By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
In the midst of a festive weekend in Pacific Palisades, winners of the 2021 July 4th Home Decorating Contest, sponsored by real estate agents Joan Sather and Susan Montgomery, were selected by a judging crew that toured the neighborhood in a golf cart.
In 2020, due to restrictions in place in response to COVID-19, the judges had to visit each home individually in separate cars. Sather and Montgomery shared that they were happy to return to normal this year, with PAPA past President Rob Weber, PAPA President Matthew Rodman and Honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades Eugene Levy joining in the judging.
The committee made their rounds on Saturday, July 3, with Sather and Montgomery both commenting on how much they enjoyed the day.
Out of the 11 finalists, Cindy and Bill Simon, as well as Vicky and Jim Mercer, were awarded a tie for first place.
Sather and Montgomery explained that the Mercers, who have won the contest in years past, have a home that lies along the parade route. They shared that the house “lends itself well” as an entry with a “pretty front.”
Other features included a sign that read: “Hate has no home here.” The decor included what Sather described as a “wonderful stuffed eagle.”
The Simons, also repeat winners, took home the award this year for a set of vignettes crafted to capture more than 30 vignettes of life in Pacific Palisades, with Sather and Montgomery describing Cindy as a “truly gifted craftsperson.”
Sather detailed the vignettes, pointing out that there was a scene to honor the Pacific Palisades Teen Talent Contest, including a little figure singing, the Pacific Palisades Farmers Market and longtime store elysewalker.
Montgomery added that the scenes highlighted a “real variety of things throughout Pacific Palisades.”
Cindy shared with the Palisadian-Post that she got the idea months ago while vacationing in Mexico.
“On the wall above the hotel’s ‘check in counter’ was a large sculpture that was basically little boxes stuck together, and each box had a little figure in it,” she said. “Some figures were sitting down, some were standing, some leaning to the side.”
Cindy said that after returning home, it took several months to complete the project, but that she did not work on it every day.
“I’d pop in my garage for a morning, then another day in the late afternoon,” she said. “I found the process a lot of fun and quite relaxing. Once I started working, it was very hard to stop.”
She added that “there was no rhyme or reason” as to which shops, parks and traditions she included in the series, but it was whatever came into her head when she said the words “Pacific Palisades.”
Third place in the home decorating contest was awarded to Lisa and Tim Marschall, who reside in a home that Tim built. The Marschalls have also entered the contest in previous years.
Sather and Montgomery shared that all three winners in 2021 lived in the Huntington area, which is rare. They had finalists in the Alphabet Streets and one on De Pauw, and they encouraged every neighborhood to enter.
“We love to have a total representation of the Palisades,” Sather said.
When asked if the two would return to sponsor the home decorating contest in 2022, the answer was a resounding yes.
“We appreciate their efforts and seeing their creativity,” Montgomery concluded, “something creative, where they’re thinking outside the box.”
Sather and Montgomery can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. An email address for future contests has been created: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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