The Rotary Club of SLO’s 11th Annual Homes of Distinction Tour

The home of Georgiana and Dewey Peterson is an elegant French Country estate.
The home of Georgiana and Dewey Peterson is an elegant French Country estate.

When Wilda Rosene searches for homes to showcase in the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo’s Homes of Distinction Tour, she is never certain what she will come up with. Last year, the tour was skewed toward Old World architecture. This year, modern is on the menu.

“Last year, I had no modern homes,” said Rosene, the tour chairwoman, and adds that she tries to put together an interesting tour with “as much a variety as I can find. There is never a theme.”

For the first time in its 11 years, the tour will feature three homes that range from contemporary to ultra-modern. Balancing things out are a Mediterranean-style home and a French Country estate.

Here is a preview of several San Luis Obispo-area homes slated for this year’s Homes of Distinction Tour.

Kulick Home | Photos »

Ben Kulick’s strikingly modern residence had a modest beginning — a 1970s bungalow with dated elements such as orange shag carpeting, lime-green countertops and fake wood paneling.

Kulick, who is president of San Luis Obispo general contracting firm Stalwork Inc., spent four years remaking the house.

“It wasn’t an on-and-off project — I worked on it every day,” he said, adding that he contributed to everything from finish carpentry, to framing and landscaping.

The stark, ultra-modern design of the house is balanced by naturalistic landscaping and raw, organic materials like steel, unstained wood and concrete.

Kulick equipped the home with a sophisticated automation system — doors, lights, even window coverings are controlled remotely from a cell phone or from within the home. The workings of these systems, as well as the clutter of everyday life, are artfully concealed in sleek, modern cabinetry in order to maintain the home’s streamlined aesthetic.

Siverson Home | Photos »

From the looks of their contemporary home, you wouldn’t suspect that Marilyn and Nels Siverson were dairy farmers in Florida just three years ago.

They purchased the property in 1998 when their son was attending Cal Poly. Years later, they prepared for semi-retirement by tearing down the old home on the property to build anew.

With a penchant for clean, simple lines, the couple found the inspiration for their house in, of all places, a window brochure. It featured a home in Minnesota that merged the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright with an Asian aesthetic.

The Siversons and their extended family love to cook, so they made the kitchen the focal point of the home.

“When you entertain, everyone ends up in the kitchen, so we wanted a lot of room,” said Marilyn.

As serious cooks, function was as important as form in the kitchen. They incorporated features such as a commercial range and pull-out shelves that offer easy access to cookware.

Bergman Home | Photos »

Sky Bergman purchased her 1904 American Foursquare home four years ago. After years of being used as a triplex rental, it was badly in need of improvements.

She knew there would be constraints in remodeling the exterior of the historic home.

“We had to work with a boxy building, but we used a lot of curves inside to make it feel really organic,” she said.

Bergman, who is a photographer and chairperson of the Cal Poly Department of Art and Design, worked with her friend, Italian-born architect Enrica Lovaglio Costello, to reinvent the interior in a light, airy, contemporary style. They used curves whenever possible — in the contours of the kitchen island, in doorway arches, and rounded corners. Furnishings and decor were kept simple and spare, a complement to the home’s straightforward architecture.

The seven-month remodel was capped off by installing water-efficient landscaping such as succulents, integrated with edibles like sun-loving artichoke plants.

Also on the tour

Davar Home | Photos »

The Edna Valley home of Laurel and Saeed Davar was inspired by the Palladian villas of Italy and features Laurel’s original artwork and murals.

Peterson Home | Photos »

The home of Georgiana and Dewey Peterson is an elegant French Country estate filled with antiques and family heirlooms.

About the tour

The Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo’s 11th Annual Homes of Distinction Tour will be on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The five homes on the tour may be viewed in any order. Refreshments will be served at the Bergman Home, courtesy of Madonna Inn and Trader Joe’s.

Tickets for the tour are $25 per person and are available for purchase at; at the San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande and Atascadero chambers of commerce; San Luis Obispo branches of Santa Barbara First Bank and Trust; Founders Bank; and Blakeslee & Blakeslee. They will also be available at all five homes on the day of the tour. To buy tickets by phone, or for additional information, please call 546-8806 or email

Proceeds from the tour benefit charitable efforts. Past charitable contributions include the gazebo at Mitchell Park, scholarship and mentor programs for high school and college students, and vocational opportunities for students.

Rebecca Juretic is a freelance writer who lives in San Luis Obispo.

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