Balboa Island home tour provides a classic look in both old and new

Annette Giermann hopes to break the 1,000 mark in ticket sales for Sunday’s Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour.

“Last year we sold 910 and we’re excited to have Santa for the first time posing for photos at 315 Grand Canal, one of the homes featured on the tour,” said Giermann, an island resident who is in her second year as tour chairwoman. “The eight homes on tour this year are classic and traditional, with a 50/50 balance between older and newer.”

An example is Marilyn and Jim Padova’s two-story yellow-shingled home on North Bay Front, which was built in 1961 and was a stucco duplex that they saw potential in and converted into a three-bedroom single-family home after they purchased it in 1996.

They reconfigured the entire house, which had been pretty ugly, according to Marilyn. Wanting to maintain the character of Balboa Island, the couple opted to remodel the home rather than tear it down and rebuild.


“I told the architect that I want the house to look like it’s been here forever. I didn’t want a mega-mansion,” Marilyn said. “We love our house, which has all the creature comforts which are hard to come by on the island, like two master closets. I have enough room to store not only my stuff but my neighbors’.”

A proposed change to Newport Beach code that would remove some barriers to expanding or updating older homes may not fully stop the replacement of old cottages, but it could slow it down.

She and her husband, who is chief medical advisor for the cancer care program at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, are originally from the East Coast and fell in love with Southern California during his residency in Los Angeles some 50 years ago.

“With so many options of where to go to downsize, I said to my husband, ‘You know what ... if we really want to see a lot of the grandchildren, we should be somewhere where there’s water,” Marilyn said.


Erin and Jim Maloney have taken on the job of preserving and restoring rather than bulldozing their 1923 rental cottage on Garnet Avenue, which is rumored to have once been a speakeasy.

“Saving a cottage is right up my alley,” Erin said. “I believe in keeping the historic cottage.”

The Maloneys, who also have a permanent residence on Balboa Island, have done much of the restoration work themselves on the 850-square-foot cottage. Jim explained that because the home was owned by one family, it has maintained its originality rather than been subjected to several remodels. That has made the repairs and replacements run smoother, he said.

“It’s a contained structure, like a time capsule — original,” Jim said. “It still has the rippled glass windows, wood and linoleum floors, knotty pine walls and portholes.”

According to the Maloneys, repairing and replacing is a big part of the restoration process, along with deep cleaning. They scraped soot from walls, removed beach sand from beneath floor coverings, refreshed the paint, upgraded appliances and replaced toilets and tile, all to keep within the “camps and cottages” style.

As part of setting up the house for short-term lodging, the Maloneys scoured flea markets and thrift stores to fill it with furnishings that reflect the old-time era.

“People want to rent our cottage because it re-creates family time because there’s nowhere to go,” Erin said. “Everyone’s in the same room playing cards, games or sitting on the porch. For me, that’s what cottage is all about.”


What: 23rd annual Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday


Where: Eight homes around Balboa Island in Newport Beach. A map will be provided with the purchase of a ticket.

Cost: $35. Tickets are available the day of the event at the Balboa Island Museum, Crystal Rose, Fresh Produce, Island Home and Sur Le Mer, all on Marine Avenue on the island; Blue Springs Home at 369 E. 17th St. in Costa Mesa; and in advance at

Susan Hoffman is a contributor to Times Community News.

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