Redlands YMCA, homeowners have welcome mats out for the holiday home tour - Redlands Daily Facts
Now in its 51st year, the Redlands Family YMCA Holiday Home Tour for 2018 once again puts local homes on show in a wonderful community tradition to help those in need — and, yes, it’s definitely a great time, too.
Start with brunch, share the tour with friends and families and don’t forget to do your holiday shopping at the 39th annual Holiday Boutique & Pantry, held at the Y’s 500 E. Citrus Ave. facility. Funds raised through these events support the Legal Aid Clinic managed by the YMCA.
The clinic provides affordable legal services to individuals and families facing divorce, custody and guardianship issues. Mark the dates on your calendar: home tour, Sunday, Dec. 2, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; boutique and pantry, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For information, visit ymcahometour.org/about-home-tour
Here’s a closer look at each of the homes on the tour:
“It feels like I’m living in a doll house,” says AmyLynn Dimaano of the grand Victorian she shares with fiance Matthew Delaney. The house, built in 1891, is quite life-sized, but really does feel like a perfectly appointed doll house with large stately rooms, ornate antique furnishings and deep rich colors.
When the couple moved in a year ago, the house was fully restored and the walls were white. Dimaano, a mixed-media artist and music therapist who works to help people heal through music and art at HOPE (Help Others Purposely Evolve), painted and wall papered the house with the dark colors she loves. (Fun fact: All the wood on the doorways had to be faux painted to look like dark wood because the original poplar can’t be stripped.)
The house is filled with visual details everywhere you look.
The walls of the long stairwell are covered with a sprawling mural including their cats, a Delaney family crest and a repeating theme of oranges, which have personal meaning to Dimaano.
The murals continue throughout the quirky attic rooms of the house, with the sky painted on the ceiling of a bedroom and trees and forest scenes throughout the upper hall. The charming upstairs room they call “The Princess Room” looks like it’s from a storybook, with slanted ceilings covered in floral wallpaper, luxe fabrics and an old wooden vanity where the princess would definitely prepare for the ball. (It would not be entirely surprising if the birds painted on the walls came to life to assist her in this task.)
Dimaano’s touch is everywhere, from the dining room that she’s converted to an art studio/mad scientist laboratory to her bedroom featuring a 300-year-old wooden Chinese wedding bed. “I like dark, dark, dark,” she says.
“This house was build as the winter house for a Maine shipbuilder,” says John Nolan, the latest lord of the manor.
He and wife Cesca have been gradually fixing up the sprawling 1897 farmhouse which had fallen into disrepair. There were sagging ceilings, chipping paint and enough debris to fill up 22 haul away garbage bins.
“Winter house” and “farmhouse” don’t really describe this stately old home with its grand rooms, high ceilings and period furniture. There is a nautical theme throughout that manifests everywhere from tabletop model ships to the captain’s wheels etched onto the shower doors.
The dining room walls are painted with nautical murals to give diners the feeling of being on a New England bay. The old glass in the window panes now has a bit of a melted look and, in an unintentional nod to the nautical theme, gives a bit of wavy effect to the view of the backyard and its resident chickens.
The Nolans are bringing back the character of the original house while making it a livable space for non-1897 living. The former maid’s quarters are now a cozy den that also serves as a private suite for guests and the sleeping porch upstairs has been converted into an office for Cesca.
There’s a butler’s pantry and an as-yet- unremodeled kitchen featuring a pantry for storing cold items before refrigeration.
The home also houses the couple’s respective collections, John with tractors and John Deere memorabilia and Cesca with all things chicken-related. There are so many chicken figurines in the kitchen alone that one Christmas, the family had a contest for guests to guess how many there were.
“I think it was 152,” says Nolan, the official tallier.
As her Spanish-style home was nearing its 100th birthday, Dr. Patsy Oppenheim says she had a decision to make. “There were so many things that needed to be done. It was either go big or sell it.”
She went big.
Dr. Oppenheim and her family — Nate, her adult son with special needs who lives with her, and frequent visitors daughter and son-in-law Mackenzie and Jake Dawes, and grandson Ryker — had lots of discussions on how they wanted to use the space. Before putting down the hardscape around the backyard pool, Mackenzie went out and stood in the dirt to figure out where and how big the step should be. The result? Extra deep steps so people could stand there comfortably holding a drink.
“We wanted to keep the integrity of the house,” said Dr. Oppenheim, now retired after 40 years in university administration and student affairs. New flooring was matched to the original hardwood floor in the front sitting room, minus the creaks. The dining room has her grandmother’s original table and a cabinet filled with tea cups handed down as holiday gifts over the years.
But highest on her wish list was a working, easily cleanable kitchen where Dr. Oppenheim could indulge her love of baking and still have the space for hosting charity dinners. The kitchen has a large island for extra seating for a crowd, a dedicated baking corner with large pull-out drawers for flour storage and even special shelves for Ryker’s collection of toy food.
“I grew up in the middle of an orange grove,” says LaRee Orland, who comes from a family of orange growers.
So it’s fitting that her rancho style home featuring sweeping views of the San Bernadino Forest out of almost every window also overlooks a Redlands Heritage Grove.
The single story, 3,200-square-foot home sits high atop a hill and was built in a long straight line to take advantage of that sweeping view.
Inside, lots of wood, stone and warm colors connect the interiors to the outdoors and give the house an earthy feel. The Mexican influence is apparent in the airy double tall hallway with a vaulted ceiling. The upper loft shelves are lined with vintage crates and signs advertising orange industries, a nod to the family business.
The highlight of the home, built in 2005, is the great room featuring a kitchen and large living room with huge windows that capture that view and handcrafted woodwork throughout.
All the cabinetry in the kitchen was built by her ex-husband, Mike Orland. The floor was made from raw wood trucked in from the East Coast that they took to get milled themselves. The thick beams on the ceiling were hand-notched. The living room is anchored by a huge rustic stone fireplace that enhances the overall feel of homeyness.
“When people come here they feel comfortable — they take off their shoes, sit on the couch and hang out,” says Orland.
The Pretorius house was built in 1925 as a home for the daughter of the man living in the Queen Anne next door.
The house combines the wide doorway arches, wood floors and artsy feel of a Craftsman with the best of modernity like cabinetry with drawers that look like they slide like a dream and a large kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances.
The house is charming and wildly inviting, with cozy places to sit and books all over the house — even the kitchen has shelves of cookbooks. The master suite has a huge walk-in closet, built-in cabinets lining the halls and a light and bright bathroom that looks out onto an outdoor hot tub and, beyond that, a grove.
“There was an ancient orange grove when we bought the house,” says Kate Pretorius, who lives in the house with husband Robert, better known as “Jerry,” and Lily the dog. “As we renovated, we started over with a few different varieties of orange, an Australian Finger Lime, a Pink Lemonade, a few grapefruits, two cherries, a peach, a plum and a nectarine.”
The yard area isn’t one big space but rather little vignettes — a hammock in one space, a porch swing and a fountain in another, a grill and large casual seating area in another.
Architecture buffs may want to search for evidence of the house’s former life as a duplex, something the couple discovered during renovation.
“Once we recognized that, the entire house made sense,” says Pretorius. Look for clues like the off-center front door and the symmetry of the front rooms.
Carolyn Whetzel’s home is a testament to what smart reconfiguration can do.
Even though a remodel left the house with the same square footage, the space feels much bigger.
The house was built sometime between 1949 and 1951 and is typical of the era. It was part of a tract with similar bungalow homes. There was a small galley kitchen (“a wreck”) with plywood cabinets and an oven that wouldn’t close without a broom propped against its door.
A later addition had closed in the house creating a strange room dubbed “the door room.” “It was a totally dysfunctional space,” says Whetzel who bought the home in 1988. “And that’s the way it was for nearly 30 years.”
What began as “a little update” turned into a major overhaul that included ripping out walls, shifting the layout and a complete kitchen remodel with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, quartz countertops and a built-in eating nook next to a sunny corner window.
Whetzel’s favorite improvements are the new French doors leading to a deck off the living room and a dedicated wine area with glass-doored cabinets for stemware, a refrigerator and cubbies to store bottles.
In the end, it was all worth the months of camping at the homes of friends and the trauma of seeing the entire back wall of her house ripped away.
“It’s hard to believe that this was the way it was,” she says. “For the first several months, I would walk in here and go ‘Wow! This is an amazing space.’ ”
Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the winter 2018 issue of Redlands Magazine.