Architects to show off outdoor living

A local architecture firm is hosting a free courtyard tour of nine homes in or near La Jolla Village showcasing the “possibilities” of outdoor design from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 2.

Island Architects at 7632 Herschel Ave., which does custom residential work, is sponsoring the event. Firm principals Tony Crisafi and Drexel Patterson said the tour idea sprung from a desire to “do something positive.”

“We were in a meeting talking about what most people were talking about - the poor economy,” Crisafi said. “With all the bad news, we thought, ‘Let’s put something together that would be interesting and fun.’ We thought it might be a way to get people’s minds off the economy.”

“We just happened to have done about a dozen houses right here in this part of town that have outdoor courtyards,” Patterson added. “We realized we had this opportunity to show these courtyards. It also allows us to celebrate 17 years of service here.”

This time, it is simply an exhibition of their work. If Island does it again, they said, they’ll link it with a local charity or worthy cause.

Patterson and Crisafi are La Jolla transplants, from the Virgin Islands and Ohio, respectively. The firm’s name is derived from Patterson’s place of origin.

There will be lots of courtyard variety on the tour. “Some of them are very small,” said Patterson, “and some of them are very large. Many have fireplaces. It does become a whole outdoor living environment.”

A number of factors are considered in designing outdoor spaces such as orientation to the sun and to neighboring development, Crisafi noted.

“With this climate we live in, it’s a wonderful opportunity to expand your living space into the outdoors,” Patterson said.

The tour will be self-guided. Docents will be present in each courtyard to guide and discuss design features and answer any questions.

Those attending the tour must sign up before the event by contacting Island Architects at

  1. They will be e-mailed a map.
There will also be a table outside Island Architects’ office to register guests between 9 and 11 a.m. May 2.

Visit the Secret Gardens

Tickets are still available for the May 9 Secret Garden Tour of Old La Jolla.

The tour will take visitors to seven gardens, where they’ll also be treated to music and art. It is the primary fundraiser for the La Jolla Historical Society.

Tickets for the self-guided tour are $40 for society members and $50 for nonmembers. A Platinum Tour, which includes shuttle transportation, brunch and a tour guide as well as access to an eighth garden at an oceanfront home, are $140 for members, $150 for others.

Call (858) 459-5335 or go to

for information or tickets.