Haverford Home Wins First

David Trotti and Amy Kate Connolly won first place in the July 4 home decorating contest.

Trotti/Connolly’s Home Takes First

By SUE PASCOE

Haverford residents David Trotti and Amy Kate Connolly entered the Fourth of July Patriotic Home Contest for the first time—and they won!

The Palisades Americanism Parade Association (PAPA) contest was co-sponsored by Sotheby’s realtors Joan Sather and Susan Montgomery.

Judges included Pacific Palisades Co-Honorary Mayors Billy and Janice Crystal; last year’s winner, Cindy Simon; PAPA President Matt Rodman (and sons Max and Spencer); former PAPA President Rob Weber; and Sather and Montgomery.

“It was unanimous,” Sather said. “Everyone agreed the house was different with lots of detail–charming, with even the flowers red, white and blue.”

“It was all the different little touches,” Montgomery added.

Trotti, in accepting the award on July 3, praised Sather and Montgomery. “You are really nice to sponsor this,” he said.

Later when he sat down for an interview with his wife, Amy Kate Connolly, Trotti said, “This is one of the things that I love. The Palisades has such a small-town feel—it’s close to L.A., but just outside of it.”

Connolly and Trotti decided to enter this year because their daughter, a rising sophomore at Palisades High School, was away at a Spanish-immersion camp.

The couple had also just replaced their lawn with turf and put up a white picket fence (plastic) to be environmentally conscious—no watering, no painting and no termites.

Most of the flowers placed on the fence and in window boxes and on the porch were silk, with the exception of a few pots of red geraniums. “I have a ‘brown thumb,'” Connolly said. There were also ribbons in patriotic colors and bunting.

“I just kept adding–with more trips to Michael’s,” Connolly said.

Trotti remembers asking, “How many more weeks are you going to go [to Michael’s]?”

Even the second-floor window boxes sport beautiful flowers.

Connolly crawls out the window and hands the box back to Trotti, who cleans them out—and in some cases, Trotti goes up a ladder, balancing the big boxes, once they are cleaned and the flowers replaced.

They have practice, because they change the landscape decorating to go with the seasons, whether it be Halloween, Christmas or spring.

“We redo it every season,” Connolly said.

Trotti purchased the 800 sq. ft, 1947 bungalow in 1996. Connolly moved in with him in 2000, they married in 2001 and their daughter Chelsea was born in 2003.

They soon realized they needed more space, but it was never a question of moving because they loved their neighbors. Kurt and Phyllis Amboss are the most amazing neighbors,” Trotti said. “Our neighbors on the other side, the McCallisters, (Stuart is a contractor), built our house.”

Part of the challenge with redoing the property was a long-existing Bonsai garden that “had gone insane,” Connolly said. There were 47 grown trees on the lot.

Connolly, who grew up in Costa Mesa, originally planned to be a regional actress, but started as a stand-in for Barbara Babcock in the TV series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

Trotti, who also grew up in Southern California, worked on the “Star Trek” series as an assistant director for 13 years.

People from both production sets played matchmaker and Trotti and Connolly eventually did get together.

“Chelsea’s baby shower was held in the mess hall of the Enterprise,” Trotti said.

Once the baby was born, Connolly stayed at home, worked with a local realtor and volunteered at Palisades Elementary, and then with Theatre Palisades on its youth productions.

Trotti is currently working on “The First,” a Hulu production that stars Sean Penn and deals with the political and social aspect of preparing for the first Mars mission.

In additional to an American flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol, Connolly and Trotti also received gift cards from Ogden’s Cleaners, isarose, Caffé Luxxe, The Massage Place, Shoppe Amber Interiors, Robeks, Rosie’s Nails and Norris Hardware.

Sotheby realtors Joan Sather (left) and Susan Montgomery (right) sponsored the July 4 Home Decorating Contest. They presented the first place ribbon to homeowner David Trotti.

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