Home tours help youth music education

NEWPORT COAST — A French-inspired estate overlooking Newport Harbor is the showcase of this month's 18th annual Philharmonic House of Design, one of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County's staple fundraisers.

"Maison de la Mer," a newly built 10,820-square-foot, six-bedroom home in Newport Coast, is open for public tours through March 27. So far, it is the most luxurious home featured in the ongoing program, a committee member said this week.

"We've had homes with views before, but this view is just stunning," benefit Chairwoman Cindy Kornhaber said of the estate's panoramic vistas of Newport Harbor. "This is also our first Provencal-inspired house."

This year's Philharmonic House of Design is the result of a cumulative effort between Haigh Builders, the Philharmonic Society, California Homes magazine and 16 interior designers.

About 175 people turned out for the opening reception Saturday to view the home, which has a market value of $13.8 million and was designed by Cecil Carney, of Tustin-based C.R. Carney Architects, Inc.

Kornhaber hopes that latest Philharmonic House of Design will attract between 12,000 to 15,000 visitors. Ticket sales are expected to bring in a hefty chunk of the $200,000 needed annually to fund the Irvine-based Philharmonic Society's music education programs for youth.

Several programs, which brought live music to students, were cut in 2008 when the Philharmonic Society was hit hard by the economic downturn. Since then, the number of annual home tour visitors has declined to between 8,000 and 10,000 guests.

"We're all here to bring music to the kids," benefit committee member Jan Lawrence said of the programs that help about 150,000 Orange County schoolchildren each year.

"[A concert] is an event for them that they may have never seen in their growing-up years," Lawrence said. "So, it's important that they can see and hear the experience."

Funds will not be generated by tickets sales alone. The Philharmonic Society has teamed up with multiple local vendors to provide onsite catering, wine tasting and a boutique of home goods, gifts and apparel items that occupy the home's entire 10-car garage.

Because of these partnerships, touring the home is easily an all-day experience, Kornhaber said.

Each of the house's many spaces were designed in keeping with the Provencal theme, the end result which Kornhaber described as "light and airy."

Stone and walnut flooring, hues of blues, greens and neutral colors, as well as antique French reclaimed terra cotta, are found throughout the estate.

A library, home theater, wine cellar, master and guest bedrooms, three-story floating staircase, seven bathrooms and the individual entryways bear the influences of Orange County and Los Angeles designers.

"We're very excited," said Tim Casey, of Haigh Builders, which owns the property. "It shows beautifully."

If You Go

What: The Philharmonic House of Design: Maison de la Mer

When: Now though March 27. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with hours extended on Thursday to 9 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Tickets: begin at $35 and are sold at the door.

Parking: Free Parking and shuttle at Los Trancos State Park

Info: Visitors must wear flat shoes, and no photography, backpacks or baby strollers are allowed. For more information, call (714) 840-7542 or visit philharmonicsociety.org.

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