Alameda Holiday Home Tour spotlights five residences

ALAMEDA — Some of the city’s most scenic homes will be open to the public Dec. 9 as part of Alameda Family Services League’s annual holiday fundraiser.

The nonprofit organization’s 47th annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour will feature five residences ranging from a historic Queen Anne Victorian built in 1891 to a freshly remodeled mid-century modern-style home constructed in 1962. A holiday tea at First Presbyterian Church, 2001 Santa Clara Ave., is included in the ticket price, and a boutique, gourmet shop and raffle will be held at the Elks Club, 2255 Santa Clara Ave.

Proceeds from the tour will benefit Alameda Family Services, a nonprofit serving low-income residents and others in need. The organization provides social services such as health care, individual and family counseling and Head Start programs, said spokesperson Winkie Campbell-Notar.

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This year’s tour features two homes owned by visual artists.

Garr Crookston, a semi-retired audiologist, and Nancy Seamons Crookston, a professional artist, volunteered to open the doors of the row house they purchased in 2011.

“(Alameda Family Services) is a great organization that really serves the community,” said Garr Crookston about the couple’s decision to participate.

Being a part of the tour also gives the Crookstons a chance to meet their neighbors.

“We’d like to get to know Alameda better,” Garr Crookston said.

The Crookstons moved to the Bay Area a decade ago after stints in Iowa, Idaho and Utah. They were living in an artist’s loft in Oakland when they started looking for a home in Berkeley or Alameda, near restaurants and downtown.

Nancy said she was drawn to the potential she saw in the three-story Alameda home, which was built in 1906.

“When I looked at it, I could tell that everybody thought it was scary,” she recalled with a laugh. “If I tore down the walls, it could be a lot of fun.”

After buying the home, the couple decided to remodel from the ground up. The house was lifted and outfitted with a new foundation. The kitchen was overhauled and the attic was refashioned into a master bedroom.

Desiring a place to work at home, the Crookstons installed a pair of artist’s studios where they could continue to pursue their individual creative endeavors. Garr paints and works on ceramic sculptures in a studio on the home’s ground floor, which was originally designed as the basement.

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Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

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