The Rose Garden Homes Tour has been celebrating the uniqueness and grandeur of the historic San Jose neighborhood for 21 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.
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.
The residence of Christina and Michael Brandeberry is officially known as “The Croft House” and listed as a San Jose Historical Landmark. The home was commissioned in 1911 by prominent San Jose citizens Edwin and Nina Croft in collaboration with famed architect Charles McKenzie, formerly of Wolfe and McKenzie whose work “defined the residential character of San Jose during its transition from the Victorian to the modern era,” as described by George Espinola in his book titled, Flats & Bungalows, 102 Designs from Wolfe & McKenzie. The Crofts resided here for nearly 40 years until their deaths. For many years after that, the home housed The King Secretarial School.
One hundred years later, Christina and Michael Brandeberry were living nearby on Hester Avenue when they came upon the home for sale in 2011. The original wooden gutters were sagging, the stucco was chipping, and an overgrown hedge along the entire perimeter of the property was blocking the sidewalk. The Brandeberry’s are firm believers in curb appeal, and so the remodeling process started on the outside, and worked its way in. The hedge was ripped out and replaced with a retaining wall and white picket fence. The cut of each fence picket mimics the finish details of the interior casings - right down to the diamond shapes on the fence posts. “That was my husband’s touch,” says Christina.
On the inside, the Brandeberry’s goal was to honor the original intent of each room while making modern updates for an active family of four. The front rooms still feature the original quarter-sawn oak floors, but have been refinished with a modern patina. A former first floor master bedroom and bath is now a family room with French doors that open to the back deck and backyard. The back porch which previously housed the laundry and a toilet room is now open to the kitchen. And the kitchen, although fitted with every modern convenience, looks as if it is right at home.
“Instantaneous love” are the words Steve and Cathy Prouty use to describe the first time they laid eyes on this home built in the 1940’s. The year was 2007, and the home had been on the market for nine months when the couple first happened upon it. Together they toured the home, and in spite of the outdated interior design including original wall-to-wall carpeting, wallpaper, and paint, they were able to envision a home they could make their own, with a little TLC and the expertise of an interior designer. It’s worth noting, however, that even the designer questioned the couple’s love for the home with all that needed to be done. But in the end, nothing would deter them from making this house their forever home.
It was of utmost importance to the couple to retain the original look and feel of the home during the remodel. Over the next five months, the home was stripped to the studs to reveal a lovely traditional Colonial style home. Carpets were removed to unveil beautiful and original hardwood floors, walls were removed, and rooms were rearranged. The result is a modern-day version of a 70-year-old home, and a dream come true.
The home is calm, familiar, well organized and steeped in tradition. The classic Colonial floor plan features a central front door that opens to a welcoming center hall design with living room on one side and dining room on the other. The kitchen is to the back of the home. A mix of classic furniture and new accessories can be found throughout. The color schemes are calm and toned down, and most paintings were created by Cathy’s sister, and inspired by their grandfather’s home in Italy. A walk through this beautiful home exudes the feel of tradition and elegance along with a tie to history, bringing the traditions of the past into play in a modern lifestyle.
It was the day before Thanksgiving in 2013 when this California native had an opportunity to buy a house. With ten hours to decide, family members and a designer friend converged together to assess the pros and cons. The house had good bones, but the interior needed a complete overhaul. Undeterred, the offer was made and accepted. On January 1st, 2014, the keys were in hand and the adventure began.
This classic California ranch-style house has undergone a complete renovation. Walls were removed, doorways were shifted, and the hallway was reworked. This made space for a new hallway half bath and interior access to the garage. Each room transitions to the next by using paint colors in similar tones. And the concept of indoor/outdoor living was realized by installing extra doors in the living room, dining room and master bedroom.
The front yard landscaping is the newest completed project. The homeowner worked with a local landscape designer who specializes in native and drought tolerant plants. River rock flows across the center of the main landscaping bed which is planted with California natives, when, once established, are durable and healthy without requiring constant watering. Besides using less water, native plants have the benefit of attracting butterflies and birds, along with reducing the use of pesticides and other chemicals. The low-maintenance water-wise garden proves that it’s possible to reduce outdoor watering without sacrificing beauty.
As a young boy, Norman Kline would ride his bike through the streets of the Rose Garden delivering newspapers to the residents and dreaming of one day owning his own home in this picturesque neighborhood. Norman stayed local through the years and attended San Jose High School and Santa Clara University, where he met his wife, Allison. You might say practice makes perfect, as together they built a Tudor-style home in Carmel followed by a French Chateau-inspired home in Saratoga, and finally in 2007 Norman’s life-long dream was fulfilled when they built a Mediterranean-inspired home on the same path as his newspaper route in the Rose Garden.
The European design of the home is carried through to the backyard creating a wonderful outdoor living experience. The beautifully crafted portico is enhanced with earth tone columns made of stone, a favorite space for the couple to enjoy morning coffee with their two furry friends, Lady and Rose, or dine along with their two sons by the tranquil fireplace. The pool, an oasis crafted with the same beautiful earth tone stone, is enjoyed daily throughout the summer.
Simply elegant by design, the vast backyard has a perimeter lined with beautiful rose bushes, shrubs and graced with doves. And for a couple that enjoys entertaining year round, a copious grass area that accommodates large parties only helps to make the home a most perfect dream come true.