About The Tour

The Rose Garden Homes Tour has been celebrating the uniqueness and grandeur of the historic San Jose neighborhood for 22 years. This all-volunteer event is hosted by parents and students of St. Martin of Tours School who have spent countless hours to organize, prepare, and present this wonderful weekend. Proceeds benefit the children of St. Martin of Tours School by providing funding for programs such as Sports, Art, Music and Technology, in addition to the Scholarship Fund.

The Homes of 2017

With both of their children off to college in 2013, the homeowners decided the time was right to find a new home to fit their new lifestyle as empty-nesters. Their previous home in Willow Glen was very traditional, so they were looking for something they could really make their own.

At first sight, this home more closely resembled what the homeowner describes as a "nice Tahoe cabin." With exposed wood ceiling beams, a huge silvery rock wall and a potbelly stove in the living room, the style was not what the homeowners were looking for but the openness and good bones of the home won them over. The homeowners spent two years struggling with different design ideas for the house, meanwhile beginning with a backyard update. On the verge of giving up and putting the house back on the market, they met with architect Marcy Mac Donough who came up with the winning plan. This new plan covered the beamed ceiling in the living room, added a pantry and laundry room off the kitchen, added an additional bedroom and turned an existing bedroom into the music room. They also moved the hallway to create a separate "wing" for the children or guests and to give the master bedroom two walk in closets.

With support from CMF Construction, the homeowners began an aggressive five-month renovation project, while living in the home, to turn it into the bright, open, and functional modern home it is today. The resulting house and yard fits the homeowners’ personalities perfectly – and is a welcoming home for their family and guests. The homeowners reflect, "It is amazing to see what we have accomplished since 2013 and we absolutely love our house, both inside and out."

This elegant residence was originally constructed in 1954 as a single story home. Since purchasing the home, the homeowners have served as their own design team, continually updating the home while partnering with Maggetti Construction. The main focal point as you enter the home is the glass railing adorning the staircase that leads to the second floor. This feature alone took eight months to engineer and construct, primarily due to angle of the stairs and slope of the glass. The ornate chandelier at the top of the stairs adds an element of complexity to the space, perfectly balancing the clean and modern feel of the staircase railing.

Sophisticated comfort is the theme for the master suite, which serves as one of the homeowners' favorite retreats. The oversized mirror and luxurious nightstands from Horchow add an air of relaxed refinement. A hand-crafted tile backsplash speaks to the homeowners' individuality while the heated tile floors create a luxurious and warm environment.

Maintaining the theme of maximizing natural light and openness, the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen was opened up, connecting the two spaces and reducing the dependency on artificial light. The two combined spaces flow effortlessly into the family room, creating a sense of connection to each of these unique areas. The importance of an effortless connection between indoor and outdoor living is evident as you move into the well-appointed backyard, which can be accessed both from the family room as well as the living room. A spacious, rectangular pool by Royal Pool Design and Hardscape, complete with both a Baja shelf and hot tub, is surrounded by a beautiful travertine deck punctuated by lounge chairs and umbrellas for a resort style feel.

The home of Marie and Richard Munley is a stunning Tudor Revival designed in 1919 by the renowned architects Wolfe and Higgins. The Munley's home is featured in the recently published book, Wolfe & Higgins Master Architects of the Spanish Revival, by Krista Van Laan.

The first of a handful of Tudor Revival homes built in the Rose Garden, the Munley's home has many unique features. The staircase in the entry with its angled newel post and rounded stairs, and the front doorway which is set in a beautiful arched entry, are favorite features of Wolfe & Higgins. The home is English in architecture with an interesting roofline. The façade is flat with symmetrical paired front gables.

The Munley's home is designated as a historical home in San Jose, and the Munley's have preserved the classic style of the original design since the home was purchased in 1977. A full remodel of the entire home was completed in 2015, including opening up the kitchen and pantry areas to create a very inviting and expansive living space.

Because of the historical designation, the remodel had to retain the original appearance and classic design of the exterior elevations. New windows and doors retained the original design. The original footprint was kept, including a built-in butler's buzzer on the dining room floor. They worked with a stellar team comprised of architect Lyle Mosher and builder Rose Construction.

The Munley's grandson, Jordan Sandoval, is a St. Martin's graduate of 2014.

Craig and Julie Paulsen moved to Morse Street 18 years ago when they were expecting their first child. In 2014, they were looking for a new home that was a bit larger for their family when this house came onto the market. Thrilled with the thought of staying in their same beloved neighborhood, Julie became a fixture at the open houses. She dragged her husband and friends through several visits to the home before they finally made an offer and it was accepted!

The Paulsen family lived in the home for a couple of years before they embarked on a major remodel. The first order of business was to change the layout of the second floor by removing one of the staircases, modifying the bedrooms and bathrooms, enlarging closets, adding new windows and walls in the sleeping porch, and incorporating an upstairs laundry room. Once the second floor remodel was completed, Craig and Julie started on the downstairs. They added on to the back of the home, creating a family room open to the kitchen, moved the bathroom, and added a mudroom. The family loves being outdoors and entertaining which was incorporated into the architectural design.

This 1918 home first appeared on the Rose Garden Home Tour about ten years ago. The Paulsen's, whose two boys graduated from St. Martin of Tours and now attend Bellarmine, wanted to open this home again in support of their boys' alma mater. Their hope was to create a house where everyone who visits feels welcomed, and at home.

When the Rainey family's backyard is not bustling with Homes Tour activity, it is bustling with sporting activities. Their 13-year-old son takes cuts in the outdoor batting cage, and their 16-year-old daughter practices her soccer skills. The Rainey's have a long history at St. Martin of Tours. Their daughter graduated in 2016, and their son will graduate in the Spring of 2018. Libbie, herself, has been involved in the Homes Tour for several years chairing other people's homes. This is the first time the roles are reversed. "It was our last year and how appropriate to be on the tour, now. It's been a good ending," says Libbie.

They also recently completed an extensive remodel which included the backyard. "There is not a lot a of room inside to entertain. We didn't want to knock down any interior walls, so we decided to push out the family room and create a bigger space to entertain outside."

The outdoor room is an all-season space. There are heat lamps to help stay warm in the winter, a fan to stay cool in the summer, and a 70" flat screen television to enjoy year-round. "The kids are getting older and we wanted a place for them to hang out. The outdoor room can be a kid zone or an adult zone. It can be whatever we want it to be," says Libbie.

And just a month ago, the last coat of paint was applied to the outdoor kitchen which was built by Antuzzi Concrete Designs -- just in time to host this year's Homes Tour Tea House and Boutique!

Revisit the Homes of 2016

At the home of Dana and Michael Black, the rules don’t apply. From the glamorous black and white entrance to the whimsical beach hut out back -- and all the lush and layered surprises in between -- Dana’s uninhibited design aesthetic is a harmonious wonder. “Even when it looks wild,” she said, “there is a sense of symmetry and color balance and theory.”

Dana is an interior decorator at Dana Black Design whose years in the fashion industry from Milan to Tokyo honed her artistic sensibilities. She takes inspiration from design legends Tony Duquette (notice the eclectic Asian accents), Kelly Wearstler (don’t miss the geometric dining room wallpaper) and Dorothy Draper (how about that Florida palm frond fabric on the back settee?) While many use white as a neutral in kitchens, Dana goes black.

She also likes to mix it up. From the Fornasetti wallpaper and the Scalamandre “Le Tigre” throw pillow in the front rooms to the the 1970s vintage night stands and TJ Maxx foo dog lamps, “I don’t discriminate,” she said. “You have to make everything your own.”

She’s not afraid to do the work on her own, either. With a 20-foot extension pole, she painted the stairwell and with her youngest daughter, Ilira, a second-grader at St. Martin’s, she stenciled a bedroom floor. “I’m a maximalist,” she said. “Even though there’s a lot going on, it’s cozy and comforting.”

The home of Rose and Ogden Lilly Jr. is a charming gingerbread style built in the 1940s.   The Lilly’s purchased the home in 1976 in the same year they were married.  The location was perfect: near two of Rose’s siblings, across the street from Ogden’s parents, and within biking distance for Ogden’s daily commute to Boitano, Sargent, & Lilly CPA on the Alameda. The Lillys could not have imagined a better place to settle.

After the birth of their two sons, Ogden “Oggie” in 1979 and Aaron in 1983, the Lillys began to outgrow their home.  But with being so close to family, work, and schools, the Lillys never considered moving.  Instead they transformed the home to suit their needs by adding a second story to create four additional bedrooms and two bathrooms.  In 2015, the kitchen was completely remodeled. An enclosed patio and dining area were combined to create an expansive great room.

The “Ravizza Ranch” sign in the kitchen is a nod to Rose’s family. As multi-generational local cherry farmers, the family still operates a farm in Morgan Hill.  Rose and her five siblings grew up a within a few miles of the Rose Garden neighborhood. Oggie graduated from St. Martins in 1993, Rose’s sister, Cathi, recently retired after decades of serving as school secretary, and her niece, Elisa Nicholson, is currently the second grade teacher.

With a warm and inviting porch, unique green door, and touches of Asian and Victorian influenced design, the Lilly’s home is now a wonderful gathering place for their sons and their wives, extended family, and their soon-to-be grandchildren.

Originally built in 1938, this charming English-style home was a “total disaster” when homeowner Jim Gold bought it in the year 2000. The house had good bones, with a distinctive, steeply pitched roof and unique architectural details, and Gold quickly recognized the potential to restore and expand the house into a comfortable, modern home that would still fit seamlessly into the Rose Garden neighborhood. Gold, a private builder-developer, who has remodeled a number of homes in the Rose Garden and Willow Glen neighborhoods, spent the next two years extensively remodeling the home.

With support from building designer Lynn Miller, Gold nearly doubled the square footage of the home while carefully maintaining its original cottage feel. The remodel preserved the original exterior, including a large bay window, the brick façade and porch, and the original front door with decorative glass. Dormer windows were added to the peaked roof to add upstairs bedrooms without dramatically increasing the height of the roof.  The interior also highlights original architectural details, such as a wood ceiling and recessed shelving in the living room. At the same time, Gold added a large, modern kitchen with decorative tile, paneled cabinetry and a chef’s stove. A new, welcoming family room opens onto an expansive back patio and provides a perfect area for Gold’s frequent entertaining. The overall design is a thoughtful mix of classic English cottage architecture plus all of the modern luxuries that fit today’s lifestyle.

Upon completion of the remodel in 2002, the home was awarded First Place for Restoration or Remodel, the Designer’s Choice Award, and Best of Show by the California Society of the American Institute of Building Design, the professional organization for building designers.

For Liz and Mark Page, opening their house as part of the Rose Garden Homes Tour is becoming a habit. This is the second time they have graciously volunteered to participate in the Rose Garden Homes Tour. Liz and Mark moved into the Rose Garden neighborhood back in 1999. Their most recent home was on the tour in 2010. They are excited to allow guests to peruse their remodeled Cape Cod style 1940’s home.

Liz, a New Englander, avid runner and scout for homes as part of this tour, always has her eyes open for homes during neighborhood runs. She had her eye on this particular area of the Rose Garden, which was barely a block away from her previous home. When the home was about to go on the market, Liz and Mark employed a tried and true recipe to ensure they got the home they wanted. They authored another “tear-stained” letter pronouncing their love for the neighborhood and desire to remodel, yet preserve the style of the home. Obviously the strategy worked.

As the 3rd owners, the Pages wanted to maintain the bones of the charming New England style home while updating it and expanding it for their family of five which includes 2 teenagers and Penny the dog. As part of that strategy, approximately 75% of the house was demolished with great care to preserve the structure and salvage what could be reused, including the redwood siding and bannister.

The remodel involved moving walls downstairs but maintaining most of the original footprint. Most of the changes came upstairs with the reconfiguration of the stairway and the addition of the master suite. They worked with a terrific team consisting of architect Lyle Mosher, builder Rose Construction and had design help from Willow Glen Home and Garden. In the end, they got exactly what they wanted and needed for their family’s changing lifestyle. They are thrilled with the results: an outdoor entertaining area where a glimmering pool beckons family fun, bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms for each member of the family, private space for out-of-town guests and a multi-functional kitchen and great room for where they can make dinner, do homework, play board games and watch TV together. When asked why Liz is pleased with her new home, she says with a beaming smile on her face “it’s home sweet home, and we’re not moving again!”.

Five minutes. That’s all it took for Jim Nielsen, and his late wife Sheila (St. Martin’s class of 1962) to decide to purchase their home on University Avenue in 1999.

“When Sheila saw the house, we had just finished a total remodel of a house in Willow Glen,” says Nielsen. “We had always wanted to come back to the Rose Garden, and when the house came up for sale, with the size of the lot, and potential of both the house and the yard, it took us about five minutes to decide to buy it.”


The Nielsen’s contracted Mark De Mattei of De Mattei Construction to remodel the main home and yard.  The backyard originally featured a functioning pigeon coop for racing pigeons which was designed by local architect Pierre Prodis. The “coop” was constructed of an insulated cement floor, and the walls were lined with nesting boxes. Today, the “coop” is a special entertaining spot fully equipped with a bar, kitchenette, flat-screen TV and comfy furnishings.

The pool is a special spot for Nielsen’s black Labrador Retriever named Gracie. She is a professionally trained duck hunting dog, and when she’s not working, she loves to swim in the pool daily.

The unique ivy swags draped along the yard’s fence line were planted, trained, and tended to by Sheila.

Irving Tamura of Tamura Designs is credited with designing the low-maintenance, yet beautiful and functional gardens throughout the property.