Rancho Santa Fe Association Osuna Committee holds Christmas celebration


By Karen Billing

The Osuna Adobe was decked out for the holidays as the Rancho Santa Fe Association board, trails committee and Osuna committee hosted a Christmas cocktail reception at the 182-year-old structure on Dec. 11.

Inside, the adobe was decorated with wreaths and garlands, and attendees mingled as Daria Quay, the Osuna Ranch manager and Association secretary, served up her famous frosty Brandy Alexanders in plastic flutes.

Outside, people gathered around the fires burning in the front courtyard of the adobe under a stunning pink sunset.

The exterior of the adobe has received a facelift, structural damage repairs have been made, and now the members of Amigos de Osuna are currently fundraising to complete the rest of the planned restorations of the adobe.

Jerry Yahr, Association director and chairman of the Osuna Committee, is hoping that 2014 will be a big year for the adobe.

Yahr said they have completed an architectural plan for renovations of the adobe, the culmination of extensive studies and research. The research has guided the committee in planning a restoration that reflects the various layers of history important to the Osuna, from its 1831 origins as a one-room home with a long front porch and thatched roof, to the Lilian Rice update in 1924 that added the kitchen, bathroom, fireplace, an enclosed porch, garden walls, a tile roof and removed the long porch.

The committee’s planned restoration will bring back the long porch but leave some Rice elements, such as the fireplace and living room. They will remove the non-historic kitchen and bathrooms. The Rice-era tile floors will remain in the living room but the rest of the adobe will be restored to wood floors.

Yahr estimates the work to be about $500,000 and they have started a donor-advised fund with the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation to help reach that goal. To learn more about how to contribute, visit

While there is still much to complete on the Osuna restoration, the Osuna Committee has already attained the goals of community education and the creation of a vibrant local resource.

Earlier in the year, 70 students from R. Roger Rowe School participated in a field trip to the Osuna ranch to learn about the adobe and make their own adobe bricks. It is the hope that the trip will be an annual occasion for the school, so children can learn about the valuable piece of history in their own backyards.