The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 5, 2012

Homes in holiday splendor


DANVILLE — Four beautiful homes, all decked out in holiday splendor, will be featured in Danville’s Holiday Tour of Homes from 2-6 p.m. Sunday. Money raised will directly benefit the American Diabetes Association and the Provena Regional Cancer Center.

Chris Fitzsimmons, chairman of the event, said, “We want to thank all the homeowners for opening up their truly beautiful homes for such wonderful causes. All the money raised will help people locally whose lives have been touched by diabetes or cancer,” she added.

Homes on the tour include:

Larson wants to share her home with other people so they can realize the potential of some of these downtown houses. This year the Wandses and Mary Morrison have helped the Larsons transform this beautiful home into a holiday showplace.

For Christmas, she uses different colors on each tree — including purple, red and white, and bronze — to complement the décor in each room. Her extensive front porch area is lit up and decorated with live greenery, and elaborate centerpieces and mantle decorations complete the festive display.

In her job with the City of Danville, Larson and her team have brightened up the downtown area with stunning holiday lights and decorations for all to enjoy.

What started as a 1,000-square-foot bungalow — the home of Danville’s own football legend, Zeke Bratkowski — is now a 3,200-square-foot ranch. The Rodmans designed the home themselves, describing it as a “little bit of Michigan.”

The cathedral ceiling spanning 65 feet lends itself to an open, yet inviting feeling. Thanks to Steve’s love of woodworking, guests will find restored antiques and many custom designed pieces throughout their home. Their Christmas décor includes five themed Christmas trees, featuring a unique fishing tree that was added this year.

The Rodmans find the holidays to be magical, and they hope that their participation in this year’s tour will enhance the lives of those affected by diabetes and cancer.

The couple moved to their Lake Vermilion property eight years ago after raising three sons in an 1860s Victorian house in Ridge Farm. Their goal was to accentuate the charm of this cottage style home by including a field stone fireplace, knotty pine paneling, a sunroom, terra cotta tiled sidewalk and a brick patio.

Within the past eight years, they’ve added 50 steps leading down to Lake Vermilion and numerous renovations to the interior of the home.

They also have enjoyed learning about the former owners of this house, including the Hegelers, the Papes and the Paxtons, all recognizable Danville names.

The Lickfetts have always loved decorating for Christmas, and after 41 years of marriage their collection continues to grow and to be reused in different ways.

Eight sparkling Christmas trees, each with a special theme, bring Yuletide magic to the house. Heirloom 1929-vintage glass ornaments decorate a tabletop tree, and a collection of antique furniture and glassware is displayed throughout the home. Natural materials and touches of whimsy that appeal to their two grandchildren and the young of heart are intermixed with the holiday bling.

The mural in the foyer, painted by Lisa, was inspired by a prairie restoration on the family farm, and the fresh evergreens and the Christmas tree in the Burgess home were cut on that farm. The living room boasts a wood-burning fireplace with a unique feature — a swinging metal arm that can hold a pot of wassail suspended over the warming fire.

Following tradition, the tree stays up at the Burgess household throughout the “12 Days of Christmas,” a period that concludes Jan. 6. This is the Feast of the Epiphany — the date when the Christian church celebrates the Magi’s visit to the Christ child. The tree is also decorated with 12 Days of Christmas ornaments.

Old house enthusiasts should be interested in the re-design of the kitchen suite, where a sitting room and bathroom were created from the original attached garage that was suitable for one Model-T car. The sitting room, which doubles as a guest room, features a wall of shelves that conceals a Murphy bed.

Sponsors for this event are Chittick Family Eye Care, Illini ATV World and the Danville Area Tour of Homes (now a 501 C-3).

If you go

Tickets for the Holiday Tour of Homes cost $15 per person and are available at Berry’s Garden Center and Flower Shop, Charlotte’s, Chittick’s Family Eye Care Associates, Rabbittown Antiques and Artisans, Rustic Charm and Shick’s Office Supply.

Tickets also will be available at each home on the day of the event. If you would like to purchase tickets in advance, receive more information, or make a donation to the Holiday Tour of Homes not-for profit entity, contact Chris Fitzsimmons at 497-1037.