Sponsor’s Award Goes to the Taper Family on Almar
The Dr. Thomas Farnham and Lorena Robletto home on Via de la Paz took first place in the 11th Annual July Fourth Home Decorating Contest, sponsored by Sotheby realtors Joan Sather and Susan Montgomery.
As parade participants lined up along Via, they were able to view the numerous sparkly red, white and blue star piñatas that adorned the winner’s yard. The roof decorated by nephew Michael Siemer included an Uncle Sam hat. The numerous items that included a large sparkly peace pinata did not go unnoticed by judges, who included honorary co-mayors Janice and Billy Crystal.
But maybe the capper was the Statue of Liberty that was designed and made by Robletto. “I started with a mask, and then I did sheets of starch and folded it,” she said. Not many people are artistic enough to create a statue in a day, but the owner of Amazing Pinatas was up to the challenge.
Robletto started a business with a partner on Olympic in downtown Los Angeles. But when the man walked out, she was left everything.
“I told my husband we had to make it work,” Robletto said, but since her husband was working full-time in downtown Los Angeles in family and addictive medicine, the business was in her hands.
“We took custom orders, taking a different approach to the business model,” she said. “I educate people why they [pinatas] are so expensive.”
The pinatas are made in Los Angeles. “It’s fun, but its demanding,” said the mother of three young adults, Natalie, Neil and Maya.
Robletto has gone beyond “making it work” and her pinata and designs have won honors. For the 2013 San Diego Latino Film Festival, the winning poster was based on one of her colorful pinatas that resembled a film camera. (https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=228350663967355).
For a Vans shoe commercial, her company made giant head pinatas of three skateboard legends. “We have also done a life-sized car [pinata],” said Robletto, who credits her mother with teacher her to think outside the box. “She was very creative.”
Robletto said that they try to use everyday products and if they don’t have a product, they’ll substitute. “If you don’t have black paint, you can use black shoe polish,” said Robletto, who has been featured in a short documentary about pinatas (visit: https://www.facebook.com/amazingpinatas/videos/2224231657840897/)
The business has mostly glowing reviews, such as this one on Yelp: “We worked with Lorena at Amazing Piñatas and it was a pleasure. We worked with them to make a 4-1/2 ft. tall wedding cake piñata with standees that looked like us. If you want to see it in action, check it out here: instagram.com/p/BWqBcQtF.”
Robletto and Farnham moved to the 700 block of Via de la Paz in 2001.
“The Fourth of July is my husband’s favorite holiday,” she said. “When we bought the house, we already knew it was on the parade route.”
Every Fourth they have an open house, complete with friends, margaritas and a taco bar.
Their three children attended Palisades Elementary, Paul Revere and Palisades High. Natalie, the oldest, graduated from Reed College in Oregon in 2014. She has been working at the V.A. but is now also applying to medical schools.
Maya just graduated from Mt. Holyoke College with a degree in biology and plans to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. Neil has a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell.
Nephew Michael Siemer, who is attending Santa Monica College, helped with the roof decorations, and also ran with his uncle in the Will Rogers Run on July 4.
As the contest winners, the Farnham/Robletto family received an American Flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol and nearly $1,000 in gift certificates and coupons.
These prizes were donated by Black Ink, Cinepolis, Denise Carolyn, George & Company (haircut/hair design), Gift Garden Antiques, Goorus (yoga), Palisades Barber Shop, The Massage Place, Matthew’s Garden Café, McConnell’s Ice Cream, Ogden’s Cleaners, Palisades Gas n’ Wash, Pharmaca, Puzzle Zoo, Regal Cleaners, Rosie’s Nails, The Sew Chateau, The Yogurt Shoppe and Bonjour Fete (party supply store in Palisades Village).