Venice Garden & Home Tour Returns This Saturday

Photo by Eric Staudenmaier

Photo by Eric Staudenmaier

From the Santa Monica Mirror, posted Apr. 30, 2014 by Tina Lynch:

The Venice Garden & Home Tour is back once again this Saturday, May 3 and is set to feature 30 charming gardens and homes. Originally conceived by locals Jay Griffith, Jan Brilliot, Linda Lucks, and produced by Barbara Baumann, the event is a grass roots effort to help the Neighborhood Youth Association.

The tour has grown to have a life of its own.

It all started when Venice resident and co-founder Jay Griffith led an impromptu tour around Venice 21 years ago. He raised $1200 that day for NYA. Co-founder Linda Lucks has lived in Venice for more than 40 years and is currently the president of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

In 1973, Del Martinez (NYA Director at the time) reached out to Lucks to ask for help to save the center. Lucks was instrumental in helping to move the building and rehabilitate the property.

Brilliot said the prestige of being on the tour had drawn more residents to want to be involved.

“For the most part, people always want to know how soon they can be on it again!” Brilliot said. “They loved the experience, getting to know their neighbors, sharing their creativity and helping the children.”

This year’s event will feature a newly completed project by longtime locals James and Melanie Murez.

An active member of the community, Murez runs the Venice Farmers Market and has been offering support from the beginning.

Having acquired the property in 1999, Murez took on the ambitious task of rebuilding. Although he had the full support of his neighbors, he still had a three-year struggle with the city, as well as many more years to complete this enormous endeavor.

Happy with the outcome, a portion of his expansive new home now doubles as an event venue.

Murez is delighted to have achieved a fully functioning “green” home complete with a solar powered roof which heats his second-story lap pool and is then reversed through an exchanger, which then heats his wood floors. For more information, visit

Also on the tour is a remodel of a 1920s bungalow into a California Modern, an updated Craftsman and beach cottages.

Tour goers will catch a glimpse of a custom made art deco designed yacht and an unchanged 1905 “Sears Kit House,” and more.

The Neighborhood Youth Association provides after-school programs for low-income children and youth, giving them individualized academic support and comprehensive life skills development during the critical years of their lives.

The Venice Garden & Home Tour takes place on Saturday, May 3 starting at the Neighborhood Youth Association, 1016 Pleasant View Avenue (between California and

Broadway) in Venice from 10 am to 5 pm. There is street parking and shuttle service. Biking is encouraged. Tax-deductible, non-refundable rain-or-shine tickets are $60 advance, $70 the day of the event.

Children under 12 years of age are admitted free.

The tour will take place east of Abbot Kinney Boulevard and the beach Walk Street neighborhood adjacent to the Venice Boardwalk.

For tickets and information, call 310.821.1857, email, or visit