Bill and Carol Murin stand in their recently remodeled kitchen. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan
The historic Haggarty mansion, Neighborhood Church, will be open for tours this holiday season
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said Bill Murin. “It doesn’t get any better than having the whole family together.”
Santas, angels, teddy bears and soldiers have always been part of Carol and Bill Murin’s Christmas decorations while their children were growing up. But this year, with two young grandchildren, trains and rocking horses will join the holiday fold.
“Christmas is a real family time for us,” Carol said. “The two girls got married and the angels and teddy bears got taken off the trees. Now we’re passing on the tradition.”
Carol and Bill, long-time Palos Verdes Estates residents, will be opening their home and sharing their Christmas spirit with the public this year for the 56th annual Yule Parlor Parade. This year the tour will include the Murins’ La Costa Place home, Dr. Richard and Maureen Shrader’s Rocky Point Road residence as well as a tour of the historic Haggarty Mansion, now the Neighborhood Church, followed by the annual tea at the church. Proceeds from the fundraising event, organized by the Women’s Fellowship, will go to local charities.
“It’s impressive that any event can go for 56 years,” said Yule Parlor Parade Chair Jan Fisher. “We’re very proud.”
The Murins’ tradition of giving ornaments happened by chance, and their children, Chris, Kelly, Courtney and Kurt have been adding to their collections every year since.
“We would look for their ornaments even while we were on trips,” said Carol. “One year in Hawaii we got a Santa made of tapa [cloth].”
A few of Carol’s friends gained inspiration from the Murins and started giving ornaments to their own families. Carol likes that other families in the area have adopted her idea and added to their Christmas trees.
This year her two grandchildren, two year-old Paige and one year-old Charlie, will have their own tree to hang their own ornaments on. The room the Murin daughters shared growing up was recently converted into a playroom and Carol has been collecting “kid” ornaments made of wood and felt for her grandchildren to hang on a small Christmas tree there. The family’s large traditional tree will be set up, as usual, in the formal living room.
Her 12 boxes of Christmas decorations will be opened early this year for the two day open-house Christmas kick-off, and with the event and the grandchildren, Christmas will take on a whole different meaning for the family. Their light, beach-themed home will be accented with bows, garlands, wreaths and many of Carol’s Christmas collections of snowmen to illustrate the season that California forgot, winter.
“It will be magical because this year they will both understand it a little more,” said Bill, who enjoys experiencing the magic of Christmas through the eyes of his grandchildren. “Christmas is always special, but when your kids are all adults it gets quiet; it’s not quiet anymore.”
Carol also has her own collection of Halcyon Days Christmas Boxes that her mother, Nancy Jacobsmeyer, has given her every year for over 25 years that will be on display for the event.
Remodeled Cape Cod
The Murin family, who have been attending the event for years, decided to open their New England Cape Cod style home for the parade after their kitchen, family room and dining room were redesigned by Suzy Moore from Fowler & Moore Interior Design Services and remodeled by Chris Rice and architect Russ Barto. Their newly designed home features a beautiful kitchen with abalone tiles and white marble countertops. The dining room, which was expanded in the remodel, has a dining table that can easily seat 12 but can be added onto for holiday events and family gatherings.
“Part of the remodel was to make the dining room big enough to get everybody around the table,” said Carol, who was recently able to fit 23 family members in the room.
It took them a year to plan and six months to remodel, but for Bill and Carol, expanding the house to fit the entire family was an important project because their family all lives close by and enjoys being together for both everyday baby-sitting needs and holiday get-togethers.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said Bill. “It doesn’t get any better than having the whole family together.”
Overlooking the ocean
Dr. Richard and Maureen Shrader’s Channel Island-view home will also be featured during the event. The Rocky Point Road home, perched on the cliffs above the ocean, was built to preserve an Aleppo pine tree in the front yard park. The house, which is settled back from the street, is surrounded by lush plantings and the inside sparkles from the crystal chandeliers in the living and dining rooms. Maureen, a needlepoint artist and collector, has examples of her work and her collection displayed throughout the home, along with an eclectic collection of both antique dolls and contemporary American Girl Dolls.
The entrance to the Haggarty Mansion in 1928.
Italian-villa style mansion
The historic Haggarty Mansion featured in this year’s event was one of the first and most elaborate custom homes of its time. Constructed by renowned architect Armand Monaco, landscape designers of New York’s Central Park, the Olmsted Brothers and artists Disi and Orselli, it was envisioned in 1927 as a unique Italian villa-style family oasis on seven lots of the Malaga Cove bluff, with unobstructed Santa Monica Bay views. It features soaring coffered ceilings, hand-painted and gilded murals, carved stone capitals and sconces and magnificent hand-wrought iron gates.
After falling into disrepair, in the 1950s it was purchased for $60,000 by the first non-denominational church of the Peninsula, and eventually became the Neighborhood Church.
“Part of our commitment to having this very special property is that we have preserved a great deal of it,” said Jan Fisher. “It really is quite remarkable.”
A Renaissance triptych along with stained-glass windows and original hand-painted Raphael-esque ceiling frescoes were added to the sanctuary along with a world-class Glatter-Gotz Organ that is used for Sunday services and during annual organ concerts.
Sponsored by the Women’s Fellowship at the church, tickets will be $30 until tour day and $35 during the event on Dec. 7 and 8. They can be obtained in person by visiting the church between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. The church is located at 415 Paseo del Mar, Palos Verdes Estates. For more information or to buy tickets call 310 378-9353 or visit yuleparlorparade.org or neighborhoodchurchpve.org. A map to the tour homes will be included on all tickets. PEN
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