why a good house tour offers variety. And the annual Santa Clara Valley Hospice's one-day House and Garden Tour in Santa Paula does just that.
There are lacy, flowered master bedrooms, dream kitchens and lush gardens. There is a workshop with that houses every kind of saw imaginable, and a poker room repleat with branding irons and calendars of voluptuous nudes. See? Something for everyone.
My recommendation is to start at the Outland home on Telegraph Road. This Victorian house and sparkling red and white barn, built in the early 1900s, are eye-catchers. A porch wraps around the front of the house, giving the visitor a respite in several nooks.
In addition to many Victorian features--including two 100-year-old organs--the house has a large craft room upstairs. A workbench on one wall and huge cubbyholes for storage help owner Hazel Outland work on any craft project.
For the biggest surprise, though, head out to the barn. That's where the poker room is, hidden behind a side wall. Stuffed animal heads and Western memorabilia adorn the walls, as do the nude calendars.
Then there is the Smith residence on Santa Paula Street, scheduled to open in June as the White Gables Bed & Breakfast. This Victorian home was built in 1894 by the Underwood family.
The front parlor's decor is exquisite, with comfortable floral couches, a Remington bronze and an original coal-burning ornate Victorian fireplace. The bedrooms and baths are upstairs, with reproduced furniture and decorations of the period. A sitting parlor has been reproduced on the landing leading to the second floor, complete with red brocade chairs, a wicker buggy and Lenox porcelain figurines gracing an ornate etagere.
From there, it's on to the law office of C. Russell King on North 8th Street, which is housed in a refurbished 1894 Victorian home.
On first glance, it looks like a typical law office. But a close inspection reveals King's lifelong love affair with the Navy. In nooks and crannies King keeps his model airplane collection and naval historical memorabilia.
Two new homes on Cliff Drive are also part of the tour. Duane Reynolds' ranch-style house has many amenities, from large rooms with bay windows to a beautifully appointed master bedroom. But the kitchen is the main attraction.
A drop-lighted stained glass panel hangs in the center of the kitchen over an island that has a sink, a trash compactor and lift-out shelves for a large bread-maker.
The house and barn of the Plucknett family is next. The Plucknetts have collected antiques through the years, including an 1894 cast-iron stove and a high chair from the Civil War.A large front room and master bedroom, both with unusual fireplaces, are main features of the house.
The barn, however, is the showstopper. Burrell Plucknett's love of woodworking is evident on the first floor, where he keeps every woodworking tool imaginable. Upstairs, he built an antique store and post office to show off his talents. Farm tools, household utensils and a Prince Albert Smoking Tobacco tin are among the antiques displayed.
Refreshments will be served at the hacienda-style home of the Henderson family on Woodland Drive. This house was built in 1928 by artist Douglas Shively.
A wrought-iron gate opens to front doors made of redwood. The front room is long and cool, with a grated fireplace in the middle. Cranberry velvet furniture adds color, with lighting supplied by an 1899 Tiffany lamp and two large wrought-iron chandeliers.
The formal dining room, with two dining tables, is long and narrow, with French doors that open to the garden. Upstairs, there are collections of Navajo rugs, Indian artifacts and toad figurines.
The garden, graced by a lovely live oak, is the focal point of the house. Azaleas, ferns and cymbidiums surround a circular fountain near the patio. Toward the house's entrance is a lush koi pond surrounded by boulders, azaleas and junipers and fed by a stream.
All in all, enough to satisfy just about everyone.
* WHERE AND WHEN
The eighth annual Santa Clara Valley Hospice Home and Garden Tour will be held Sunday in Santa Paula. It is a fund-raising event for the Santa Clara Valley Hospice, a nonprofit organization that cares for terminally ill patients in their homes. The tour is from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets, with maps, are $10 each and may be purchased the day of the tour at any of the houses, or in advance at the Santa Paula Area Chamber of Commerce, 200 N. 10th St., or at Cauch's Drug Store, 915 E. Main St.
Homes on the tour include:
Outland Ranch House
13932 W. Telegraph Road
White Gables Bed & Breakfast
Home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith
715 E. Santa Paula St.
Law Office of C. Russell King
126 N. 8th St.
Home of Duane Reynolds
1025 Cliff Drive
Home of Mr. and Mrs. Burrell Plucknett
1013 Cliff Drive
Home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Henderson
1158 Woodland Drive