If lah-dee-dah, mega-square-foot, marble-floored, professionally decorated McMansion home tours are the only kinds that turn your head – then Sunday’s 2nd Annual Cottage Tour is not for you.
However, if you’re drawn to more modestly-sized abodes, ones furnished, built and decorated with creativity, ingenuity, playfulness and elbow grease, Sunday’s 2nd Annual Cottage Tour is right up your alley.
I know because I attended the Cottage Tour’s sneak preview. I left enthralled, inspired and absolutely smitten. (I also had a burning desire to paint something bright purple.)
Credit Monica Templeton, of Monica’s Vintage Inspired on Athens Avenue. She led the crusade for this great event. (If you like her store, you’ll love the tour.)
Sunday’s Cottage Tour will showcase four “cottage” homes. It will also feature the floral arrangements by Sera Bella, owned by Sarah Bos, a young floral artist who got into the business eight years ago after she did the flowers for her own wedding. Sarah’s style leans heavier on the flowers, lighter on the greenery.
Oh, and one of the very most fun aspects of the day will happen in Palo Cedro. Art. Music. Food. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
But first, about the homes. They’re such a richly diverse mix. Not a cookie-cutter house in the bunch, yet all fall comfortably within the “cottage” title. Why? Well, perhaps the Cottage Tour’s brochure best defines the ties that bind the four homes together on this tour:
“What is Cottage Style? Unlike grand decorating styles, cottage style is personal and forgiving. This is a style about pulling together what you love. It is a style about reconciling your eclectic tastes. Bottom line, it is a style which illuminates the way your home feels; the way it embraces you and your family, the way it improves the quality of your life.”
Now matter what each home’s official style, some recurring themes arose: Garage sales, thrift shops and the thrill of a bargain hunt.
Greg Reimann, for example, once swapped an old carousel horse for a neighbor’s vintage door bell. If you’re quiet, Reimann will demonstrate the old bell’s elongated resonance, a rarity, he says, in new bells.
Reimann’s circa-1925 house, in the heart of Redding, is a sweet little Queen Anne beauty that Reimann returned to its period elegance, including some incredible authentic vintage lights and Persian rugs. Then he did the totally unexpected and turned the former canning cellar into what must be the world’s smallest wine-tasting room, complete with speakers, wine racks and wine coolers.
Meanwhile, in east Redding, Lindi and David Jenkins’ home is visual testimony to the perfection of their partnership. She fills notebooks with her “scratched” stick drawings of her wildest decorating dreams. David, her builder husband, works magic with 1800’s vintage columns, corbels, cast-iron fireplaces and window frames the couple have collected from all over California. The result is a style that Lindi describes as not too “matchy match” but so artful and creative that a few national decorating magazines have expressed interest in writing and photographing the Jenkins’ house.
Barbara and Dan Sturgill’s story about their two-story Palo Cedro log home began in 1979 when they bought the land. Their story continued over the years as they lived in a tiny Enterprise house with their three young daughters while the couple completed the house after work and on weekends. Their girls are grown and gone now. And the house is finished, lovingly filled with vintage art and furniture they’ve added throughout their marriage. Outside is two decades’ worth of Dan’s hand-stacked rock walls, rock steps and rock planters. Many of the stones were from the nearby creek, washed onto their property after a fierce storm.
Near downtown Redding, Bev and Matt Clark’s home is so authentic to its 1950 construction birthday that it could easily pass as a museum from that time period. Every table, every chair, every dish, every light fixture, every picture is a nod to that 1950-era vintage, right down to the booth in the kitchen and the Eames chair in the office. OK, the TV is from the 2000s, but that’s about it. By the way, Bev said some of her best finds have been from the Salvation Army.
“This is everybody’s grandmother’s stuff,” Bev said.
Maybe. But in the Clarks’ precisely decorated home, that “grandmother’s stuff” blends with other equally carefully chosen items to produce a look that’s so retro it’s almost futuristic.
One ticket pays for admission to all four homes. The Clark and Reimann homes are in the downtown Redding vicinity. The Jenkins home is in north-east Redding. The Sturgill home is in Palo Cedro.
Also in Palo Cedro, is artist Maggie Andersen’s “Art Farm.” It joins the Cottage Tour’s festivities. Maggie’s studio is located off Highway 44 in Palo Cedro: South on Silverbridge Road to 22416 Spanish Oaks Drive.
There, in conjunction with the Cottage Tour, Andersen and her husband Ed will host Artisan’s Faire in the Country. The Artisans’ Faire will feature about 20 artists, as well as live music throughout the day, food and refreshments. (The Artisans’ Faire is free, which is why I’m giving directions.)
The Cottage Tour lasts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Artisans’ Faire lasts from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. the same day.
This 2nd Annual Cottage Tour benefits Habitat for Humanity, Shasta Cascade.
According to Monica Templeton, one of the Cottage Tour’s main organizers, Habitat was an ideal fund-raiser match for the home tour.
“Habitat is an organization which provides inspiration, hope and comfort for so many who may have resigned to never becoming actual homeowners,” Monica said.
“The tour will not only inspire, but also raise awareness for Habitat’s work, along with the people who love their ‘nests.’ ”
Tickets cost $20 each and will include directions and tours to all four homes. Tickets are limited and may purchased at Monica’s Vintage Inspired at 2425 Athens Ave. in Redding and the Antique Cottage on Cascade Blvd. in Shasta Lake.
For more information call Monica’s Vintage Inspired at 241-5851, or Antique Cottage and Gardens at 275-4451.