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Published: Thursday, 12/4/2008

Welcome home: Old West End opens doors during its annual Tours de Noel

BY BRIDGET THARP
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A wreath made from tree boughs encircles the front door of the home of Bill Thien and Gary Sears at 2514 Parkwood Ave. The home will be featured in Tours de Noel, the annual holiday tour of homes in the Old West End of Toledo. A wreath made from tree boughs encircles the front door of the home of Bill Thien and Gary Sears at 2514 Parkwood Ave. The home will be featured in Tours de Noel, the annual holiday tour of homes in the Old West End of Toledo.
JETTA FRASER / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Behind the walk-through wreath that frames their Parkwood Avenue doorway, Gary Sears and Bill Thien have assembled more than a dozen Christmas trees to adorn their century-old home for the holidays.

The collection of trees has grown in the 16 years since the Tudor first became their home, and they start decorating the trees in October to complement their accumulated antique lamps, glass, and presidential prints.

Upstairs, a tree scattered with pheasant feathers is surrounded by the watercolors of wild birds that Thien, 70, an artist, has carefully crafted. Downstairs, a traditional Old World tree is placed between the antique melodian and Victorian-style couches.

The home will be open Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. during Tours de Noel, a tour of seven historic Old West End sites sponsored by the Women of the Old West End.

Sears said he won t mind having hundreds of strangers traipsing through his abode. It s nice to share your home with people. You know, they come in and see how you ve got it done. I know lots of people tell us the home feels warm, inviting when they come in, Sears, 62, said. I think what draws people to the neighborhood is the homes around here and how friendly people are.

Their home at 2514 Parkwood Ave., built in 1903 for a department store executive, has the original cherry wood in the living room, a wood-burning fireplace, and French-leaded glass doors.

The home was on display the year they moved in, and Thien said they are excited to show off more than a decade of renovations, including a recently installed antique buffet acquired from a razed house near the Toledo Museum of Art and woodwork restored from underneath years of paint.

Here s a look at some of the other homes on the tour:

Homeowners Denny and Betsy Fred Jurrus faced similarly daunting tasks when they renovated their Craftsman-style duplex on Islington after downsizing from their former 1,500-square-foot ranch in Sylvania Township.

Every eight or nine years she gets bored, we ve got to sell our house and get another one, Mr. Jurrus, 53, said, laughing.

The tiled fireplace and most of the woodwork in the lower part of the house was painted. The couple stripped and refinished the flawless oak butler pantries and built-in hutch.

It was a project, Mrs. Jurrus, 50, said of the purchase. I get a lot of catalogs, a lot of decorator magazines.

Built in 1914 for the head of a coal company, the duplex at 663 Islington features refinished oak floors, new marble bathtubs the ones with feet were too small, Mrs. Jurrus said and a new kitchen decorated in the spirit of Arts and Crafts with salvaged stained glass and tall, simple cabinets.

Three Christmas trees, including a skinny Victorian number in the living room, make the place holiday-ready. Swan Creek Candle Company sponsored the space, providing the elegant dining table centerpieces and a free gift for the first 150 guests to tour the duplex Sunday, Mrs. Jurrus said.

Upstairs is a space the Jurrus couple rents to their friends, Randy Blair, 50, and Bob Schiel, 55. While both units offer similar features, the impact of their different d cor is striking. Where the Jurrus unit favors sharp, simple lines, their upstairs neighbors prefer the elegance of Victorian style.

I think people are really going to enjoy the contrast, Blair said.

Also on the tour will be the Whitaker-Casper home at 2546 Glenwood Ave.

This Shingle Style home was built in 1907 and was the retirement home of Charles H. Whitaker, a hardware merchant. He kept his collection of rare books behind the glass-doored bookcases in the library.

The massive 5,700 square-foot, six-bedroom house on Glenwood Avenue is now home to Mary Casper and her family.

The family discovered the home s original architectural drawings inside a space concealed with wooden panels in their dining room under the stairway that 8-year-old Estelle Casper calls the secret room. The family arranged new antique-style sconce lighting based on those plans, which they keep framed in the home library, Mrs. Casper, 44, said.

The centerpiece of their Christmas display is a tree upstairs decorated with paper straws, a traditional European holiday motif handcrafted into ornaments by her husband s Lithuanian grandmother.

Their participation in the tour is meant to mark the 100-year birthday of their home, Mrs. Casper said.

FEA tour03p The logo for this year's homes on the tour. For story about the Old West End Tours de Noel, please shoot inside and out of these historic homes as they are decorated for the holidays.  The Parkwood home is decorated inside with at least 14 Christmas trees and Bill's handpainted prints of Lincoln, and their front door is framed with a walk-through wreath. About 10 a.m., try to hit up Islington, which is actually a duplex sponsored by Swan Creek Candles. Outside is decorated with window boxes and bows, and upstairs tenants, Bob and Randy are retired and can let you photograph both units. If you want to snag some other outside shots, I'm also including the following two addresses in my story: 2109 Scottwood & 2546 Glenwood. The Blade/Jetta Fraser FEA tour03p The logo for this year's homes on the tour. For story about the Old West End Tours de Noel, please shoot inside and out of these historic homes as they are decorated for the holidays. The Parkwood home is decorated inside with at least 14 Christmas trees and Bill's handpainted prints of Lincoln, and their front door is framed with a walk-through wreath. About 10 a.m., try to hit up Islington, which is actually a duplex sponsored by Swan Creek Candles. Outside is decorated with window boxes and bows, and upstairs tenants, Bob and Randy are retired and can let you photograph both units. If you want to snag some other outside shots, I'm also including the following two addresses in my story: 2109 Scottwood & 2546 Glenwood. The Blade/Jetta Fraser
JETTA FRASER / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Grand Queen Anne-style architecture provides a dramatic contrast against a young family s simple, modern d cor at the Scottwood Avenue home on tour.

A nine-foot-tall Christmas tree downstairs illuminates the original oak ceiling beams, woodwork, and cathedral-style, stained-glass windows beside the turret-enclosed staircases in the home owned by Jim and Kris Wielgopolski at 2109 Scottwood. A smaller metallic tree with handmade felt Noah s Ark ornaments decorates their son s room.

The family painted the outside of the house soon after they moved in 11 years ago and renovated an attic game room, but many other features remain original to the home, built in 1898 by Wachter and Hudson, who also built the art museum. A Quezel chandelier signed by the art deco-era artist hangs over the dining room table.

The tour will be the family s second; the first was in 2003.

It was fun. We got great feedback, and people really seemed to enjoy it, Mrs. Wielgopolski said. It s kind of nice when you get positive feedback. People really enjoy the decorating and the thought and the heart that you put in.

Along with the homes on the tour, three additional sites will be open to the public. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd.; Mansion View Inn (The Secor-Reynolds Home) 2035 Collingwood; and the Park Lane Apartments at 23rd and Jefferson, which will again open its dining room for lunch. Also at the Park Lane will be the annual Holiday Boutique and the Cookie Walk.

Tickets are sold at Curb's Candles, 3159 W. Central Ave., Honey I'm Home, 5200 Monroe St., David Swesey Florist Inc., 433 W. Dussel Dr., Kismet Home and Art, 123 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg, Downtown Latte, 44 S. St. Clair St. They also will be sold at the homes on the tour.

Contract Bridget Tharp at: btharp@theblade.com or 419-724-6061.



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