Home Makeover

Eagle Ridge resident Ann La Croix’s kitchen will be featured in

Home improvement shows have been a television staple for nearly
30 years. First on deck was Bob Vila who pioneered the genre with
the 1979 premier of

This Old House,

a 13-part series on step-by-step home renovation.
By Julie Engelhardt Special to South Valley Newspapers

Home improvement shows have been a television staple for nearly 30 years. First on deck was Bob Vila who pioneered the genre with the 1979 premier of “This Old House,” a 13-part series on step-by-step home renovation. Over the years, Vila and his disciples have shown viewers how to do everything from installing a new toilet to transforming a grungy garage into a spectacular master bedroom suite. It would be great if a national TV program came to our door to update our humble abode, but many of us aren’t that fortunate. It’s generally up to the homeowner to do his own upgrades and home repairs.

If you want a fresh look for your house, and Ty Pennington with his “Extreme Makeover” crew is nowhere in sight, then head to the South Valley Home and Garden Show at Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy. The goal of the show is to present a variety of products and services that are difficult for homeowners to locate on their own.

Scores of booths will be located throughout the lush park, starting at the main gate, covering both sides of the bridge, and extending into the Pavilion. Homeowners can talk directly with experts about home theater systems, kitchen and cabinet remodeling, faux painting, landscaping, custom gates, designer front doors, window treatments, culinary items, pottery, custom concrete, interior decorating, furniture and outdoor kitchens. Visitors will also find traditional services such as heating and air conditioning, roofing, water treatment systems and house painting.

The idea for this show came about when local event promoter, Susan Bassi, discovered that many businesses participating in the San Jose home shows weren’t very enthusiastic about serving people in these parts. On the flip side, local businesses were attempting to serve San Jose residents, yet preferred to find customers in their own backyard. After much research and planning, the show made its debut at Bonfante Gardens in the spring of 2000. When the Park opened to the public, the show moved to Gavilan College, but quickly outgrew this new venue. As the South Valley community expanded, the show became such a popular resource for local residents that a fall show was added in 2002. The show eventually returned to its permanent home at Bonfante Gardens, giving guests a chance to experience the displays and enjoy the park’s new rides and attractions. According to Bassi, both the spring and fall shows attract a combined total of 40,000 people annually.

Travis and Juli Smith, owners of GardenSmiths (originally know as Our Pond Shop) in San Martin have been exhibitors at the show from the beginning. They started their business seven years ago, building water features and selling pond supplies through a retail pet store they used to operate. The Smiths expanded their business and now offer complete landscaping services. They are looking forward to this year’s show. “Bonfante is a great venue,” Juli said. “It’s relaxing and very inspirational for those home owners who are looking for landscaping ideas.”

Another couple participating in the show is Charles and Lydia Irwin, owners of Edens Handy Hands, general contractors located in Gilroy. They’ve been in business for three-and-a-half years, and they admit that the show has helped them spread the word about the services they provide. “We’ve been doing the Home and Garden Show for about two-and-a-half years. Participating in this kind of event has been beneficial to our business because it gives us a chance to connect with our community socially,” Lydia said.

Other vendors at the show include Debbie Costanzo of Pacific Patio and Garden, displaying high quality outdoor furniture made of teak, aluminum and all-weather wicker, as well as Jacuzzi hot tubs; Deb Webb from ASCO heating and air conditioning; and Dorothy McNett, food and wine ambassador from Ridgemark Golf and County Club in Hollister. McNett will be offering presentations on wine and food preparation.

“There will be great ideas for casual home entertaining for the busy person on the run,” says McNett. “I will also use some fall flowers and herbs to decorate the platters. It should be fun.”

Once you’ve had a chance to meet the designers, architects and landscapers, it’s time to see some of their creations. On Sunday, Oct. 9, the Great Kitchens and Landscapes of Eagle Ridge Home Tour in Gilroy will take place, giving visitors a glimpse of a variety of ways homeowners have decorated and redesigned their living space into something quite elegant, yet functional.

One of the homes on the tour belongs to Eagle Ridge resident Ann La Croix. Her kitchen uses gold stone and distressed cabinetry, giving it a Pacific Rim influence. La Croix will also allow guests into her master suite so they can see how she continued the design throughout her home.

The front and back yards on the tour are also works of art. One homeowner has filled his yard with cork oaks, bristle brush pine, plus a number of edible plants, including pomegranate, pineapple and guava trees. Another home showcases a yard filled with verandas, wall murals, a swimming pool with a waterfall, a vineyard, an herb walk and a spiritual garden.

Admission to the Home and Garden show is included in the general ticket price to Bonfante Gardens, or log on to print a half-price admission ticket, good for up to six people. Tickets for the Great Kitchens and Landscapes tour are $50, which includes a brunch at the Eagle Ridge Clubhouse, plus admission into the Home and Garden Show at Bonfante Gardens, which is good for either day. Brunch is served from 9 to 11am, and the tour takes place between 10am and 3pm. A portion of the ticket sales goes directly to the Gilroy Assistance League.

For more information about the park, the shows, or to print half-price tickets for Bonfante Gardens, visit www.svshows.com. Show producer Susan Bassi can be contacted at (408) 682-4700.

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