2009 Romeo Christmas Home Tour
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.
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.