Forty years of Sophisticated Snooping: Manhattan Beach home tour opens interesting doors
A year ago, Debbie Walmer was pretty sure she’d just helped organize the best home tour in the 39 year history of “Sophisticated Snoop.” The tour was so varied and featured such consistently fascinating homes that it seemed like an apex of a sort for the cherished event, in which local homeowners open their doors for a weekend that serves both to satisfy local architectural curiosity and raise money for American Martyrs school.
Now she’s done it again. Walmer, who has her finger on the pulse of local architectural and home design trends as much as anyone in the Beach Cities, has again five homes of such varying style and inventiveness that she can’t help but say so again: this tour is best yet.
“Last year, I thought it could never be duplicated,” Walmer said. “I actually thought about not doing it again – why not go out with a bang? And then this year came along and it’s going to be just extraordinary. After 40 years, I’ve finally gotten this down.”
This year’s homes include a newly constructed Craftsman style residence whose owners diligently studied the style and then added their own unique, handsome touches, including furniture handed down by the family’s great grandmother from Greece; a 1920s style Spanish Colonial Revival home containing a splendor of idiosyncratic detail, such as 150-year old French colonial doors imported from Africa and a “Juliet” balcony; a Spanish style beachside home with a grand entrance behind a grass-lined driveway that opens up to offer a modern twist on beach chic living; a newly-constructed Hampton’s style home whose homeowner personally designed an array of details, including distinctive cabinetry, French oak floors and tongue-and-groove coffered ceilings.
The fifth home is an eco-friendly Strand home that contains a world of marvels, including odd-width floors that are reportedly recycled from very long ago – from Napoleon’s stables. The home, designed by architect Grant Kirkpatrick, is an all-wood masterpiece and features an astonishing Great Room nestled between a tropical courtyard and a mosaic pool.
“It is through the generosity of these five homeowners, sharing their homes with us, that make our fundraiser possible,” Walmer said.
And so, four decades in, Walmer has no longer has any plans to quit the Sophisticated Snoop.
“It keeps me out of the bars,” she said. “And off the streets.”
Sophisticated Snoop 2013
May 17,18, and 19
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Presented by American Martyrs Parent Association
Donation $35/presale $30
For more details, or tickets by mail, call 424-212-7800.
Photos by Liz Chalmers
Text by Rebecca Foster
The Shields Home
This notable home with its white siding was inspired by the Craftsman homes of Pasadena. However, once inside, the house takes on a true Hamptons feel from its Farrow & Ball painted entry and the pastel rugs in the living room and dining room, to the white wood-paneled stairwell. The homeowners both rowed crew in college, and on display in both the family room and library are oars won at crew races. The family room walls are painted a beautiful color of blue picked to match the oars. The homeowner’s love of blue and English heritage is truly reflected in the custom AGA range prominently featured on one wall of the kitchen. This over¬sized, 4,500 square foot, sand section lot boasts both a beautiful deck with hand-poured tiles as well as a large area of green grass for both kids and adults to enjoy. Upstairs, you will find three beautiful bedrooms as well as a beautifully wallpapered craft room. The guest room has closet doors and furniture handed down from a great grandmother from Greece. Each of the 5.5 bathrooms is truly unique in its tile choice and layout. This Craftsman style classic beach house is a true work of love as the homeowners have not overlooked a single detail.
The Petroni Home
This wonderful home welcomes you with its grass-lined driveway and stone arched door into an open courtyard complete with a peaceful fountain and wonderful seating area. The beautiful loft above the two-car garage is just the beginning of what wonderful details abound in every nook of this modern interpretation of a Spanish style home. It was completed in 2010, with the entire home heated with radiant floor heat. This modern amenity is not only cost efficient, but it allows higher ceilings and open walls since no ducts need to be hidden. The concrete floors make living at the beach a breeze, and the skimcoat of plaster on all the walls add to the charm of this new home that was built to feel old. All three bedrooms are upstairs along with two full baths and an amazing laundry room. The subdued color palette and cozy furniture further add to the beach feel of the downstairs Great Room that opens to a beautiful BBQ area and outdoor fireplace. This creatively designed home truly maximizes its proximity to the beach with its modern twist on beach chic living.
The Johnson Home
This newly built Hamptons-inspired home is truly East Coast meets West Coast. Situated on a rare flat lot, this unique property lends itself to a grand entrance. The custom fretwork gate and sparkling long driveway made of shells and sea glass lead up to the beautiful facade, which features aqua shingles, white brick, and windows accented by black shutters. From the welcome mat made out of shells, the unique shape of the front door, the kitchen library ladder, to the distinctive built cabinetry through¬out, the homeowner personally designed every detail to be one of a kind. European oak floors imported from France paired with the tongue and groove and coffered ceilings, give the home a sophisticated coastal feel. The kitchen, dining area and family room form a wonderful great room which opens onto an expansive brick patio complete with a custom built fireplace and globe lights, perfect for beach lifestyle entertaining. Upstairs, the Master Suite is serene in shades of aqua, while the nautical themed bathroom and boys rooms are classic and timeless. This gem of a home is decked out from top to bottom in the best of designer décor. It is definitely not to be missed!
The Shoemaker Home
The owners of this remarkable home, Casa Zapatero, are both local historians. Their love of history and collections from around the world creates an Old World feel in this custom-built, 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival, completed in 2010. The exterior white plaster walls, red-tile roof, and blue windows are a nod to Spain yet perfect for giving the homeowners a low-maintenance home where they can truly express their eclectic style. The entry French Colonial doors are 150 years old – imported from Africa. The stairwell has a unique “Juliette” balcony as well as a custom wrought iron railing that wraps around each stair thread. Upstairs, the Master Bedroom boasts a fabulous view of the Hollywood sign and beyond, while the bathroom is reminiscent of Old Hollywood’s glamour. At the other end of the hallway is the family room with an amazing surfboard ceiling. Throughout the home, there are old-style thick plaster walls, hand glazed tile, custom built bookcases, and vibrant paint colors. This Spanish Colonial may be new, but upon exiting, you will feel like you have taken a trip around the world.
The goal of this unique home was to create the ultimate Californian beach house using architectural elements from the Caribbean, the American East Coast and the Far East. The bungalow-style home is an all-wood structure, and the thoughtful details transport you back in time. The louvered teak shutters are reminiscent of Bahamian beaches, the antique limestone patios are from France, and the wide-plank, odd-width floors are rumored to be from Napoleon’s stables. Despite exuding Old World charm, this home is truly a modern marvel of “Green” construction design, incorporating solar energy and geothermal climate control. Once inside the Great Room, you’ll be surprised to discover a tropical courtyard on one side and a large green lawn with a glass tile mosaic pool at the other end. The downstairs party room, complete with a full-size bar, a billiards room and children’s space is sure to amaze. Outside on the patio, seasonal plantings and mature trees give you a sense of privacy and an indoor/outdoor connection without blocking the ocean breeze and beautiful views. Don’t miss the underwater grotto that serves as a bathroom retreat for guests after a fun day at the beach.