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Holiday Homecoming in Westridge
December, 2007 - Issue #38
When it comes to the holidays, folks can go one of two ways. The first, and seemingly most common choice, is to entrench oneself in the material reality of the moment. What to buy? What to wear? Who to be seen with? What to do? All are valid questions, true, but when not accompanied by actions that speak of a greater purpose, one outside ourselves, the result is superficial at best.

Option two isn't as hard as one might guess. In fact, it doesn't even have to be mutually exclusive from the first choice. There's nothing inherently wrong with buying nice presents, decorating to the nines or splurging on a new dress, after all. But these actions should be coupled with a deeper sense of what's really at stake during the holidays. The busier we become as individuals and as a people, the more valuable our time together. Beautiful things are lovely to have, but family and friends come first. So, make Martha Stewart envious with your knack for design, as long as your relationships are cultivated with as much effort as your do-it-yourself floral arrangement.

This concept - the one of non-competing realities that too often are presented separately as an all-or-none philosophy - is not lost in the Fleming household.

Yes, we're talking about "that" Fleming household - the one you think you know based on friendship-inspired billboards, print ads and well-executed television commercials. Cheri and Don Fleming, synonymous with the Valencia Acura dealership that they've worked tirelessly to build from the ground up, are no strangers to press coverage - but at home it's all about family and friends who are treated like relatives.

The couple took to the task of decorating their 3,400-square-foot Westridge home much like they do everything else: together, with a lot of help from the community they love. "We had a goal to only use local vendors," says Cheri. "We know the value of community support firsthand, and we also know that Santa Clarita has the same or better quality products and services than anywhere else on the map. It was an obvious choice," says Fleming.

Also obvious: the decision to create a home environment that was welcoming to all who enter. The three-bedroom, single-story Tuscan house boasts an open floor plan and extensive outdoor living space, all which naturally lend themselves to a sensation of accessibility.

We love to serve as hosts," says Cheri. "We wanted visitors to feel like they weren't guests in that 'Wipe your feet!' kind of way. We wanted our home to be stress free, comfortable and welcoming, regardless of whether folks were staying for dinner or for a week."

Warm shades of gold, red and russet also communicate the sense of comfortable elegance that takes root throughout the space. But nothing can compete with the tantalizing aroma of a home cooked meal. Delicious scents often travel through the house, thanks to a gourmet kitchen and a homeowner who loves to cook. "Few things make me happier than creating good food for people I love," says Cheri. "There is something so wholesome about preparing a meal from scratch. It connects you to your food, of course, but it also reconnects you to the past, and the people who taught you how to cook, and the people who taught them... It's a pure act of love, and worth the effort - even if you only have time to do it once a year."

To paraphrase the Rolling Stones, "time is on your side - yes it is." This holiday season, don't worry about "making" time; that is out of our reach. Instead, "take" time - as much of it as possible - to play, to feast, to live. Happy holidays!

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