Tour offers glimpse of historic homes
BY KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
It’s one of Mt. Pleasant’s signifiers the holidays are just around the corner, the T.T.T. Annual Tour of Homes.
For many, the tour is a way to see some of the city’s most historic homes. For others, it’s a tradition in finding new ways to decorate their own homes for the holidays. That’s exactly how Betty Huston and Carol Klopfenstein, both of Winfield, view the tour. “We like to see all of the different decorations,” said Klopfenstein. The duo has been on the tour more years than they can count. “We use to say ‘now we can go home and decorate,” said Klopfenstein. “Now we just reminisce,” added Huston.
Marlene Reid, of New London, was excited to see the Gray house.
“I saw the house the last time it was on the tour, I was excited to see so many improvements,” she said.
The home, owned by Sara and Tim Gray, was built in 1867, and is located at 206 North Adams St. Both Sara and Tim, as well as their eldest son, Garett, were on hand to shed light on the home’s history. One of the most popular rooms of the tour was the “map room”. The room, which was originally designed as either a reading room or sewing room, is lined with pre-1945 National Geographic maps. “It’s not necessarily my cup of tea,” Sara tells a tour goer, “but we wouldn’t think of changing it. Everyone loves it.”
“Garett is very into WWII young adult fiction so, when he’s reading, if he doesn’t know where something is, he comes in here and finds it,” she said.
The first time the Gray’s were on the tour was either eight or 10 years ago, depending on if you’re asking Sara or Tim.
“We showed it before we started working on it,” said Tim. “It makes you pretty proud of the work you’ve done. All of the bruises and bumps you’ve gotten through the course of remodeling your home,” he said of showing off the home’s renovations.
Sara said the couple’s philosophy is to do the work right the first time. “We concentrate on doing things right. If we can’t afford to do a renovation the correct way, we wait until we have the money saved,” she said.
Sara said the renovations they’ve done have led to some stories, but it’s also helped them discover more and more of the home’s history.
“We had the original widows taken out and put Pella windows in and we found, wedged in behind the window, a pair of spectacles,” she told a crowd in the map room. “They were from 1867. The contractor must have taken them off and set them down and they’ve been in there since 1867.”
Another historical house on the tour was that of Emilie and David Glass. The 160-year-old home, called Somerset came into the Glass family by way of Emilie’s grandparents, ML and Suzanne Dickson who purchased and then renovated the home in the 1940s.
“Living here makes me appreciate my grandmother’s creativity. And it makes me feel close to my grandfather, I miss him,” said Emilie.
The Glass’ daughter will be the fifth-generation to live in the home.
Interestingly enough, Emilie’s grandmother, Susanne, not only lived in Somerset, but also in another home being featured on this year’s tour. Suzanne Dickerson’s father owned the Brazelton and as a child, she grew up there.
Although the Brazelton was not decorated for the holidays, some guests saw a bit of wintery flare in the historic building. Each apartment at the Brazelton is a bit like a snowflake, each is a bit different and unique, Anita Hampton, of Mt. Pleasant, pointed out.
“It’s amazing how they optimized the space and cut out so many different configurations,” she said.
Hampton said her favorite part of the Bazelton apartments were the large, historic windows and the amount of natural light the apartments would receive.
Those looking for holiday decorating ideas looked no further than the homes of Danielle and Nathan Scott and Sheila and Gary Allender.
The Scott home let adults step into the world of Dr. Seuss as the home was decorated like Whoville. “We grew up with Dr. Seuss, we wanted whimsical and bright colors,” said Danielle. Danielle began working on the designs about a year ago. “I had a vision of what I wanted and we put it together,” she said.
The end result had guests gasping and saying “this is so cute!”
Last, but certainly not least on the tour was the Allender home. Sheila Allender’s home was bursting with holiday cheer. “This is how I decorate every year,” she said when asked if she had stepped up her holiday game for the tour. “Everything here is what I use every year, we just change it up to make it look different.”
Allender said she was thrilled to show her house and share some of her inspiration during the most festive time of the year.
The tour, which is presented by T.T.T. is the organizations main fundraiser. Funds from Sunday’s event will go towards helping to send girls to camp.