2017 Home Tour

These photos will give you an idea of what to expect on the 2017 Tour. If you want to enlarge a photo, click on it.

The location of this year's Tour is the historic district in Martinez known as Portuguese Flats. The theme of the Tour is "Fun, Funky and Small". The houses are of the type that young couples are purchasing, renovating and upgrading. There are several examples of such do-overs on this year's Tour.

Please mark your calendar for the tour this year. As usual, it will take place on the 2nd Saturday in October. The date will be October 14th, 2017.


Here is a classic Spanish Revival house built in 1937. This style of architectiure was popular during the 1915 to 1940 period, particularly in California. This house has a sensitively upgraded kitchen that still has a vintage feel. The back yard is gorgeous and set up for entertaining with an outdoor bar. The overall structure is sizeable now because the owners have added an apartment to the rear of the house. Owners: Kasara and Jesse Mena.

During the Historic Home Tour in Martinez, visitors are greeted at the door by helpful docents.

During the Home Tours, you will be greeted at the door of each house by a volunteer docent. There will be more docents inside the houses to answer questions about the home, its history or its features.

A Craftsman home in Martinez, California.

This is a classic 1912 Craftsman home with the eaves and rafter tails which are characteristic of this architectural style -- which was popular from 1900 to 1930. Inside, the home has a warm, cozy feel and is filled with antique furniture passed down through the family. The house is also the setting for a real-life love story. Today's owners of the home met each other at a party in this house 42 years ago when they were single. They then fell in love, married and, years later, bought the house where they met. And this is that house. Owners: Brook and Suzanne Isola

Antique automobiles are part of the Historic Home Tours in Martinez.

During the home tours, you will encounter antique or classic automobiles parked in front of the homes. Several car clubs in the area, and several car owners in Martinez, loan their beautiful vehicles to the Home Tour for the day. Paul Kraintz, himself an antique car owner, organizes the cars for the Home Tour.

This 1937 house has been tastefully upgraded and the decor in this home is quite unique. It reflects its youthful owners' love of the Goth subculture. Works of art by the wife hang on the walls of the house. The husband is a musician who has been signed to a major music label, and he has a music room to house his guitars. The couple have done a great job of landscsaping the back yard which is now quite lovely. They planted giant timber bamboo to provide privacy. Owners: Clayton and Stephanie Bartholomew.

This is a Zen garden. Otherwise known as a Japanese rock garden. This homeowner's house overlooks the flat top of her garage. So ... in a burst of creativity, she devised the idea of improving the view from her home by placing this lovely rock garden on top of the garage below. The garage itself is a work in progress -- with the owner in the process of converting it into a "she-cave". Owner: Marcia Bakejian.

On a block shaded by mature street trees is this 1921 Craftsman home. The public areas are Craftsman whereas the kitchen and the bathroom have been updated. With a clever 6' addition to the back, the owners also added closet space, a bathroom and a laundry room to the house. The wife's needlepoint can be seen throughout the home and in the back yard, the profusion of bird feeders and watering spots are indicators that the homeowners are avid bird watchers. Owners: Lita Gloor-Little and David LIttle.

During the home tours, you are entertained by local musicians at several of the houses. This is guitarist Scotty O'Neill who performed on the Tour in both 2015 and 2016.

This is a Craftsman home built in 1920. It is unique in that it is owned by an older woman who has elected to retain most of the home's beautiful Craftsman features. In the living room, dining room and hallway, the house still has its original hardwood floors and its wooden Craftsman-style built-ins -- which have never been painted white. The kitchen appears to have its original 1920s cabinetry. This includes its orgininal California Cooler, a built-in ventilated cupboard which is rarely seen today because refrigerators perform the same function more efficiently. Owner: Anna Beauchemin.

Bus transportation is provided during the Tour, though you also have the option of driving your own car. And once you reach Portuguese Flats, you may decide to walk from house to house. We can't promise that the Tour Guide will be a City Council member or candidate, but that was the case last year. That is Council member Noralea Gipner pictured above.

This 1925 Crafstman home is an "alumni house" because it was also on the 2012 Home Tour. The house is locally famous because of its eye-catching garden which is abloom with flowers year-round. On the inside, you'll be delighted by the well-preserved Craftsman interior and the homeowner's interior decorating skills -- including her ability to integrate new finds (including many acquired since the previous Tour of five years ago) into her existing decor. Owner: Sabine Pitts.

This is the lush entrance to the home above. The owner is a horse woman ... and states that her success with flowers is due to the liberal application of horse manure to the soil in her garden. When you tour the home, don't miss the Secret Garden that is located off one of the rooms in the back of the house.

Although you always meet interesting people on the Tour, sometimes its nice to go with friends, i.e. people you already know. These red hat ladies arranged to do one of the past Home Tours together.

At the end of Arch Street, a short but delightful roadway lined with Craftsman bungalows, is the Martinez Early Childhood Center. It is housed in the former Latter Day Saints Chapel which was constructed by Mormon volunteers in Martinez during 1939 and 1940. The building lends itself well to the building's present-day use as a non-profit educational center for children aged 1 to 5. The grounds are designed with pathways which enable the youngsters to walk through -- and enjoy -- both a butterfly garden and an herb garden.

A fun addition to the homes, former church and museums on the Home Tour is this retro travel trailer. Built in 1963, this Silver Streak Sabre is now 54 years old. It is the owners' home-away-from home when they go traveling on weekends, often in the company of their Vintage Trailer Camper Group. During the Home Tour, the trailer will be open and on display at the intersection of Alhambra Avenue and Haven Streets. Owners: Carol and Robert Schultz.

The Shell Clubhouse is the starting point of the Tour. There are rest rooms inside and there is plenty of parking outside. Complementary water or coffee will be available. The Clubhouse was built in 1937. It has a great Arts & Crafts interior of natural wood. Location: 1635 Pacheco Boulevard in Martinez.

Inside the Clubhouse you will find booths and displays set up for the day. For example, our local genealogical society will be there to help you -- if you are missing some of your ancestors and would like to find them.

The Shell Oil Museum is behind the Shell Clubhouse parking lot. It depicts the history of oil refining in Martinez -- beginning with the construction of the Refinery in 1915. The Museum is staffed with docents who are retired Shell employees. They will open this Museum for the Home Tour visitors.

The Martinez Museum will also be open during the Tour. Last year in October, the Martinez Historical Society was just putting the Museum back in order after a year-long closure to place a proper foundation under the building. It was open for a "hard hat" visit by tourgoers. This year, it will be open again, but with all the exhibits out on the floor, complete and able to be fully viewed and appreciated. Including a brand new exhibit featuring Martinez artists.

Did you know that the Local History Library in Martinez is housed in the back of the Martinez Museum? Among the Library holdings are the albums containing the photos of all the homes on the previous 10 home tours. The many photos in the albums include the home exteriors, interiors and garden. They are a great resource for someone planning a remodel of their own home. Check out the Museum's Facebook page.

And did you want to pick up discounted tickets for the Home? If you visit the Martinez Historical Society booth at the Sunday Farmers Market on Main Street, you can purchase tickets for $20.00 instead of $25.00 (or $30.00 on the day of the event).



The cost of the Tour was underwritten by our community-minded sponsors; please support them when possible. These are the PLATINUM sponsors:

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Cole Real Estate

These are the GOLD sponsors:

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Community Focus


And these are our SILVER sponsors:

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Shell Western States Federal Credit Union
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Republic Services
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Les Schwab Tire of Martinez
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Bisio / Dunivan
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EcoMulch
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And these are our Bronze sponsors:

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Schroder Insurance Services
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IBEW Local No. 302
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Edward Jones, John L. Jones Advisor
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The above pictures are provided by photographer Carter Wilson. Contact John Curtis by email if you have corrections or additional information for the captions underneath the above photos.