Music in the Mountains’ annual Designs for Living Home Tours |

Music in the Mountains’ annual Designs for Living Home Tours

(caption) This stunning Santa Fe-style home is one of the featured homes on

Who can resist the magic of a magnificent home? For the last two years, more than 2,000 people have oohed and aahed their way through the homes they visited on Music in the Mountains’ annual Designs for Living Home Tours.

But what does it take for a home to be selected — and what’s special about this year’s event?

“It’s all about curiosity, variety, and inspiration,” Home Tour Chairperson Celia Edwards said. “Seeing how the other half lives is a desire we all share — and this event gives everyone a close-up view.

“The homes we select are prestigious, and exude unique character and style. Sometimes I get suggestions and recommendations, and following up is straightforward. However, my committee members and I have been known to drive past a home, and been so smitten, we simply asked the owners if they would be interested.”

Since this is Edwards’ third year in her role as chairperson, she’s become even more creative and resourceful.

“I’ve had to be,” she laughed. “Asking homeowners if it’s OK to have around 500 people a day visit their home can be daunting — even with the assurance that their home will be left in pristine condition.

“However, I am amazed how generous our Nevada County homeowners can be. Being invited to have your home featured on the tour is a huge compliment, so I think they are flattered and, generally, very willing to open their doors to the public and support Music in the Mountains.”

This year the tour includes six hand-picked homes in Nevada City. One is a family home with both Swedish and Chinese influences; another, an impeccable Victorian. There’s an absolutely breathtaking Santa Fe-style home with three teepees used as guest rooms, and an unusual Cape Cod-style home. A contemporary, copper masterpiece, plus a home designed by David Wright complete the A-list.

“Selecting a home isn’t only about its prestige and style,” Edwards said. “There are so many practical aspects to consider. Parking is a primary one. There has to be room to accommodate around 75 cars at a time.

“Safety and accessibility are other key issues. Lots of thought goes on behind the scenes to make the event enjoyable for everyone.”

What’s new for 2012?

“This year will be different,” Edwards said. “Since we’ve limited the number of homes to six, and they are all in the Nevada City area, visitors can take their time and really savor the magnificence of each one.”

Visitors are also welcome to savor a sit-down lunch at home No. 4, where Emily’s Cakes and Catering will offer a choice of three delicious sandwiches, salads and fruit. Wine, provided by Besemer Cellars, will be available, as well. The additional charge for lunch is $10, with $5 for wine and beer.

Included in the ticket price is coffee from Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters and dessert.

“Owner Sandy Frizzell is creating an exclusive coffee blend for the tour,” Edwards added. “While she wants to keep it a secret, she’s promised it will consist of four beans for a mellow, smooth, deep-flavored result.”

Special appreciation goes to Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters and Besemer Cellars as well as other sponsors, Foothill Flowers, The Union, B&C Hardware, Rare Earth and Sierra Timberline, Edwards said.

What’s new and who’s who? Part of what’s new is who’s new this year.

“Cristine Kelly is our new executive director, and she’s put lots of fresh flair into making the Home Tour even more successful,” Edwards said. “Her many years in Nevada County, combined with her strong marketing expertise, make her a vital force in MIM’s future.

“Add our 400 volunteers to the mix, and there’s a lot of dedication and determination to make this tour the best ever in our two-decade history.”

The Designs for Living Home Tour will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6 and 7.

Visit for a sneak preview of this year’s tour homes.

Courtney Ferguson has written home-and-lifestyle articles for many years, both in Nevada County and in England. Contact her at

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