Annual event begins today with video views of three properties
The Ojai Festival Women’s Committee has re-imagined the popular Ojai Holiday Home Tour, due to this challenging year, by presenting an online video tour of three Ojai Valley properties — Casa de Paz, Roman Holiday and La Tranquilidad.
Launching today and continuing to Dec. 21, the video tour, produced by Ojaii-based Square Productions, is narrated by Ojai residents and acclaimed designer/architect couple Brooke and Steve Giannetti of Giannetti Home.
“For 24 years, the Holiday Home Tour and Marketplace has been an event to anticipate, a date to mark on your calendar, a weekend for shopping for the perfect find and exploring a sampling of the architectural gems of Ojai,” said Laurel Crary, event chair.
“But that was then, and this is 2020. In a year when we have to rethink our daily conversations, how do we keep the excitement and anticipation alive? How do we reach out for support of the Ojai Music Festival and BRAVO music education without lowering the bar?
“The Ojai Festival Women’s Committee, determined to continue our treasured event, decided to present a virtual tour of three Ojai homes that would never have been part of the normal yearly tour due to logistic or personal conflicts for homeowners. The selections showcase the best of the Ojai Valley. Each home is as unique as its owners and are true Ojai magic, and remember, these homes will not be seen on future tours.”
Casa de Paz: Tiese and Bob Quinn
This historical landmark in Ojai’s charming neighborhood, the Arbolada, designed by acclaimed architect George Washington Smith, is a classic example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style reminiscent of simple Andalusian farmhouses. Commissioned by Edward Drummond Libbey in the early 1920s as “Spec House A,” the house has hosted many fascinating residents, including mafioso Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratiano, the Huyler family of chocolate factory renown and the son of spy novelist John LeCarre.
The American Indian-themed art throughout creates the perfect artistic atmosphere. There are bronzes in several rooms by Allan Houser, Cyrus Edwin Dallin and Charles Russell. On the walls are a watercolor by actor/artist Buck Taylor and oils by Z.S. Liang as well as local favorite and friend of the owners, Sharon Butler.
The upstairs, now the master suite, has been created from the two original upstairs rooms. Looking down from the wrought iron balcony or passing through the trio of French doors below, one feels transported to the Spanish countryside.
The centerpiece courtyard fountain has bright Tunisian tiles imported from Spain 100 years ago. A saltwater pool is lined with tile by local artisans RTK Tiles. A separate weaving studio completes the sanctuary for the owners, who moved to Ojai after instantly falling in love with a picture they saw in a magazine.
Roman Holiday: Fred Fisher and Jennie Prebor
After receiving the prestigious Rome Prize in 2008, architect Fred Fisher and his wife, Jennie Prebor, along with sons Henry and Eugene, spent a transformative year in Rome. Returning to Los Angeles, they found nine acres with an olive grove hidden away at the edge of Ojai with mountain and valley views that inspired them to choose the site despite its derelict condition.
The three-story “box on a hill” covered with rusted corrugated metal is reminiscent of the Tuscan villas on hilltops that left such an impression on them. Unique touches abound in every corner — there are brightly colored rugs and pillows, accenting the bright primary colors, a fire-engine red kitchen island, custom cabinetry by artist Roy McMakin, a yellow Dutch door and purple sofas.
The home has an eclectic collection of works by Ojai artists, including John Nava, Guy Webster and Beatrice Wood. The furnishings were carefully curated for aesthetics and ambiance.
A cozy upstairs nook with fireplace and bookshelf-lined sitting area invites quiet reflection or family interaction. The laser-cut steel stair railing is a work of art in itself.
A star-gazing deck adjoins the bedroom.
La Tranquilidad: Linda Granat
In 1929, Austen Pierpont designed this Spanish Colonial style home on four of the original 60 acres of Country Club Estates to recreate the look of Santa Barbara in Ojai. Original owners Mary and Roger Bard, who christened the place La Tranquilidad, planted many oaks as well as the pomegranate tree in the courtyard.
Mr. Pierpont recreated the traditional Monterrey style of whitewashed walls, with balconies running the full length of the house in front and back. Contrasting the white walls are dark hardwood floors and bannisters, built-in cabinetry and bold original tiles.
The house is currently home to Linda Granat. She and her late husband Frank purchased the home in 1991 when they were looking for a retreat from their life in New York, where they own the legendary Knickerbocker Restaurant.
Around every corner are serendipitous spots inviting moments of peaceful respite or social gatherings — coffee patios, outdoor dining and picnic spots, book-nook window seats, four swings suspended from huge trees — and stone pathways meandering in every direction.
Ms. Granat has brought a bit of French flavor to the Spanish home, including a collection of French posters collected by her husband Frank. The posters once hung in their New York apartment but now line the elegant stairwell of the home.
The Holiday Home tour’s companion event, the Holiday Marketplace, a virtual shopping experience, features more than 30 vendors, ranging from home decor, crafts and jewelry to clothing and holiday gifts.
“The ease of accessing an online tour and marketplace will keep this treasured tradition in front of mind with ardent followers, and we hope to gain new friends to celebrate the joys of the holiday season,” said Ms. Crary.
“As one of the largest financial supporters of the Ojai Music Festival and its BRAVO education program, which offers free music workshops to the Ojai Valley public schools and the community even during the pandemic, the Women’s Committee is proud of the essential role we play in the impact of the festival in our Ojai community.”