Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 Romeo Christmas Home Tour


You can read a little pre-walk article by the Romeo Observer. And check out more photos here. And an after-walk article by the Romeo Observer.

It turned out really well. Group after group would come in; one after the other. We were told that there would be about 15 minutes between groups, but that was not the case. Many times we still had a group in the house when another was waiting outside on the front porch. We had 10 groups of 25-40 people each group.

Jerome and I had a couple of friends helping us out. Beth Nelson was stationed upstairs and Deepa Rajendran was stationed in the Dining Room. Jerome was at the front door and kitchen and Mom and I were in the Living Room.

They all came into the living room and I gave my little spiel about the house:
Welcome to the Heap house :)
The house was built in 1947 (and then I had to explain why the historic plaque says 1948).
The style of the house is Colonial Revival - and then I went into the difference between Colonial Revival and Georgian Colonial (which was how the house was described in the real estate listing when we bought it).
It's currently a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath house, but when built was a 4 bedroom and 1 bathroom house.
It's about 1800 sq. ft.
We are the 9th residents of the house and then I told stories about the former owners, but only one or two per tour, otherwise they'd be standing around far too long.

Then I explained about the paintings and photography that are around the house, the late 1960's nativity and the stuff we found behind the mantle.
I said that the whole house was open for them to look at; upstairs, main floor and downstairs. That we have hot chocolate and rice krispy treats in the kitchen - both of these things were a first for the tour - usually the owners don't want people traipsing all over their house and they never offer refreshments. Just for that, I think we were a favorite :D

Everyone was very nice and polite. We heard a lot of compliments and that makes all the work, worth it. One lady said "the way you have it decorated and painted, it feels like I've been here before; I feel comfortable and I've never been here.

The questions that I received most were about the color choices for the walls (if we ever do this again, I'll have the paint swatches out so that people will know the name of the color - since I can't remember off the top of my head). The stove "collection" that we have. The Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet dolls we have on the mantle. And about the garage demo and build.

Jerome was asked over and over, where was he from (France). He was told he was a smart man on several occasions when he told them that his wife picked out the colors and he agreed with it and when he agreed to keep what seemed to be junk (like metal window frames from the old garage) and allowed me to use it as decorations.
(The flash from the camera makes the walls seem much more yellowy-orange than they truly are)
Deepa had questions about the type of China on the table. Where the glassware was from (Belgium). Who was the artist for the painting in the dining room (a friend Roberto Baruchello) and if she was French (she's Indian).

Beth had questions about the original wood floors, the wall treatments (squares and stripes). The marble bathroom and if she lives here.

We met a lot of people who knew some of the former owners. A lot of folks were taught by either Pat or Fred Portwine. One older man (I believe he was in his 80's) knew the Scott's, the Nordman's and Terry and Marina. (His name is Mel and he says Hi Marina).

The day was really fun and a full day for sure. Beth showed up at 10:30am, the pre-walk started at 11am. We got to tour all the homes for free. As we left, we were given the bag luminaries, cat litter to put into the bag, candles, this years Romeo Christmas ornament (which was one of the houses on the tour - The Wellington Jersey Residence) and a 1 year free membership to the Historical Society.

Afterward we went out to lunch at Times Square and then came home and had an hour or two to get the luminaries up and running. Fix the first batch of hot chocolate and watch a video of our New Orleans trip in November 2000 (Beth's family lives in N.O.). Then the first group showed up just after 4pm and the tour was on and relentless until 9:30pm. After that, we all reconvened at the Village Presidents home for the after-glow party. We were exhausted and couldn't last until midnight.

It reminded me a lot of our August party (which we were unable to have this year). We invite everybody and their brother and you spend about 5 minutes with each person; a whirlwind and fun.
This lovely vintage ornament wreath was made by a local artist; Janet Haslett of Richmond, MI. If you are interested in obtaining one of these, please post a comment and I'll give you her contact info.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thanks--though I was a bit useless, really. I did enjoy being there. It's you and Jerome that are a special twosome. It's a life gift that not everyone gets. Whatever you are doing, don't change it. And good to see Beth and Deepa--great memories with the both of them. Love all around = Mom

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed being on the walk. The photos look great. I see you repainted the stair way wall and hall.

How was your mantle decorated?

400 attendees, I would call that a huge success.

You do know who Mel is, don't you? He is the owner/ publisher of the Romeo Observer.

Sarah knows the house well as she and Laurence(exchange student) were best friends.

Deni said...

I really enjoyed reading about this. Sorry I couldn't be there, but sounds like it was too big a crowd for me anyway! And reading the blog makes me almost feel like I was there, hmm think I'll go get some rice krispie treats, no, on the other hand I think I'll just skip right to the chocolate.

Jabbles said...

That's really cool, I had heard about tours like this before but I have never known anyone who has done it.
I will have to check out this house sometime now. (I know it's rude to invite oneself but you had total stranger there I figure you wont be mad)A big thumbs up on the colour choices, I like a house with "life"

baby sister said...

Next time you're in town Jay, come on over - we could be your b&b on a weekend - then you could see the colors all up close and personal.

dynochick (Jan) said...

Your house is very lovely. I like how you used the greens on the chandelier.

That was a lot of people!!! How did you have the strength to go anywhere after that?

I can't wait to decorate for Christmas. Roger and I just hung a couple of wreaths and called it a wrap.

What's the story behind the 1947/1948 year discrepancy?

Pat yourself and Jerome on the back, you both did a fabulous job.

baby sister said...

Thanks Jan.

Yes, it was difficult to stay awake for that rap up party.

Depending on the type of house those people were hoping to see, ours was MUCH different - an antique or two and that's about it. The other houses were jam-packed with antiques.

Next year we may just put up wreaths too :D

Everything that I had researched pointed to the fact that the house was built in 1948. There is even an inscription on an outside brick with a date of 8/16/48. So, I confidently ordered my plaque with the 1948 year on it. Then about 2 weeks later, I finally heard from one of the original owners sister-in-law. She told me that she and her husband spent their honeymoon in the house in mid-1947. And that the house was complete by that time. A few things here and there were needed, but it was livable. If you look at my blog under keyword "research", you will see all the info that I found, as I found it.

We enjoyed the tour immensely and would do it again in a heartbeat.