Wilda Rosene, who has coordinated the Rotary Homes of Distinction Tour for 12 of its 17 years, calls her search for homes “a treasure hunt,” full of surprises. As its name suggests, the tour focuses on homes with distinctive qualities, and this year’s lineup is no exception. It includes a home with a traditional English pub, a historic adobe full of art and artifacts, and a contemporary ranch home with elements inspired by Austin, Texas.
Here’s a preview of the five San Luis Obispo homes on this year’s tour.
Architect: Bryan Ridley
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Builder/Landscaper: Stalwork Inc.
David and Carla Walker aren’t dazzled by new things, preferring pieces with age and a story.
Two years ago, they remodeled their 1960s-built, Mediterranean-style house with this in mind. It wasn’t a typical remodel — they actually decreased its square footage to make room for a 1,615-square-foot garage large enough to fit David’s collection of cars, which includes a 1969 Jaguar and a Ford Zephyr.
The couple converted their cellar into an English-style pub — a tribute to David’s English roots. It is traditional, right down to the billiard table and pub carpeting. Also from England is the couple’s dining set, a 19th century Old English Georgian table with shield-back chairs.
Carla’s Texas upbringing is also part of the home. Several pieces of furniture once belonged to her grandmother. Brass beds in the guest room were in Carla’s childhood home. And in the entryway is a light fixture that originally hung in the old Petroleum Club in Houston.
Abdul Cader Home
Architect: Eric Zobel
Builders/interior designers: Brian and Chenda Lor Rolph, Better Builders Inc.
Rushdi and Nisha Abdul Cader are busy local physicians, the parents of three children, and also enthusiastic entertainers. The home they chose is guest-ready with an open floor plan, a large centrally-located kitchen, and a private studio guest room above the garage. Outdoor spaces are equally inviting with resort-like amenities on the three-acre property such as a 66-foot heated pool, integrated hot tub, pool house, outdoor shower and large dining area.
The Tuscan style of the house is timeless, Nisha said. Although the house was built in 2009, Old World design and classic materials create a feeling of age. Wrought iron railings encircle the exterior. Inside, heavy beams line the great room ceiling, and doors are solid teak, each weighing up to 150 pounds.
The family has decorated simply, not wanting to compete with the sweeping hillside views. Their carefully curated collection of accents includes carpets, painted tiles and wood panels from Turkey, India and Indonesia.
Hannings Home/ Hays-Latimer Adobe
David Hannings’ 1850s adobe home makes an encore appearance on the tour, thanks to its newly remodeled kitchen. Previously renovated in the 1960s, it was dated and not compatible with the structure. Now, it now has a Mexican Colonial style to match the heritage of this historic adobe – the oldest one in San Luis Obispo that is still used as a residence.
Hannings sanded the juniper beams himself and designed rustic wood cabinets and a kitchen table that were built by artisans in Mexico, commissioned by Luna Rustica. Hand-painted Mexican tiles line the walls and antique beer pots from the Tarahumara people of New Mexico sit in niches.
Also new is an enclosed sun room. Located off the kitchen, it has Mexican tiles, tree trunk columns, a koi pond and a mural by Marcie Hawthorne. A skylight brings in plenty of natural light for an impressive collection of plants amassed by this retired Cal Poly horticulture professor.
What hasn’t changed is Hannings’ astounding collection of art and artifacts from his global travels that cover the walls and shelves of the house.
Architect: Isaman Design
Builder: Stalwork Inc.
Like other homes in its neighborhood, the residence of Kevin and Mary Okimoto features ranch-style architecture. But the couple put their own twist on it with a 2015 re-build. The new, more contemporary structure pays homage to their former home city of Austin, with the use of Texas limestone, cedar and stucco.
The home’s layout was created with their kids in mind. Its open floor plan means the “kids can run around,” said Kevin. They have a wing of the house all to themselves, with a large playroom that sits just off their bedrooms.
The main living area connects directly to the tree-shaded backyard through an 18-foot long sliding glass door. Their rear balcony is comfortable year-round thanks to ceiling fans and heaters. It even sports a large flat-screen television.
On a separate, quieter wing are grownup spaces, including the master bedroom. The couple keeps the entire home clutter-free by limiting the number of knick-knacks and smartly using storage.
Architect: Thomas Reay
Remodel Builder: Fortini Interiors
Landscape: Duane Morris
Bill and Sandee Beckers purchased their home mainly for its stunning view of Bishop Peak. Their remodel and redecorating of the 1991-built Mediterranean-style structure keeps the focus on that view and the other focal point of the house: a circular floating staircase at its center. They removed window coverings and excess walls. Even the bathroom offers a full view, through a one-way window.
The private backyard is spacious and ideal for entertaining. It features a fish pond and a deck with an unobstructed mountain view.
The couple has decorated with pieces collected from their travels such as landscape paintings and plates from Italy and oriental rugs collected over their nearly 50 years of marriage.
If you go
The 2017 Homes of Distinction Tour will be held from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17. Tickets for the self-guided tour are $25 per person, granting access to all five homes. Refreshments will be served at the Walker House, courtesy of Madonna Inn. Water will be available at all homes, courtesy of Culligan Water. Flat shoes are requested; high heels will not be permitted at the homes.
Tickets are available online at www.slorotary.org, or in person at the San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Arroyo Grande/Grover Beach Chambers of Commerce. Tickets are also available on the day of the tour at any of the five homes. Addresses and a map are on the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo website. For more information, call (805)546-8806 or email WildaRosene@gmail.com. Proceeds from the tour beneﬁt Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo Charities.