RANCHO SANTA FE — The heart of the Village in Ranch Santa Fe brimmed with visitors anxious to tour the famous and rarely seen Lilian Rice “Row Houses.” Designed in the 1920s, these attached homes, which are assembled, to look like a Spanish Village were the talk of the July 12 tour day.
More than 200 guests took part in the afternoon event.
Visitors first arrived to the reception area at the historic La Flecha House for check-in. To top off a picture perfect day, bottles of water were on hand as well as a small gift bag of goodies from Short & Fishman, including chocolates.
From there, about a five-minute walk took guests to the “Row Houses.”
A total of 20 docents were on hand at each Row House as well as volunteers.
The first stop was at the Millar House. Although believed to be designed by Lillian Rice, there is no official documentation, but the stylish flow is in sync with the others. At the Millar House was docent Jane Carlin greeting guests.
“Everyone is so interested in the old flooring, beams and the history of this house,” Carlin said.
Next was the Spurr-Clotfelter Row House which is on the National Register. One of the docent’s there was Karen Clotfelter. “My husband grew up in this house back in 1932,” Clotfelter said. She also pointed out how visitors were commenting on the lovely adobe and being able to have a glimpse in how the home was originally designed.
A few steps away sat the Nelson Row House with Jan Clark and Sandy Yayanos serving as docents. Clark greeted guests and explained which portions of the house were original and constructed at a later date. Tour goers appreciated the blend of both constructions and commented how striking the décor was throughout the Nelson Row House.
“Everyone seems so thrilled to have this opportunity to see these homes,” Clark said. “And I am having a great time.”
In the living room quarters where Yayanos stood, she added, “It’s a wonderful homey feeling and beautifully done.”
At the Megrew Row House, which is on the National Register, visitors had the chance to meet and speak with docent and author of, “The History of Rancho Santa Fe,” Vonn Marie May. Enclosed in the wall of a small porch, May pointed out an original fire hose. In the event of a fire, May said, the residents had to be self-sufficient because the closest fire service help was in Oceanside.
The last of the Lillian Rice gems, The Moore House, also referred to Casa Blanca, was the last to see. “Everyone loves it and they are saying how the homes are larger than they thought,” said Patty Burruss, docent at Casa Blanca.
In the courtyard area, cookies and beverages were available for guests so they could take pause at the water features and beauty around them.
On the tour, people loved not only the historical architecture, but how Rice was able to implement outdoor courtyards as additional living spaces.
“I really didn’t know what to expect when I came on this tour, but I have to say that it was an unexpected pleasure,” said a guest from a nearby town. “There is such unique beauty in each one of these homes and I am in awe in how well these homes have been so well-preserved. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.”