The Holiday Home Tour in Adel has been revived this year and will feature a wide range of homes from old to new, each with the homeowners’ twist on holiday décor.
The Raccoon Valley Questers organized this year’s tour, after a year off in 2012. The tour, celebrating 22 years, will take place from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. Cost is $6, and all proceeds go to the Adel Historical Museum to help pay for memorabilia or display cases for the new Nile Kinnick addition and display. Four houses and the museum are on the tour.
Tickets can be pre-purchased at the Adel Public Library, 303 S. 10th St., or at Hair Affair, 608 Greene St. Tickets also will be available at the museum beginning at 1 p.m. the day of the tour. For more information, contact Sonya Ferguson at 993-7026.
Ferguson, a member of the Questers, says the home tour fundraiser fits with the group’s mission, as it participates in philanthropic projects related to historic preservation. A mix of housing styles and ages were selected for the tour from historic houses to one that is new.
“We like to showcase the historic homes, but we think people are also interested in seeing the new homes,” she says. “It’s a great way to get the younger people involved” in the holiday tour.
Each house on the tour will focus on various aspects. Some homeowners will focus on the historic significance and architectural features of the home while others will be focused on decorating and their personal collections that will be on display.
“I think you’re going to see an eclectic mix of stuff,” she says.
The tour begins at the museum, 1129 Main St. Eight rooms are filled with historic artifacts from Adel’s history that include the Kinnick collection, along with memorabilia from the Orton Brothers’ Circus and Dexter’s Bonnie and Clyde. Virginia Berger, president of the Raccoon Valley Questers, will display some of her antique quilts at the museum during the tour.
Here is a look at the homes on the tour:
Liam and Rachel McHugh
1405 Court St.
Liam and Rachel McHugh’s house at 1405 Court St., will have holiday decorations that blend traditional items and those from Rachel’s family, to Liam’s Irish ancestry.
Rachel says several people have asked her about the couple’s house, a brick Tudor built in 1940 that is referred to as the Craft Mansion, which is why she decided to participate in the tour. The house was built for $10,000 by Bob Feller’s attorney. The McHughs moved into the house in late May.
Rachel describes her holiday decorating as traditional and understated with lots of greenery and natural woodsy items — think more garland and pinecones with white lights than Santas. The McHughs always get a live tree in keeping with Liam’s Irish family tradition when a salesperson would come to the house with live trees from which the family would pick.
Rachel also tries to find live holly, which is used in decorating in Ireland, and incorporates it in the decorating along with real greenery.
“It’s a tradition that things be real if they can be,” she says. “We try to incorporate some of those traditions as well.”
The decorations on the tree are a collection of inherited items and simple, traditional pieces. Rachel has the ornament her grandmother gave to her after she was born and the one her mother gave her after her twin sons were born. Her decorating also includes ceramic 1950s angels her mother gave to her.
Rachel says she held out until the weekend after Thanksgiving to decorate the tree and turn on lights. The family is looking forward to celebrating Christmas in their new home.
“It’s an adventure now because we moved from a newly built home in Waukee, and now this will be our first year decorating this home, which was built in 1940,” she says. “It’s fun because it’s a different type of decorating because things look different in an older home. I feel like I can branch out and do more with the wood and the wood floors.”
Dan and Paula James
420 S. Sixth St.
The Jameses moved into their house in 1986. The historic home, built in 1900, showcases Paula’s more than 20 collections that include pottery, flamingos, radios and glass baskets. Many of her collections are from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.
Paula will have her Santa, Nativity scene, snowmen and Christmas tree collections on display.
“I like the holidays, and I like to decorate for the holidays,” she says. “I have lots of collections, and I like for people to see them. I have interesting stories about some of my pieces.”
Paula tries to decorate a little differently for Christmas each year. This year, she plans to decorate five trees of various sizes. One tree will contain 36 Hallmark ornaments — one for each of the years she and Dan have been married. Another tree is Barbie themed. It is decorated with Barbie ornaments, and Paula places Barbie dolls and books about Barbie under the tree. She’ll also display her Fisher-Price toy collection and old board games under another tree.
Dan and Laura Juffer
504 S. 11th St.
Dan and Laura Juffer will showcase the renovation work they have done on their historic 1910 home, located at 504 S. 11th St.
The couple moved into the house four years ago. Since that time, they have had the original opening between the living room and dining room reconstructed, refinished portions of the woodwork and removed a concrete feedlot that was in the backyard. The house, until a few decades ago, was located on a fully functional farm with a barn.
“We’ve done quite a bit of work to our house,” Dan says. “We’ve had quite a few people asking about it since we’ve been doing all of the renovations, and we thought this would give people a chance to see it.”
There will be “before” pictures on display for those who are interested in see the renovation process.
“We’re doing our best to try to return the home to its original splendor, but it still has a ways to go,” Dan says.
The Juffers like to use greenery and poinsettias throughout the house and incorporate their large collection of antiques into their Christmas decorating.
The family’s Christmas tree will be located in the foyer and will be the first thing visitors see when they walk into the house. Under the tree will likely be some of the Juffers’ antiques, specifically items that would have been Christmas gifts 100 years ago such as an antique typewriter, decorative wooden boxes that would have held children’s school supplies and children’s books. Among the books is a “Learn your Alphabet” book from the 1800s that is hand illustrated.
A table located in the foyer will be decorated with garland and oversized ornaments. Laura will incorporate some of the couple’s antiques into the display.
The bannister leading up to the second floor will be decorated. Outside the front door are two antique planters that will be decorated, along with live greenery, red ribbons and white lights in the flower boxes and screened-in porch.
Some of Dan’s 500 vintage Fiestaware pieces — those in holiday colors — will be displayed on the dining room table. Throughout the house will be the couple’s collection of antique lighted Santas, including a five-foot one of Santa in his sleigh pulled by reindeer that will be in the window seat in the living room.
Jamie and Charlie Lasher
1404 S. 13th St.
Jamie and Charlie Lasher, 1404 S. 13th St., live in the newest home on the tour. Their house, completed in 2012, is located in the Evans Park neighborhood.
Visitors will be able to see an example of some of the new construction in the city. The Lasher home includes stone fireplaces and hardwood floors, along with artwork by Charlie’s father, Tom Gross, who has painted a picture of the Des Moines skyline for the home.
Charlie says the couple, who were recently married, is in the process of building their decoration supply.
“I think the best Christmas decorations and ornaments are the ones that have stories and love behind them, and we are working toward more and more of that,” she says.