ALAMEDA -- The Alameda Holiday Home Tour will feature five historic homes and an afternoon dessert tea at First Presbyterian Church, as well as a holiday boutique, gourmet shop, silent auction and raffle at the Alameda Elks Lodge on Dec. 14.
The event benefits Alameda Family Services, which supports approximately 2,000 community members each year.
"There are three 19th century Victorians, two of which were designed by Patiani, in the tour," said Winkie Campbell-Notar, a volunteer with Alameda Family Services League. There are also two homes from the early 20th century that can be visited by guests -- one Spanish Revival and one Colonial Revival.
Tickets for the event are $35 to $40 and include admission to the five homes and the afternoon tea. Community members not buying tickets are welcome to come by the Alameda Elks Lodge for the holiday bazaar, gourmet shop and Texas-style raffle.
"We will have two dozen really nice items in the raffle and silent auction," Campbell-Notar said. The items include designer handbags, as well as gift certificates for local restaurants, shops, sports activities, music lessons, fine wine, pet gifts and more.
"Our holiday boutique includes handmade, one-of-a-kind decorations and gifts at affordable prices," she said. The gourmet store will have plenty of delicious edible items made by top cooks and chefs on the Island.
If the weather cooperates, the event should draw about 500 visitors.
"Four of the homes are within walking distance of each other and we have shuttle that goes out regularly from the Elks Lodge to all five homes and the tea," Campbell-Notar said. "The historic homes have been restored beautifully and really brought back to their former glory by the families that live in them now."
It takes 100 volunteers to organize and run the event, which is in its 43rd year.
"The homes in the tour are beautifully decorated for holidays, according to each family's taste," Campbell-Notar said.
The residences also have plenty of family antiques mixed in with modern objects for guests to see. "That's what is really interested about the tour," she said. "They are big historic homes, but yet they have the personality of the families that live there now. The homes are livable, warm and inviting."
One home on the tour is a Victorian Eastlake cottage built in 1884 and designed by Patiani. The latest owners restored its original redwood siding and replaced the steps and porch. They recreated the decorative exterior millwork using the shadows that remained under the stucco, raised the dropped ceilings and replaced lighting with period-appropriate fixtures.
Another home on the tour also designed by Patiani is a Queen Anne Victorian, built in 1894. It which went through a major restoration after a devastating fire in 2003, and the owners' efforts were recognized by the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society. There is a "phoenix rising" fire screen in the second floor office and a sun room made of redwood salvaged from old wine-holding tanks.
A third home included in the tour is a gracious Spanish Revival constructed in 1936. Over the years, its owners have given the structure a new roof, remodeled the kitchen and downstairs bath, refinished the floors and had French doors installed. The home is decorated with family antiques -- furniture, books and porcelain from Asia.
The balanced façade and quiet proportions are notable on the 1925 Colonial Revival that is part of this year's tour and offers visitors the feeling of being in another place and time. The house was built and likely designed by Vernor E. Thorp, an Alameda builder. Additions to the living room and garage took place in 1956. Recently, remodeling work was done in the kitchen, adding space to include a family room with more light and access to the backyard.
The final home of the tour is a small but handsome Victorian. The cottage, built in 1890, was enlarged by the addition of a two-story structure that includes two small bedrooms, a narrow stairway and bathroom. The fireplace and hardwood floors can be seen at the back of the newer addition. More updates took place in the 1980s, when a garage was added in the front, but the home retains its Victorian charm.
Proceeds from the home tour, which topped $25,000 last year, benefit Alameda Family Services. The organization runs two centers on the Island; the West End center opened in 2012. Its work includes school-based health centers, individual and family counseling, a youth shelter, drop-in social services for seniors and others, enrollment in the Affordable Health Care Act, Head Start and other activities.
"The tour is a good way to get out and about in community while supporting it," Campbell-Notar said. "And people open their doors to the community for this special event, which is wonderful."
What: Alameda Holiday Home Tour and Boutique
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 14
Where: Alameda Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Ave.
Cost: $35 to $40 for tour; no charge for admission to boutique
Information: www.alamedaholidayhometour.info or 510-629-6208