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Museum Supporters Will Find That Home Is Where the Art Is

July 11, 1994|ANN CONWAY

You can't help but think "earthquake and fire" when you step into Teri and John Kennady's new hilltop digs in Emerald Bay.

Everywhere you look you see art crystal--some of it by Murano master glassblower Serguso and some of it by his American counterpart, Dale Chihuly. Not to mention wall after wall hung with masterful works of contemporary art.

Given last year's quakes and firestorms, aren't the Kennadys--he's a neurosurgeon, she's the powerful president of the Laguna Art Museum board (when museum director Charles Desmarais was fired last March, it was Teri who knowingly explained that "he and the museum have different needs")--terrified of losing it all?

"It's already gone through it once," a philosophical Teri said of her crystal collection on a recent afternoon in Emerald Bay. "It is what it is. If it breaks, it would be sad and we would start again and keep going.

"When the fire raged in Emerald Bay last fall, our house was under construction, a shell. But we had to quickly resign ourselves to the fact that if it burned, it burned. We had plans, a foundation, and we could go on.

"The same with collecting. When you collect, you make a choice. That's part of the process."

On Sept. 11, Kennady's 4,700-square-foot gallery of a dwelling will be featured in a home tour that is part of the museum's annual Perspectives fund-raising event series. For $100 per person, guests will tour five Laguna Beach homes--all strongholds of art.

"The tour presents a unique opportunity for people to get a glimpse at the kind of people who are active in the museum as well as see some unique homes and art collections," said Elyse Miller, event chairwoman.

Besides their art and glass collections, the Kennady home features:

* A blue-tiled rectangular pool with a multicolor confetti bottom. "The confetti look warms things up," said Teri. "Everything else about the house is very staid and thought-out."

* A living room where saffron-silk sofas rest on rust-colored concrete floors. No all-the-rage marble in this house. Why concrete? "We like the way it ends up," Teri explained. "So we put it in the entry, the living room and the powder room." (Other living areas are carpeted or feature natural birch flooring.) After the concrete sets, a "color is polished in," she said.

* "Floating" counters in the master bathroom. Each wall-hung vanity table is made of clear sandblasted glass. The handblown art glass that sits on each counter seems to be suspended in mid-air.

* A large living room painting by Fritz Sholder with a great story behind it. "That's a very important painting to me," Teri explained. "We bought that on a museum trip to Santa Fe but we didn't have a place to put it. It was because of that painting that we bought this property."

Also on the Perspectives' dance-card: A bay-side "Caribbean Carnival" on Aug. 25 at the Linda Isle home of Dolores Milhous, former museum board president. The first 20 guests to book a reservation for this romp will be taken on a pre-party cruise aboard Milhous's stately yacht. This $150 per-person event includes a Caribbean-themed repast and entertainment by a steel band.

On Sept. 8, the museum will stage "Get Smart," a dinner party which will also feature a discussion about art forgery by FBI agent Virginia Curry. "We'll have a forged Modigliani on hand," to show guests how clever forgers can be, said Miller. Museum supporter Geoffrey Beaumont will host the event in his Newport Beach home. Tickets are $100 per person.

Ruby's Auto Diner in South Laguna will cater "Rebel With a Cause," a Sept. 18 supper that will feature a display of custom and classic bikes. Tickets for adults are $30; children under 12, $10.

The final Perspectives outing will take place at chef Pascal Olhats' Epicerie in Newport Beach. Situated next to his popular Pascal restaurant, the intimate deli/bakery will provide the backdrop for Pascal when he demonstrates the preparation of his favorite Provencal dishes. Tickets are $75.

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