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Bird Rock homes to be open for tour for the second time

By Debbie Hatch

Special to La Jolla Light

For the second year, a tour of Bird Rock Homes will be presented by the Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) with the sponsorship of Tim Golba of Golba Architecture. The tour, to be offered on Saturday, Jan. 26, will benefit the Bird Rock Elementary School Park Gate Project. It features six unique homes with varying styles and distinctive gardens.

The locations remain secret until 11 a.m. when the tour begins.

“We chose homes people talk about, admire and are intriguing,” said Michelle Fulks, co-chair of the tour with Julie Cockrell. After much thought, the two sought homes people were curious about and show pride in home ownership.

“Three homes on the tour are complete remodels,” Fulks said, noting, from beach bungalows to rustic Italian architecture, something on the tour befits all tastes.

“I think the quality of the homes and the quality of how people have redone their homes is amazing,” Fulks said. The size range varies with one home featuring six bedrooms.

“I went on the first home tour and enjoyed looking at all of the homes,” said Ali Dommers, a four-year resident of Bird Rock whose home is on the tour. She, her husband and two children live in a California cottage which they’ve enjoyed updating.

“My husband does all of the gardening,” Dommers said. “My daughter picks out flowers she likes.” The family maintains a colorful array of flowers around their informal, comfortable dwelling.

Tickets are available now for advance purchase at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, 5627 La Jolla Blvd., and La Jolla Mailbox Rentals, 5666 La Jolla Blvd. Be sure to bring your tickets back to these locations the day of the tour for a program. Tickets are also available the day of the event at these locations. Each ticket is $25 or $20 for BRCC members and, the tour runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“It is a self-guided tour,” Fulks said of the approximately 12-block, round-trip walk. Participants can go at their own pace, receiving shoe covers at each location. All six homes are completely open for touring, save for garages, bathrooms and home offices.

Benefiting from the home tour will be the Bird Rock Elementary School Park Gate Project. Donated funds for that project will build a new gate to be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The gate will be an entry to Bird Rock Park where Waverly dead ends into a current chain-link fence fronted by rocks and grass. The project, which includes beautification, has been in the works for more than four years, should be in place before the 2008-2009 school year.

“We want to get started as soon as we can, but coordinate with the school,” said Joe La Cava, the BRCC member heading up the project. The park, maintained by the city, sits on Bird Rock Elementary grounds. The park is open nights and weekends to the public as the school uses the grounds for physical education classes during the day.

The initial home tour in 2006 raised more than $14,000 toward the current estimated $45,000 goal. With the sponsorship of Golba Architecture and an anonymous family’s significant donation, La Cava thinks construction could begin as early as the school’s spring break if the home tour brings in enough funds. Council President Scott Peters gave a portion of Community Development Block Grant funding in 2007 to support the project, according to one of his representatives.

La Cava, a 24-year resident of Bird Rock, credits David Neagley, a local architect, for originally drawing up the plans and getting the project going. Bird Rock Elementary Principal Bev Candage and the San Diego Unified School District both signed off on the project, but the Department of the State Architect still needs to approve it. “We want families to be able to use the park for activities,” said Candage, who supports the plans for a new gate.

“Years ago schools were always completely open,” La Cava said. “The park is supposed to be for Bird Rock, and we can’t access it.”

As the elementary school has taken on new safety measures, access to Bird Rock park has been lessened. The main entrance to the park is on the south side.

“Our whole community would use the park,” Fulks said of gate construction. “People will pop over and won’t have to walk seven to 10 minutes around to get in.”

For more information on the Tour of Bird Rock Homes, visit www.birdrock.org or call (858) 775-8500.