The African safari-themed Christmas tree alone is enough to send anyone in the holiday spirit over the edge.
But that's not all. Jim Moore and Tim Valko have a total of seven holiday trees of various sizes in their Westmoreland home.
Their home is one of seven houses in the neighborhood to be open for public viewing during the Westmoreland Holiday Home Tour scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday. The noted Toledo neighborhood of 216 homes is located east of the University of Toledo, bounded by Parkside Boulevard, Upton Avenue, West Bancroft Street, and Clarenden Drive.
The animal ornaments on the couple's safari tree include the faces of apes and zebras as well as stylish animal-print ribbon. The large trees in the living room are decorated with blown-glass treasures from their Christopher Radko collection of 500 holiday ornaments. A tree in the foyer is covered in gold ribbon and bulbs, and icicle ornaments.
It's a Christmas wonderland, but it's the renovation and interior design in Mr. Moore and Dr. Valko's 5,000-square-foot home at 1969 Potomac that truly catch the eye.
They installed hardwood floors, hired an artist to do faux painting on the walls going up the impressive circular staircase, and gutted several rooms and a closet to install a wet bar on the first floor. In one bathroom, an antique punch bowl became a sink.
“We used to own the house across the street at 2005 Potomac, and we did a lot of renovation there, and here we are again at this house, still working on it. Whenever you move into a home it becomes your own, and you work to make it work for you,” said Dr. Valko, who is a child psychiatrist.
Mr. Moore, an interior designer, is the true genius behind the home's new look, said Dr. Valko, adding that his forte is working on the lighting, and anything to do with the kitchen. “I'm the cook,” he said.
Their home is known as the Harris House, built of limestone in 1939 and influenced by Italian design.
The house features four bedrooms, three full baths, two half-baths, three fireplaces, and a kitchen with a six-burner oven and steel restaurant-capacity fridge.
The paintings of Al Lachman, a favorite of the owners, whose work can be seen throughout the home, including a commissioned piece which depicts the couple's former house at 2005 Potomac.
In the foyer is an example of the body-cast work of Phillip Hitchcock, and a larger-than-life piece titled Winged Warrior is on the wall of the second floor hallway.
Throughout the house is an insect theme created by bug lover Mr. Moore, and in the living room is a 1913 piano the two purchased for $150. It has been refinished and converted into a player piano, and will play during the Holiday Home Tour.
Julianne Tucker, spokeswoman for the Westmoreland Association, sponsors of the tour, said the houses' history and extensive interior design work are what will attract many to the event.
“In one of the homes on Richmond there is an elevator that was actually installed to accommodate U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, who was then the governor of New York and a close friend of the first owner,” Mrs. Tucker said of the house, built in 1923 at 2048 Richmond by Badger Crosswell Bowen.
Mr. Bowen, who managed a publishing firm when he arrived in Toledo in 1899, later formed a partnership with William B. Welles to create the Welles-Bowen development company.
“History buffs as well as home lovers are attracted to these homes,” she added.
Also on tour are:
Tickets for the Westmoreland Holiday Home Tour are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. For advance tickets or more information call 535-5663.
A TARTA trolley will run from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday and will stop at every tour house.
For information on Westmoreland's history, log on to: www.westmorelandtoledo.org.