Near & Far Aid will feature five homes in Westport and Fairfield's Greenfield Hill and Southport areas in its 2012 Designer House Tour to be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 4.

Houses will be seen in the following order on the tour, giving an inside look at these professionally-decorated houses:

"Intersecting History and Contemporary Art in SoPo," Fairfield's Southport area: The exterior of this circa-1810 Southport Village home features a white picket fence and lacy posts on a painted porch, while the interior, despite an 1840 addition, boasts the original fireplace with warming oven, original paneling and woodworking details and some of the original glass panes. The home's decor includes a gallery of contemporary furnishings and art, created and lived in by designer Yvonne Ferris, who won Connecticut Cottages & Gardens "Innovation in Interior Design" award two years in a row.

"Modern Beach House," Westport: Where once a ramshackle cottage stood is now a dramatic, 3,600-square-foot beach home, designed by architect Jonathan Wagner, in close collaboration with his clients, who wished to downsize from their large farmhouse in Weston to something simpler but more architecturally progressive. The result is a light, extremely comfortable and surprisingly spacious home that uniquely reflects its owners' sophisticated style.

"California Dreamin,'" Westport: Coming from a family of art collectors, the homeowners -- a woman from southern California and a man who grew up in New England -- have blended their tastes to incorporate art and sculpture with overscaled furnishings for a home that's bold and sophisticated yet family-friendly. The home offers expansive views of Long Island Sound through three rooms that have been left open, architecturally delineated only by the ceiling coffers.

"The Silver Standard," Westport: Designer Mar Silver has taken a builder's Colonial and transformed it into a dramatic and sensual sanctuary for inspired family living with monochromatic interiors of winter sky, dove, ash, charcoal, and platinum. The house sits on a pinnacle overlooking ancient stone walls and rolling hills but there were few windows from which to take in the view, so Silver opened up the kitchen and added windows to give the home an organic connection to the land beyond its doors.

"The Barn as Atelier," Fairfield's Greenfield Hill area: Artist Cynthia Davis and her husband recently completed this new barn-like home on several acres in Greenfield Hill with help from architect George Dumitru and contractor Jeremi Jablonski. Having met at the University of Vermont, the couple built their home to blend Old World touches with the rustic simplicity of the Green Mountains.

A pre-tour "Designer Power Breakfast" will be held 9:15 to 10:45 a.m. at the Patterson Club, 1118 Cross Highway, Fairfield, while a "Toast the Tour" event will take place after the tour 7 to 9 p.m. at a local waterfront estate.

Tickets to the tour are $60 in advance, $75 day of tour. Tickets to the Designer Power Breakfast cost $65, while "Toast the Tour" tickets cost $125.

Tickets can also be purchased at

Near & Far Aid, a nonprofit organization, provides funding for projects that address the causes and effects of poverty in Fairfield County. Its grants support programs help families at risk, adults in crisis, homelessness, elderly care and other select categories.

Proceeds from the tour and all Near & Far Aid fundraising events support grants funded to over 100 agencies fighting poverty in Fairfield County.