Winners Crowned in Annual Home Decorating Contest

The winning home on Haverford Avenue
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

For the ninth year, Joan Sather rode a golf cart with a group of judges on July 3 and picked the best decorated homes in Pacific Palisades.

This year, she was joined in sponsoring the contest by Susan Montgomery, another agent with Sotheby’s International Realty. The two bring a combined 45-plus years of real estate experience.

“At every house, the personality of the owner comes out in the decorating,” Sather told the Palisadian-Post after the contest wrapped, “which I find really wonderful.”

Sather explained that some people opt to focus on small vignettes and details, and other people like going big.

“One house had an enormous flag on the hedge,” Sather said. “It was a big effort to put it up, but they felt it was important to do.”

This year’s winners were 755 Haverford Ave. and 663 Radcliffe Ave. in the Via Mesa neighborhood, and The Huntington’s 856 Toyopa Drive.

Over 30 homes participated in the contest, with homes from all neighborhoods.

Sather’s team
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

“We try to make it as easy as possible,” Sather said. The contest is “open to any home in the Palisades.”

Each year, three winners are named, as well as three honorable mentions. The first place winner is invited to return the next year to judge the contest.

Honorary Co-Mayors Billy Crystal and Janice Goldfinger made the rounds to visit and judge the 15 homes that were selected as finalists, as well as a couple of members of the Palisades Americanism Parade Association, known as PAPA.

“Judges every year have their own personality,” Sather explained. “This year, they seemed to like the small vignette stuff. Other years, they go for the big dramatics.”

Popular items were hydrangeas and flower boxes in upstairs windows.

While there’s no overall theme to the contest, homeowners can create their own theme when they are decorating.

Sather recalled one year when the Iraqi War was underway. The winner of the home decorating contest that year had placed boxes in front of the garage that were similar to boxes that the community was sending to soldiers overseas. There was also a set of fatigues that were filled to resemble a soldier.

Sather said that when that home won, it was unanimous.

Third-place home
Photo courtesy of Joan Sather

Each year the winners receive prizes from various businesses throughout the Palisades.

“The overall winner gets a U.S. flag that was flown over Washington, D.C.,” Sather added.

Sather is already looking forward to the contest next year—which will be streamlined, as all of the Palisades’ Fourth of July activities are in the process of being condensed into one conducive website:

“Next year, everyone will be able to sign up for the race or sign up for the contest on the same website,” she explained.

And Sather hopes to encourage residents to try their hand at home decorating.

“We love seeing everyone’s decorations—large and small,” she said. “Those who decorate really have fun times together doing it.”