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December 2011 Newhall - Valencia

An interior designer specializing in kitchen and bath design, Pam Di Valerio believes homeowners want to return to easy, less stressful lifestyles – a trend reflected with cleaner lines and simpler designs.


Letter from the Publishers/Editor 14

150 Years of Marriage 20

Interior Design 22

The Art of Carrie Dawn 26

Art Associations 28

Santa Clarita Film Festival 30

Travel to Ojai 42

Holiday Happenings

A Magical, Mystical Tour through Ojai W

By Mimi Slawoff

hile browsing through Ojai’s art galleries and shops filled with local artisan’s works, I had to wonder if Ojai has somehow tapped into

the fountain of youth. Or, at the very least, it seems to embody a spiritual essence that enhances the lives of its residents – and visitors - in many ways.

If you take the time to engage locals in conversation, you begin to hear a recurring theme. Many moved here from big cities, yet connected immediately with Ojai’s small town charm. There’s a mystical presence, they say, that fuels creativity and soothes the soul. They point out that Ojai has an east-west facing mountain range, making it one of few towns on the planet to have a “pink moment” as the sun is setting. The fading sunlight creates a shade of pink on the Topatopa Mountains.

With such natural beauty, it’s no wonder that Ojai represented Shangri-La in the 1939 film, “Lost Horizon.” It’s almost surprising that Ojai has remained a small town, with a population of about 8,150.

Located 15 miles inland from Ventura (and about an hour’s drive from Santa Clarita), Ojai is an easy day

trip. But do yourself a favor and spend a night or two to soak up Ojai’s unique culture.

Home to an eclectic mix of artists, farmers and small business owners, you won’t see cookie cutter establishments here. Not even a Starbucks! Instead, you’ll find locally-owned restaurants, markets and boutique inns. Local farmers provide home grown goods to restaurants and markets, and local art frames the town.

Intimate inns are sprinkled throughout town. For our three-day visit, a small group of friends and I stayed at the Emerald Inn (, almost hidden at the end of a quiet residential street. Inside my spacious room under a canopy of trees, I felt like I had stepped into a fairytale. Double doors opened to a private patio and a tiled mosaic emerald iguana fountain trickled nearby. Each room and cottage is outfitted with local art and furniture gleaned from around the world. A complimentary continental breakfast is served poolside, where more art adorns the garden.

“We are seeing an interest in recycled and reclaimed material such as glass, fabrics and woods. Clients are concerned about repurposing what they have and where their old materials will end up,” said Di Valerio of Stevenson Ranch, a board member and past president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association and past executive board member of the Interior Design Society.

“Another trend that was born out of necessity is designing so that clients can live out their years in their home. We call it ‘aging in place.’ The average home can be modified to fit the changing needs of a homeowner whether it’s due to age, health or physical limitations.”

Her business, Di Valerio Interiors - Kitchen & Bath Design, is unique because “I am independent. I am not associated with any company. I have nothing to sell except my expertise and

knowledge of kitchen and bathroom design.”

She also designs home offices, laundry rooms,

entertainment centers, wet

bars, wine cellars and outdoor kitchens – anywhere that there is cabinetry. “When a client hires me, I work with them to develop a master plan of their dream kitchen or space. The client then owns my designs and drawings which they can use to put their project out to bid. It’s so much easier for a homeowner to compare pricing when the bids that they are getting are based off of one plan...their dream kitchen. I also work with the clients of local contractors, cabinet makers and interior designers here in Santa Clarita Valley.”

Great storage solution for a corner

Since launching her business in 2001, Di Valerio has worked with more than 300 clients. “I have worked on projects as simple as choosing fabrics for window treatments to designing cabinetry throughout new homes under construction. My projects

20 Santa Clarita Living Magazine December 2011 Newhall - Valencia

have also included doctors’ offices and other commercial spaces.”

Locally, Di Valerio finished the layout and design of four bathrooms in a Sand Canyon home and a kitchen in Sierra Hills. “I recently designed the cabinetry for a new home under construction in Wildwood Canyon. Out of the area, I have a kitchen being completed in Studio City and a home under renovation in Santa Barbara.”

As far as the future in design is concerned, “I think we’ll continue to see sustainability interests grow. Technology is and will continue to play a large part in how my clients function in their homes. We no longer have the need to store VHSs or DVDs and bulky computer towers in entertainment centers, but need to accommodate space for a TV to work in tandem with computers. Computers are becoming smaller and more mobile, which is allowing clients to work from home easier and start home-based businesses. A home definitely must

By Alicia Doyle Art by Association

Making visual art visible. This is what inspires the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association. SCAA is a long- standing arts organization in Santa Clarita (established in 1989), whose mission is to “promote art in the Santa Clarita Valley by making visu- al art visible.” Their efforts include community outreach to provide free arts education and access to the public, including monthly demon- strations, ongoing art exhibits, and a scholarship program for art students, and special arts events.

One of the organization’s most recent community outreach programs com- bined the talents of the SCAA and The ARTree in the creation of a mural for the garden shed at the Santa Clarita Community Gardens, located in Central Park on Bouquet Canyon Road. SCAA cooperates with other arts organizations and agencies in the SCV, like the City of Santa Clarita Arts Commission, 661Arts, The ARTree, and associa- tions and guilds focused on spe- cific art forms (photography, quilt- ing, etc.). Alma Juarez of ARTree designed the logo and led the effort with SCAA member Laurie Finkelstein. With the help of a crew of talented volunteers (including Cheri Marcovitch, Patty O’Hearn, Sue Prout, Lorlinda Osborne, Idelle and Erin Tyzbir, Emma Barnett, and Nicole Meyer “and her entou- rage from Starbucks”), the shed was

transformed from a bland, beige structure to a dynamic and beautiful work of art.

It’s obvious that Community Gardens participants appreciate what it’s added to their space. “It’s beautiful, really amazing,” says Keith Robison of Castaic. “They had a tiny picture and from that they hand-sketched it [the mural art] on the shed and it just came to life.”

Claire Self, a founding member of the Community Gardens, and Cindy Allen, who just began working her plot in January of this year, echoed Keith’s reaction. Self, who is the volunteer coordinator who manages garden space, pointed out that the cooperative effort fits well with the SC Community Gardens’ philoso- phy of mutuality. “We’re a commu- nity here. Everyone helps and sup- ports everyone else.” This is also the spirit of Santa Clarita Artists’ Association.

SCAA was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit by local artists who want- ed to “share their expertise, knowl- edge, and enthusiasm for art.” SCAA members—from beginners and ama- teur artists, to established profession- als—seek to support, encourage, and enrich fellow artists’ skills, opportu- nities, and career development. One of the key ways they accomplish this is by awarding an annual scholar- ship to an aspiring high school or art student.

The organization’s signature event, The Annual Art Classic, helps sup- port the scholarship program, and also serves other purposes. Laurie Morgan, 2011 Art Classic co-chair- person (with Shirley Checkos and

26 Santa Clarita Living Magazine December 2011 Newhall - Valencia 26 Santa Clarita Living Magazine December 2011 Newhall - Valencia By De Jenkins

Patricia Thayer) explained that the event is a fundraiser, but it is also “a time for our members to show their best work, which is judged by profes- sionals. Plus, it’s a part of our com- munity outreach program, providing a ‘free day of art’ for local residents to see and enjoy our artwork.”

An early holiday gift Fundraising is a challenge for most non-profit organizations in Santa Clarita these days. Funding stood in the way of SCAA maintaining a gallery in Newhall. They’ve com- pensated by seeking other ongoing exhibit spaces, but it’s not the same as having a visible gallery. Morgan pointed out that the Newhall space was nice, but was not in a good foot-traffic location. Following our interview, SCAA announced that they had received “an early holi- day gift” from Westfield Valencia Town Center. SCAA President, Zony Gordon, let the public know about a new gallery space at 125 Town Center Drive (next to The Pottery

Barn). SCAA Co-Chairs

Sandy Fisher and Diane Bruckner were named to coordinate the gal- lery, a space where SCAA and other well-known artists can exhibit and/ or demonstrate their art techniques. The public is invited to a free grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony, art show and reception scheduled for December 12 from 4:00-8:00 pm. At that event, the “Spirit of the Arts” award will be presented to Westfield Valencia Town Center in recognition of its support of the visual arts.

A tiled mosaic emerald iguana fountain is among many artistic touches at the tranquil Emerald Iguana Inn. The inn’s location at the end of a residential street makes it an ideal hideaway.

The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts houses the famed potter’s works as well as those of other acclaimed and emerging artists.

30 Santa Clarita Living Magazine December 2011 Newhall - Valencia continued on page 32


Breakfast with Santa Claus The City of Santa Clarita invites residents of all ages

December 10

to the second annual Breakfast with Santa event held at the Santa Clarita Activities Center. Over a large buffet breakfast, attendees will engage in a story time session and a festive sing-a-long led by Santa Claus from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. After breakfast, attendees will have an opportunity to visit with Santa and take part in holiday crafts such as cookie and stocking decorating and face painting. Participants are encouraged to bring their own cameras to capture family photos with Santa. The event concludes with Santa and Mrs. Claus taking off in their one-of-a-kind, motorized turbo sleigh! Parents can register online using registration code 1250.101. Registration can also be done in person at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center. Tickets are required for every attendee and are $15 per person for City residents and $20 per person for non-City residents. The Santa Clarita Activities Center is located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway. For more information, please contact Lisa Nikkila, Recreation Supervisor at (661) 284-1466 or visit


Happy Howlidays Open

House & Photos New Leash on Life is inviting the public to meet new adoptive dogs and have professional photos taken in a holiday setting. You can bring family members, your own dog, or pose with a New Leash on Life Dog for your sitting. Cost of photos is $30 and they will be retouched and sent within two weeks. The NLOL dog rescue facility will host a holiday boutique, silent auction and offer baked goods and door prizes at the open house, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. New Leash on Life is located at 16742 Placerita Canyon Road in the Sand Canyon area. Call (661) 255-0097 or email

9-11, 16-18 A Christmas Carol

St. Bonnie’s Fair There will be fun for the family, including pony rides,

food, raffles, live music, and silent auctions at this fundraiser for St. Bonnie’s rescue facility in Canyon Country. It is located at 27567 Oak Springs Road, where attendees will gather from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. RSVP to Jean Coleman at or call (661) 251-5590 or email

A brand new musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol Musical” will make its West Coast debut at the Canyon Theatre Guild this holiday season. Filled with lively music, spirited spirits, and the joy of discovery, this production sparkles with good cheer and humor. Plan to spend some time with Scrooge, Dickens, Tiny Tim and a quartet of ghostly guardians at “A Christmas Carol Musical” at 8:00 p.m. on November 25 and 26, December 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17. There are matinees at 2:00 p.m. on November 27, December 4, 11, 17, and 18. Weeknight performances are at 7:00 p.m. on December 20 and 21. Tickets are $15 and $17 and can be purchased from the box office at (661) 799-2702. The CTG is located at 24242 Main Street in Old Town Newhall.

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