Best of South Sound Businesses Partner for Tour of Homes


New homes…Fabulous design…Beautiful furniture. Olympia Master Builders Tour of Homes™ participants are in for a treat
this year. Three top area businesses—all voted the “Best of South Sound” for the last four years—are partnering together on this year’s Tour.

These three businesses have been voted “The Best of South Sound” for the last four years.

The Olympia Furniture Company and Design Smart Home Staging & Redesign are joining forces with Rob Rice Homes to display two of the local builder’s fabulous homes during the popular housing event.

The first Rob Rice home on the Tour is the lovely Riviera, set on a golf course in the community of Campus Estates. The second home is the spacious Cottonwood at the builder’s newest community of Steilacoom Ridge. Both of these special Lacey, WA homes will be decked out to showcase their gorgeous, upscale design features.

Allen Starkey (L) and Eddie Nelson (back R) have teamed up with Lisa Poundstone (center) and Helena Rice (R) for a show-stopping tour of two Rob Rice Homes.

“We have so much confidence in our fellow Best of South Sound partners,” said Helena Rice who is heading up the Tour project for the local builder. “Lisa Poundstone of Design Smart has exquisitely staged our homes for many years and will use the awesome options available from Allen Starkey and Eddie Nelson at The Olympia Furniture Company to show off each of our Tour home’s many stunning features.”

Design Smart is Smart

Lisa Poundstone has been working with Rob Rice Homes since soon after she launched her design company eight years ago.

“I love working with Rob Rice Homes because they build quality houses,” said Lisa, who along with being voted several times as Best of South Sound, won the “Best Staging” award at last year’s Tour of Homes. “They are extremely professional and easy to work with. I have worked with a lot of builders over the years and most are not at the level of quality of Rob Rice.”

“The finishes in the specific homes on Tour are more high-end in design than the traditional spec home finishes, so we will be

A gorgeous shower, stylish lighting fixtures and view of the golf course in the Riviera home at Campus Estates that will be open for the Tour.

complementing and highlighting these must-see design features with very specific furnishings.”

The popular designer, who has participated in the Tour several times, is convinced of the weekend’s value.

“I think it’s a great way for the community to see what local builders and remodelers are doing. The Chefs on Tour component is a great cross-promotion for the restaurants and builders that participate and makes for a more interesting way to experience the home.”

Lisa will stage the two homes with furniture from another “Best of South Sound” partner, The Olympia Furniture Company.

“I have been purchasing furniture from The Olympia Furniture Company since they opened four years ago. They have every style of furniture I need for my inventory and at the best prices in town. I feel confident that when I take my design clients to their showroom—from shoppers with limited budgets to those looking for luxury furniture—they can fulfill their needs. Their showroom has a comfortable, relaxed feel unlike some of the ‘stuffy’ high-brow stores that can be intimidating or the stores where the salespeople hover like vultures.”

The Olympia Furniture Company Rocks

Since Allen Starkey and Eddie Nelson, owners of The Olympia Furniture Company, opened their store, it has been named the Best of South Sound every year.

“As a small start-up company, the recognition we have received really blows us away,” explained Starkey. “We are a good, better, best store for all types of budgets. If a customer wants to do something basic in a bedroom and dining room but also wants to spruce up the rest of the house with custom-made furniture or higher-end pieces, we can do all that. That is what sets us apart.”

The beautiful features at the Cottonwood at Steilacoom Ridge will be surrounded by stunning furnishings from The Olympia Furniture Company and arranged by Design Smart Home Staging & Redesign.

Their first time on the Tour of Homes, the store owners are excited about their partnership with the area’s largest builder and top staging and design company.

“I hear about Rob Rice a lot because he is a local builder with a great reputation and he builds so many area homes,” Allen said. “To have our company’s name connected with his name is a privilege for us.”

The Olympia Furniture Company also appreciates their ongoing relationship with Lisa Poundstone, who inspired them to be part of the September event.

“If she feels like it is a good idea, then we want to be a part of it. Her design skills are amazing. She has bought pieces from us that are the most basic in design, and then by adding colorful pillows or different plants and accessories, they look fantastic. She has got an eye for what she does, for sure.”

Do Not Miss the Fun!

This year’s Olympia Master Builders Tour of Homes™ will begin with a “Kick-Off Party” on Thursday, September 14, 6pm–8pm hosted by last year’s “Best Chef” Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchen, at 1307 South Bay Rd. NE, Olympia, WA, available to all Chefs on Tour ticket holders.

Friday, September 15 from 4pm to 10pm is the sneak preview, “Chefs on Tour.” That evening at the Rob Rice home at Campus Estates, Chef Ricardo of Ricardo’s Restaurant will provide his delicious fare and at the home at Steilacoom Ridge, Gotti Sweets will offer dessert delicacies. Tickets for the Chefs on Tour are available on August 25.

All of the homes on the Tour will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, 10am to 6pm daily, at no cost.