Christmas home tours are Sunday

News editor

Marion City Library will have its annual Christmas home tours fundraiser from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

There are four homes on this year’s tour: the Historic Elgin Hotel, 115 N. 3rd St. and the homes of; Chad and Michelle Adkins, 420 N. Freeborn St.; Dean and Eileen Hiebert, 1418 E. Denver St.; and Brent and Heidi Thurston, 111 S. Cedar St.

Tickets will be available at the library and at the homes the day of the tour.

The library will serve refreshments and have books and gifts for sale, and Pat Wick will sell her book, “Another Day in the Country,” to benefit the library’s addition.

Historic Elgin Hotel

Jim and Nancy Cloutier own the Historic Elgin Hotel, residing on the third floor of the iconic limestone hotel built in 1886. It has been restored multiple times in its 127-year existence.

In keeping with the building’s vintage, the Cloutiers are decorating it for a traditional Victorian Era Christmas, manager Sherry Soyez said. Decorations won’t include many lights, because electric lighting wasn’t widespread in the Victorian Era.

“Victorian, you think of strings of cranberries, strings of popcorn,” Soyez said.

The hotel will be decorated with Victorian scenes, including carolers and sleighs, she said. The dominant decoration will be a 12-foot-tall tree in the ballroom, placed in front of a huge mirror.

“I think you see more of the back,” Soyez said. “It makes it brighter.”

After touring the first floor, visitors will take the main staircase — with its rail decorated in garland — to the second floor, where the bed and breakfast amenities are, Soyez said.

Decorations will include a smaller Christmas tree than the one in the ballroom, and visitors will be able to see what one of the bed and breakfast’s eight guest rooms are like, Soyez said.

420 N. Freeborn St.

The first signs of winter that visitors to Chad and Michelle Adkins’ home will see is a pair of red wooden skis outside the front door, in case the family gets snowed in.

The decorating theme varies depending on which room a guest is in. The family room, kitchen, and dining room are focused on family decorations, Michelle Adkins said.

The basement is decorated in a rustic theme, and the bathrooms have a snowman motif — one in blue, the other in red.

The library asked the Adkins family to be on the home tour in 2012, but there were unfinished remodeling projects at the time, so they said they would in a year, Adkins said.

1418 E. Denver St.

Dean and Eileen Hiebert’s home will be decorated heavily with nativity scenes to focus on the importance of Christmas, said Eileen Hiebert. The largest will be one that Dean is constructing out of wood to have looking into the house from the back patio.

Before seeing the nativity scenes, though, guests will find a pair of polished white, old-fashioned ice skates by the entrance.

Some other significant decorations were made by family members. A driftwood and metal lamp and a painting of a western desert vista were made by Dean’s father, Otto, and a spinning wheel was made by Eileen’s father, John Kroeker.

They will also have several Christmas trees throughout the house, including the main one in the living room, which is decorated entirely with collectible ornaments made by the Danbury Mint. Another tree with a western theme is decorated with lights in the shape of red chili peppers. Trees in the kitchen will be decorated to match the place settings at the table.

The “blue room” is decorated in white and blue snowmen and trees.

111 S. Cedar St.

Brent and Heidi Thurston’s home is decorated with a gingerbread theme. Heidi Thurston said most of her gingerbread-style decorations were Christmas gifts she received over the years.

She picked the style up from her grandmother, Elizabeth List, who always decorated with Christmas candies and gingerbread.

Her favorite decoration is a music box that was her grandmother’s, which plays “Jingle Bells” and has a Santa Claus figurine that skates on a pond when it is wound up. She said her grandmother gave her the music box when the family moved to Marion from Colorado. It is now her youngest daughter, Hannah’s, favorite decoration, too.

The family’s Christmas tree is decorated in baking-related items.

The Thurstons have almost continuously remodeled their home since moving in 15 years ago. The latest remodeling project included taking out a wall between the dining room and kitchen and rearranging the kitchen. Thurston said it makes the house feel much larger.

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