Venice tours showcase unique homes, gardens


Venice Home and Garden Tour has become famous, drawing in locals and people from around the world to get a look behind the walls at modern masterpieces and lush gardens bursting with color.

"I've gotten ticket sales from Chile to France, all over. I've got a couple of families who plan their trips to California around this tour," said Barbara Baumann, event producer for Venice Home and Garden Tour.

Tom Carson, a homeowner and architect, is one person who opens up his home for the tour.

"That's what makes Venice very unique is that it's got this interesting mix of garden and architecture, and I think that's why it's so successful," said Cason.

Carson turned a 1963 house into a modern marvel. The walkways outside were recycled from the old driveway and the floors are from a bowling alley. The lounge area, formerly a garage, is nestled in a garden of succulence.

"There's a lot of artistic freedom in Venice, not only architecture but in just acceptance for people trying things. There's a lot of experimentation. It's been going on here for years," said Carson.

The tour started in a garden 20 years ago when a landscape architect took a few friends on a walking tour of the neighborhood to raise money for a local children's center. Now, 32 homeowners host thousands of people and raise more than $250,000 every year.

"I never expected it to be quite so successful or such a moneymaker or to be such a great community event," said Jay Griffith, one of the founders of Venice Home and Garden Tour.

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