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Home tour tickets running out

By Staff | Mar 5, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED “Spirit of Sanibel,” by Sissi Janku, will be the cover of the 2019 A Peek at the Unique keepsake program. In addition, a giclee of the piece will be available to bid on in the silent auction.

Tickets are going fast for a special opportunity to tour four, privately-owned island residences.

The Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva will host its 18th annual Peek at the Unique on March 16, with groups of Peekers leaving every 30 minutes from the Sanibel Community Church starting at 8:30 a.m. The three-hour tour features riding in air-conditioned luxury buses, while a guide provides insights.

This year, the four locations will include two brand-new homes, each furnished in a tempting style; a classic 30-year-old home, skillfully updated; and the snug bayou home of an iconic Sanibel artist.

“It is a fun way for Peekers to tour privately-owned homes on the islands,” Susan Tucker, chair of the 2019 Peek leadership team, said. “Ones that they normally would not have the opportunity to see.”

Located on a canal-front lot in Shell Harbour, the “Yesterday: Today: Tomorrow” home earns two labels: new and historic. Owned by Jay and Angie Gerken, it was completed a year ago, yet it contains treasured and historic objects and connections with the homeowners’ past, their travels and family.

PHOTO PROVIDED One of the four distinctive homes featured during A Peek at the Unique.

The bachelor’s retreat – a first in the tour – is the brand-new residence of Mark Litzsinger and his dogs. Steps from a Sanibel beach and named “Double Eagle” for works by New Mexico sculptor Eddie Shorty, the house pays tribute to Litzsinger’s wide-ranging interests, especially boats, dogs and cars.

Called “Serenity Nowell” as a play on their name and in tribute to a “Seinfeld” character who frequently shouted “Serenity now!,” the home of Vinny and Suzie Nowell was built in 1989 in Shell Harbour. Elegant and quirky, it is the backdrop for a family life and a testament to a love story.

A veritable gallery of the artist’s work and more, the residence of Sissi Janku and her musician husband, Chris van der Baars, is filled with the results of their adventures. Located within the Sanibel Bayous, “Free Spirits on the Bayou” is a reflection of the creative diverse lives of its occupants.

“Each one if just very different,” Tucker said

“We try to assemble a group of homes that would interest everybody,” she added.

PHOTO PROVIDED Peekers board their bus for last year's event.

This year’s home sponsors are Dan Hahn Custom Builders and John Grey Painting, American Gallery Homes, Kirchner Contracting and Island Home Service/Tree West, and South Seas Island Resort.

“Besides these four very different and unique homes, we do offer a fifth home for those who go on the VIP tour,” Tucker said, adding that this year’s extra VIP residence is owned by a fellow Zontian.

Named “House of the Drumming Monkey,” it is a Spanish revival home.

Peekers are also invited to tour a newly-renovated unit managed by Community Housing and Resources, which provides affordable housing on the island. Located on Mahogany Way, the one being showcased this year will be available to all ticket-holders from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Peek day.

In addition to the tour, Peekers can enjoy appetizers from island restaurants while at the Sanibel Community Church, as well as purchase $10 tickets for the “A Chance At The Unique” raffle and a shot at winning six prizes. The drawings will be held day of; the winners do not have to present.

“We will have tasty treats from numerous restaurants,” she said, adding that there are 19.

“Everybody is so generous, they just donate,” Tucker added. “It’s just wonderful.”

This year’s raffle prizes include:

n Dinner for eight by Chef Loretta Paganini, served in last year’s Gulf-front “Sea Glass” Peek home

n $1,000 gift certificate for a family portrait or underwater fine artwork by artist Susan J. Roche

n Gift certificates to see Sanibel by air and sea, including an aerial tour with pilot John Bisson, private eco boat tour with Capt. Ben, guided tour of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and ride on the Thriller speedboat

n Whitney’s Bait & Tackle chartered fishing trip for four with a local fishing guide, plus a box lunch from the Sanibel Deli & Coffee Factory

n Unique art by island artists Marianne Ravenna, Wendy Miller, Melanie Moraga and Pam Boyton, plus a gift certificate to Sanibel Art and Frame

n Four-course dinner for four at IL Cielo, plus gift certificates to Cedar Chest Fine Jewelry, Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery, Congress Jewelers and Peach Republic

“These are six packages of prizes,” she said. “They’re chock full of good stuff.”

Tickets can also be purchased from any Zonta member, on the weekends leading up to the event at Bailey’s General Store from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the Sanibel Island Farmers Market on March 10.

“We will also have three silent auctions at the Peek on Peek day,” Tucker said.

Peekers will have the opportunity to bid on:

n A five-night stay in a luxury apartment on the Hudson River in New York City

n A three-day, two-night stay at the historic Collier Inn on Useppa Island Club, including round-trip transportation and parking at the shore port

n A gicle by island artist Sissi Janku of “Spirit of Sanibel”

She explained that the mission of Zonta is to empower women and proceeds from the fundraiser go toward improving the lives of women and girls locally and around the world. In January, with monies from the 2018 Peek, it awarded $105,000 local grants, plus a $35,000 pledge to Zonta International.

“We’ve given out over a million dollars over the years,” Tucker said of the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida.

Event tickets are $100 per person, plus a nominal service fee to EventBrite.

“We do have afternoon tickets available,” she said on March 1.

“They can come and enjoy an approximately three-hour house tour and then enjoy dinner on the islands,” Tucker added. “It’s like Peek and dine.”

To purchase tickets, visit www.EventBrite.com.

Those uncomfortable using EventBrite can email PeekTickets@gmail.com.

The public is encouraged to get tickets before they are gone.

“To support the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida, to help us to continue to empower and improve the lives of women,” she said. “And to come out and have fun and have an enjoyable time Peeking at four unique homes.”

For more information, visit www.zontasancap.com or call 239-464-8939.

Sanibel Community Church is at 1740 Periwinkle Way.