The Rotary Homes of Distinction Tour is now in its 15th year — but this year marks a first. “I am thrilled to have all the homes in SLO for the first time,” said tour chairperson Wilda Rosene. “It will be a real bonus to the participants as they can spend more time in each home and save on gas.”
The homes span a range of styles, including contemporary, Spanish Colonial Revival, and even Prairie School.
Here, we take a peek at the five homes slated for this year’s tour.
1650 Woodland Court,San Luis Obispo
Architect: Tom Martin
Interior Design: Laurel Davar
Laurel and Saeed Davar are yin and yang: she is an artist, interior designer and creative force; he’s a mechanical engineer, methodical and orderly. Their combined strengths yielded the concept of a light-filled, 3,200-square-foot home.
They call the style “Carmel Cottage,” which Laurel Davar acknowledges is “kind of a made-up style.” The couple was inspired by the stone cottages in old Carmel because “they have hints of Old World elegance without the formality,” she said. Their version pairs Craftsman and traditional elements, with a few unexpected features, such as a red tile roof.
Davar noted that the interior she designed is “traditional but pared down — nothing fussy.” She pulled together French elements, pieces collected on their travels, and an abundance of art for a look that is sophisticated yet comfortable.
The Gerpheide Home
591 Islay Street, San Luis Obispo
Designers/Contractors: Nina and Scott Seelos
Jim Gerpheide once lived in a small apartment near the historic Sandercock house and would pass it daily, not knowing that someday, he and wife Shu would be its owners.
The early 20th century Spanish Colonial Revival house retains many of its original features including its Philippine mahogany floors, some light and bathroom fixtures, and even an antique telephone. The Gerpheides have carefully restored parts of it, and recreated other elements. For instance, they had garage doors specially built to look like carriage house doors from the 1920s.
The couple has decorated the house with their collection of antiques and art. Each room has its own theme. The dining room is Spanish Mission style with many pieces from the 1920s and 1930s. The kitchen and breakfast room are Victorian, inspired by the style of the cabinetry. In the office are French Gothic pieces, as well as a collection of whimsical German Black Forest Clocks that are “quite a sight when they are all going at the same time,” said Jim Gerpheide.
The Jorgensen/Crooks Home
1632 Lizzie Court, San Luis Obispo
Architect/Designer: Paul Abbott, Vellum Design/Build
Interior Designer: Anne Fortini
When Janice Crooks and Robert Jorgensen decided to relocate from the Bay Area to San Luis Obispo, they couldn’t find a house that suited their needs. Their solution was to start from scratch.
The couple purchased a lot in the Bowden Ranch development with the intent to build a home heavily influenced by the Prairie School style. “Back in the ’80s in Santa Cruz, we renovated a Prairie School house built in 1915,” noted Crooks. “We loved how the horizontal lines, prominent eaves, earth colors and nat ural textures helped the house blend in with its surroundings.”
The couple enjoys entertaining and cooking, so they paid close attention to the kitchen design. Anchoring the space is an oversized island topped with gleaming quartzite. Two separate sinks, a Wolf range and Sub Zero refrigerator are handy for prep work.
The couple decorated their house to complement the architecture. They commissioned several pieces of built-in, quarter-sawn oak furniture, which is true to Prairie School style.
The Larrabee Home
1325 Garden StreetArchitect: Thom BrajkovichDesign Services: Stephen Patrick Design
Mike and Shannon Larrabee’s 2,750-square foot home is part of the Garden Green Condominiums. Though physically fused with two other residences, the Larrabees have stylistically set their space apart.
Shannon Larrabee chose materials and crafted the interior design to suit the couple’s lifestyle, which includes their preference for modern design with midcentury elements. They chose understated decor, punctuated by characterfilled materials such as metallic walls in the dining area and floors clad in 200-year-old reclaimed oak.
Hidden yet accessible are small conveniences that make a big impact on daily routines. A sound sys tem is integrated into the house, as is an ironing board that folds down in the master bedroom closet. In the kitchen, wine and beer refrigerators are cleverly disguised behind paneling (Mike Larrabee is president and CEO of a beer distribution company). They even designed a specialized drawer to neat ly hold his abundance of tshirts. “A lot of this house was designed around things that bugged us and we came up with solutions,” said Shannon Larrabee.
The Spatafore Home
1303 Garden Street
Builder: Craig Gossard
When John and Debora Spatafore purchased their historic folk-style Victorian in 1995, it was half office building, chopped up into many isolated rooms, with an upstairs residence accessible by an outside stairway. So began a three-year renovation project that turned the 1878-built structure into a combination residence and law office for John.
They took down many of the walls, which, according to Debora Spatafore, were “every 12 feet.” Out went the industrial light fixtures, rubber moldings and other office trappings. They replaced most fixtures with period pieces, including kitchen lights that once hung in the UC Berkeley Library. They relocated the kitchen which, before the remodel, was stationed inconveniently upstairs.
As an artist, Debora Spatafore wanted a home infused with color. Her palette is playful, mixing hues and patterns. For instance, in the kitchen, walls are decked out in stripes in shades of green, yellow, red and white. Furniture throughout the house is an eclectic combination of contemporary pieces and antiques, including a confessional door from Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa that now is a “secret door” leading to her husband’s office.
The Rotary Homes of Distinction Tour will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20. Tickets for the self-guided tour are $25 per person, granting access to all five homes. Refreshments will be served at the Gerpheide home, courtesy of Madonna Inn.
Tickets are available online at http://www.slorotary.org, or in person at the San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Arroyo Grande Chambers of Commerce. Tickets are also available on the day of the tour at any of the five homes. For more information, call (805) 546-8806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds from the tour benefit Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo charities.