The Coast News Group

Annual historical home tour nears

RANCHO SANTA FE — It’s that time of year again. The RSF Historical Society is fine-tuning its Annual Home Tour. And it’s a must for those who appreciate the preservation of Lillian Rice architecture.

This year, guests have the opportunity to take part in touring the rarely seen “Row Houses” designed by Lilian Rice in the 1920s.

The July 12 event is expected to draw 250 visitors.

“This year we are presenting the Row Houses which are on Paseo Delicias and were built around the same time and around the same year,” said Dana Evanson, the docent and administrator of the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society.

Evanson pointed out that four on the tour were designed by Rice and built in 1926; and, each one was created specifically for the owner.

A historical story is behind each of these homes. And during the tour, a docent will be present at each site and tour goers will have a brochure to help lead the way.

“Each house is joined and all have different setbacks and styles and colors when they were built to look as though it was a Spanish village which evolved over a period of time.

At first glance, it’s deceiving, because the Row Houses do not look attached.

The fifth Row House on the tour, Evanson said, is the Millar House. Built in 1928, it’s believed to have been designed by Rice but there’s no official documentation stating this. According to Evanson, at this time, Rice was on the art jury, so she would have had a say in the project.

“It reflects the same style and same wonderful approach to the architecture so we are going to do some more research on it,” Evanson said. She continued, “At this point we can’t find plans, but the owners believe it is a Lillian Rice Row House.”

The Millar family has owned this property since it was constructed.

Including the Millar House, others include The Spurr-Clotfelter Row House which is on the National Register, the Nelson Row House, The Megrew House which is on the National Register, and the Moore House.

For each Row House, there is also the concept of indoor and outdoor living which is part of the square footage. Since each home was small in size, the outdoor patio was an extension of the living quarters.

What Evanson likes most about the Row Houses is the lack of ornamentation and the beauty of the design. “Nothing is superfluous,” she said.

This year, a few Village restaurants and establishments are also taking part in the RSF Historical Society Home Tour.

During lunchtime, tour goers have the opportunity to dine at either The Inn At Rancho Santa Fe and receive a complimentary chef selection sorbet with a lunch entrée. The other dining choice, The Rancho Santa Fe Bistro, is offering complimentary iced tea with any lunch on tour day.

And through July 14, a Café Positano certificate is serving up a handpicked list of complimentary beverages.

Having these tour partners, Evanson said, really gives visitors the opportunity to spend the day at the Ranch and enjoy the beauty around them.

For more information about the RSF Historical Society Annual Home Tour July 12 between 1 to 4 p.m., with an early check-in option for 11 am, please call (858) 756-9291 or visit