The holiday frenzy skids to a dead stop on the polished hardwood floors of Mike and Mary Beth Wielgopolski's living room.
It's an old-fashioned Christmas here: quiet and genteel, decorated with representations of the natural materials that would have been used to deck one's halls hundreds of years ago. Ribbons, pinecones, fruit, berries, and feathers dress a large evergreen tree in one corner, a wreath above the fireplace, and garland that rests on the mantel, tops the windows, and cascades from wall sconces.
Come see for yourself - It's one of seven stately homes that will be open to the public from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday for the 2008 Westmoreland Holiday Home Tour.
Designated a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, the neighborhood off Bancroft Street, between Parkside Boulevard and Upton Avenue, was platted in 1916. Today Westmoreland has 216 homes built in a variety of architectural styles, and residents who form a close-knit community.
"It's probably the friendliest neighborhood I've ever lived in," Mr. Wielgopolski said. "People are civic-minded, and we take care of each other in many ways."
The Wielgopolskis moved into the 3,500-square-foot Georgian Colonial Revival home at 1978 Richmond Rd. 3 1/2 years ago. Built in 1927 for Sherwood Pinkerton - of Pinkerton Tobacco Co. - and his wife, the house was in a sad state of disrepair when its third owners arrived.
The Wielgopolskis have been renovating ever since, repairing structural damage, restoring original features, and adding contemporary elements that coexist seamlessly with "architecture you can only find in homes likes this," Mrs. Wielgopolski said.
(Such architecture includes at least one house in the neighborhood with a basement fallout shelter and another with a hiding place created to stash liquor during Prohibition.)
The Wielgopolskis' living room is one of seven areas the couple has decorated for the home tour. All have a different feel.
The dining room, decorated in a holly berry theme, also has a tabletop tree in one corner with Polish ornaments and artifacts that honor Mr. Wielgopolski's heritage. Off the dining room, through unusual arched, trifold glass doors, is a sun room decorated for the holidays in a woodland theme with ducks, birds, leaf garland, and cranberry roping.
Decorations in the eating area of the new kitchen reflect the homeowners' interest in wine. Mrs. Wielgopolski, founder of a neighborhood wine club, adorned a little tree with wine bottle corks and ornaments in the shape of wine glasses and clusters of grapes.
Other holiday highlights in their home include a "Notre Dame tree" in the basement decorated in blue and gold.
Just one street over, at 2140 Mount Vernon Blvd., Dave and Diana Dittman will open their home to the public as well. The 4,400-square-foot, Jacobethan-style home was built in 1949 and has four bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths.
Among the eight rooms that will be open is a huge, two-story great room to the left of the front door. Its wood-beamed ceiling, stone fireplace, earthy colors, and stained, leaded-glass windows create feelings of warmth and coziness despite its size. That's just what they were after, said Mrs. Dittman - "comfy, not stuffy."
Offsetting the heaviness of color and furnishings is a tree decorated with white mini-lights, icicles, and frosted white balls.
Other highlights of the Bueche-Dittman House tour include whimsical holiday decorations in their toddler's room, and daisy-themed ornaments on a tree in a bedroom that's stenciled with a field of flowers.
Other homes on the Westmoreland Holiday Home Tour are:
•Edelstein-Black House, 2160 Mount Vernon.
•Fleischman-Lake House, 1634 Mount Vernon.
•Donovan-Lankey House, 1959 Richmond. This house was designed by renowned architect David L. Stine, who also designed the Lucas County Courthouse, Scott and Waite high schools, and the Edward Drummond Libbey House in the Old West End.
•Hawk-Kilbert House, 1967 Richmond. Holiday decor in this home - once the home of Philip Nash, fourth president of the University of Toledo - will include works of several area glass artists. Many of the pieces will be available for purchase.
•Campbell-Frazier House, 2031 Richmond.
The Westmoreland Holiday Home Tour is held every three years. Proceeds from the 2008 tour will be split between the neighborhood association and Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Ohio.
The Westmoreland Holiday Home Tour takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday in the historic West Toledo neighborhood off Bancroft Street about a mile east of the University of Toledo. Tickets are $10 in advance from 419-539-6959, or online at westmorelandassociation.org, or $12 on Sunday. A free shuttle will operate from the parking lot on Parkside Boulevard opposite Gesu Church. Information: westmorelandassociation.org.
Contact Ann Weber at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or 419-724-6126.42.15659 -74.52948