8 houses to be featured when Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour returns for 25th year

The Modern Farmhouse home on Sapphire Avenue.
The Modern Farmhouse home on Sapphire Avenue is featured this year on the Dec. 10 Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour. It was custom built by Waterpointe Homes.
(Susan Hoffman)

Nilou and Dan Perry along with their two dogs, Jack and Jill, have been living for just one year in their custom built Balboa Island home.

“It was a really old cottage, the owner passed away and it needed to be torn down and not refurbished,” Nilou Perry said of the property. “We wanted an open-concept home, and I always wanted a white house to create some peace.”

The Perrys’ modern farmhouse home on Sapphire Avenue, constructed by Waterpointe Homes, was created for indoor/outdoor living. It includes an elevator, a third-floor roof deck and, in the kitchen, special equipment such as a steam oven and a wine cooler built into the refrigerator.


Before their move to Newport Beach the couple, who are empty nesters, decided to downsize and get away from the heat of the Santa Clarita area. Looking to move someplace with more temperate weather, they purchased a 1938, 802-square-foot cottage on Balboa Island in August 2020.

With a hot real estate market going on at the time, their home in Santa Clarita sold immediately. They ended up renting four or five different furnished homes on Balboa Island so they could oversee the approximately two-year building phase of their new home.

“It was tough to go from house to house,” Nilou Perry said. “But we got to meet different people on those streets, and that’s how we built relationships and made friends before moving in.”

The Perrys' Sapphire Avenue home has a second Christmas tree on the third-floor entry.
The Perrys’ Sapphire Avenue home, a stop on the Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour, has a second Christmas tree on the third-floor entry to the deck.
(Susan Hoffman)

The Balboa Island Improvement Assn. took notice of the Perrys’ beautifully constructed home and selected it as the featured home for the 25th year of the Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour.

The annual fundraiser will take place Sunday, Dec.10, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. It will feature eight homes that have been decorated for the holidays.

Among the eight homes on the tour is a 2,426-square-foot 1936 cottage that was one of 20 homes built by the well-known 1930s Balboa Island builder and architect Leon Yale. He and his family had lived in this home, where his children’s handprints remain on the concrete floor of the garage.

The cottage is located on Apolena Avenue, which has been referred to as “storybook row” because of the distinctive Yale style.

Yale was known for his signature detailing, using tongue and groove joints, sloped vaulted ceilings, wood floors and alcoves. According to the property’s current homeowner, some of the beams used in the living and dining rooms were taken from the original Park Avenue bridge during a remodel and the bar in the dining room came from a ship.

Three of the eight homes on tour are located on Little Island with one of them situated in the 100 block of Crystal Avenue. The three-story home built in 1997 has a bay view from the kitchen window and an art studio on the third floor. To add to the holiday home decorating spirit is a collection of Santa Claus figures from around the world, some even animated.

On Pearl Avenue is a 1938 two-story home featured on the tour that was purchased in 2022 by an interior designer who chose to preserve the island charm by renovating the property rather than tearing it down. She was also able to expand its original 1,900-square-foot size by adding 960 square feet.

Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour tickets are $40 and are available for purchase at the Balboa Island Museum, Blue Atlas Marketplace, Crown meets Sea and Crush Clothing, all located on Marine Avenue.

Inside their home decked out for Christmas are Sammi, Nilou and Dan Perry with dogs Jack and Jill.
Inside their home all decked out for Christmas are, from left, Sammi, Nilou and Dan Perry with dogs Jack, center, and Jill. Their newly built home on Sapphire Avenue is featured on this year’s Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour.
(Susan Hoffman)

Off Island tickets can be found at Bliss Home Design on Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, Blue Springs Home and Crews Quarters Newport on 17th Street in Costa Mesa and Seaside Gallery & Goods on Tustin Avenue in Newport Beach. Tickets may also be purchased online at

Will call tickets will be available to purchase and pick up at the Balboa Island Museum, 210 Marine Ave., at 9:30 a.m. on the day of the Home Tour.