Five Westchester and Playa del Rey households open their doors for the 33rd annual Holiday Home Tour
By Shanee Edwards
It’s that time of year again — the season of shopping, decorations and, at least in Westchester and Playa del Rey, locals opening their doors to neighbors in support of a good cause.
On Sunday, two carefully decorated homes in Westchester and three in Playa del Rey are sights to be seen in the 33rd annual Holiday Home Tour, a Westchester Mental Health Guild fundraiser for the Airport Marina Counseling Service that’s become a treasured local tradition.
So, go ahead — indulge your inner looky-loo and meet your neighbors in the process.
This year, each of the five charming homes open for the self-guided tour represents a different architectural style and different take on holiday spirit.
Setting the mood for Halloween is homeowner Lory Sarlo’s modern take on an Italian villa in Playa del Rey.
Her three-story home has been nicknamed “45 steps to heaven” because of the rooftop design that boasts a fully stocked kitchen, 60-inch grill, full bar, fire pit and seating for 20.
“In the summer, we eat dinner out there five nights out of the week,” she says. “I’ve learned to grill almost anything imaginable.”
Sarlo says that decorating her house for Halloween is important because “it signifies the beginning of the holiday season. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I miss the change of seasons, but putting out the 300 pumpkins I’ve collected helps.”
For homeowner and interior designer Jenika Kurtz Cuadra, celebrating Christmas at her Westchester home is all about indulging in color. She bought her 990-square-foot 1940s bungalow several years ago, knowing it needed a lot of work but happy to oblige. She tore out and replaced all the dated amenities to give the house contemporary functionality, but used color to bring out its early 20th-century charm.
To celebrate Christmas, Kurtz Cuadra focuses less on the traditional elements like pinecones and holly and more on crafting an eclectic look.
“My Christmas tree is white with some fun red and pink tassels,” plus pomegranates and flowers to make her environment warm and inviting, she says.
Living in sunny Los Angeles doesn’t put a damper on her Christmas spirit.
“It’s kind of funny to people who don’t live here that we do Christmas lights and a Christmas tree,” she says, “because we don’t really have snow and it’s not really cold. But I like that in L.A., we don’t mind. We continue on anyway.”
After attending last year’s Holiday Home Tour, Kurtz Cuadra is excited to open her doors to tour-goers.
“If I can help the community by letting people come into my house, it’s the least I can do,” she says.
The other stops on the tour include a three-level, Alpine-style Playa del Rey home decorated with antiques for an old-fashioned Christmas, a remodeled Westchester ranch house that sets the table for Thanksgiving, and a four-story home in the Playa del Rey with stunning marina views that’s decorated to ring in the New Year.
A reception after the tour at the YMCA Annex features a one-day holiday pop-up boutique hosted by the Guilded Cage, the Westchester gift shop that also supports Airport Marina Counseling Service.
The 33rd annual Holiday Home Tour happens from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. Kids 12 and under get in free if accompanied by an adult.
Buy presale tickets for $30 at The Guilded Cage, 8917-B S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester, or online at wmhgtour2015.eventbrite.com. Buy same-day tickets for $35 at the YMCA Annex, 8020 Alverstone Ave., Westchester.