Some homeowners in Moraga Country Club are rolling out their welcome mats and inviting the public in for a chance to ooh and aah over their to-die-for kitchen remodels to benefit the Moraga Education Foundation.
Some homeowners in Moraga Country Club are rolling out their welcome mats and inviting the public in for a chance to ooh and aah over their to-die-for kitchen remodels.
The fourth annual Moraga Country Club Home and Kitchen Tour is serving up something for everyone. The ‘simply curious’ will salivate over the decadent designs, and future remodelers will no doubt find their own architectural inspiration in these homes. But perhaps best of all, everyone benefits from the generous donation that’s headed straight for the Moraga Education Foundation’s coffers.
Cooking Up the Concept
Veteran Lamorinda real estate maven Sue Olsen came up with the home tour’s recipe for success a few years ago, and it’s been a hit ever since.
“I was sitting in an open house one day and people were asking about paint colors and other design types of things and I realized that a lot of people were neighbors who were coming in to get decorating ideas,” recalled Olsen, a broker with Village Associates, and creator and founder of the MCC Home Tour. “So I thought, oh, we could make them pay for this!”
Sure enough, plenty of people were willing to pay for the privilege of touring some of MCC’s most decadent homes. And, it was anything but a stretch for Olsen to find the perfect homes for each year’s tour – between her daily dealings with buyers and sellers, plus her connections in the community, the real estate was essentially at her fingertips.
“It’s community fun,” she continued. “People who are thinking about remodeling have gotten some great ideas from it. It opens their eyes to some really interesting kitchens and possibilities.”
The Kitchen Niche
Because Olsen has the perfect pulse on the local real estate market, she knows where the fabulous homes are. And, more often than not, a fabulous home is all-around spectacular – boasting so much more than a beautiful kitchen.
So, why make the tour all about the kitchen?
“That’s the heart of the house,” she summed it up.
“The other thing about why we do kitchens,” Olsen offered a little insight, “the homeowners don’t have to clean closets, clean the rest of the house, we rope off areas of the house that the homeowner doesn’t want to use.”
Ultimately, it’s up to the homeowner to decide what the public will see.
“Some people show their whole house anyway,” she said. “Which is why we call it a home tour, but we focus on the kitchens.”
“These are special kitchens,” added Olsen, who explained there was plenty of design diversity on the tour – a combination of attached and detached homes, and one home with a particularly remarkable view.
The tour offers plenty of remodeling eye candy, but it’s an informative event, too.
“We ask the homeowners for information about contractors they would recommend or like, they let us know who did their kitchen and whether they liked them,” said Olsen. “We offer an opportunity for the kitchen designer, the cabinet maker, the contractor, the architect, if in fact they want to be there, they’re there to talk about the project.”
Making Money for MEF
Initially, the fundraising event benefitted the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. By keeping costs in check and relying on generous donations from the community, the MCC Home Tour was able to make significant contributions to Komen the past three years.
This year, though, the proceeds will stay a little closer to home.
“I just decided that we needed to help MEF (Moraga Education Foundation) and change our focus a bit. We earned quite a bit of money for Susan G. Komen over the years,” she reasoned. “This year, I thought MEF should have that money.”
“All of the proceeds will go to MEF,” she stressed.
It’s that commitment to the community that Olsen hopes will convince the on-the-fence folks to come out for the Moraga Country Club Home and Kitchen Tour on September 28 at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are just $20 and available for pre-order online or at the event.
Wine and appetizers will be served during the tour, and raffle tickets will also be available for purchase; prizes include gift baskets, rounds of golf on the MCC greens, and gift certificates to local restaurants. The raffle begins at a post-tour reception at the Moraga Barn at 7:00 p.m.
Wish you could update YOUR outdated kitchen?! Describe your dream kitchen in the comments section below!