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Looky-loos welcome

Tourgoers can explore decorated Balboa Island homes in annual holiday event, now in its 13th year.

December 11, 2009|By Brianna Bailey

The jolly, bearded face of Santa Claus peaks out of every bookshelf and china cabinet at the Balboa Island home of Art and Lindsey Lombardi.

Images of the fat man in red adorn every square inch of the Christmas tree, and grin at guests from mugs and china thoughtfully laid out on the kitchen bar.

“I had a few little Santas, and they just exploded into total Santa,” said Lindsey Lombardi, who decorated her home from top to bottom this year in Santa Claus memorabilia for Christmas.

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The Lombardi residence is one of eight lavish homes on the Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour this year. In its 13th year, the tour has become an annual tradition on the island. The event gives participants a chance to peek inside some of the most elaborately decorated homes on the island. Proceeds from the home tour will benefit the Balboa Island Improvement Assn.

“Decorators and designers, and just regular people, come to get ideas for decorating and look at how the homes are set up and laid out,” said Gail Vasterling, publicity chairwoman for this year’s event.

The Lombardis built their 3-year-old Tuscan-inspired house from the ground up on the site of a home they had owned on the island since the 1990s.

The sepia exterior of the home is adorned in stone, stucco and brick. An Italian-inspired fountain in a small courtyard greets visitors at the front door.

The three-level, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home on Emerald Avenue features panoramic views of Newport Harbor.

Art Lombardi stood back and let his wife take the lead on Christmas decorating this year.

“I’m just the cleaner-upper and helper; she did it all,” he said.

Lindsey Lombardi had participated in the home tour in years past as a docent, leading looky-loos through homes that were part of the event. She finally relented this year to pressure from her friends to put her own home on the tour.

A row of red and green stockings with the names of the Lombardi’s children embroidered on them hang by the fire place. One of the couple’s four grandchildren recently protested that her stocking was missing from the display.

“I had to tell her that her I wasn’t putting it out until after the Holiday Home Tour, because it didn’t match my color scheme,” Lindsey Lombardi said.

For more photos, click here

If You Go

What: The 13th Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour

Where: Eight homes on Balboa Island

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

How to get tickets:

Tickets, which are $20, are available at:

Even Sisters, 207 Marine Ave.

Island Home, 313 Marine Ave.

The Gift Box, 208 Marine Ave.

The Persimmon Tree, 229 Marine Ave.

Martha’s Bookstore, 308 Marine Ave.

For more information about the walking tour, call (949) 675-3288 or (949) 673-5867


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