Four homes will be featured in the 19th annual St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Christmas Homes Tour, which will be available for viewing on Dec. 5. Following are details about each of the homes and their decor.
Tracey and Henry Smith
Kings Crossroads, Fountain
Tracey Smith saw the house that inspired her dream home while she was visiting Arlington, Texas.
After obtaining the plans from the Oregon-based architect, she and her husband, Henry, hired builder Ollie Harrington to make that home a reality on their Pitt County property in 1989.
In 2016, a renovation designed by Joey Gibson with work by Bill Kidd allowed the family to personalize the home for their current needs. An elevator and ramps were installed so each room could be easily accessed. A library, featuring a spiral staircase with intricate wrought-iron railings, was added in place of a living room.
The Smiths worked with Linda Taylor at GardenKeepers Landscape & Design to John Garner of Southern Lights of Raleigh to create and illuminate their gardens.
Charles and Catherine Young
- Tarheel Drive, Washington, N.C.
Charles and Catherine Young’s welcoming Southern home in Washington is near where the Tar and Pamlico rivers meet. The house was built 1987, although the Youngs would not become its owners until 30 years later.
Water can be seen from every window in the house. The back offers river views, while the front has a pond, referred to as “The Sand Pit.” The Youngs are able to fish from both.
Festive decorations begin by the water with a crab pot Christmas tree. A pier has been transformed into “Santa’s Landing Strip,” complete with lights designed to guide his sleigh.
The inside is filled with holiday treasures as well. Catherine’s grandparents gave her a rocking chair with Santa Claus and bought the creche in the 1930s when they were in Germany.
It is a Young family tradition to buy each other Christmas ornaments each year and hide them on the tree. Family members spend some time on Christmas Eve hunting for new ones.
Their favorite room downstairs features a fireplace and grill used for roasting marshmallows and making s’mores with their grandchildren. The mantle is courtesy of the dog: it features a piece of driftwood that Kirby fetched from the river.
Caroline and Tom Luvender
- Baywood Drive
Caroline and Tom Luvender acquired their home on Baywood Drive just over a year ago, but the unique ranch was built by Hardy Harvey of Kinston in 1976.
The U-shaped home features a sunken dining room, beautiful wood-paneled walls in the sitting room and a beveled glass window between the kitchen and sitting room.
The large foyer features a metallic dogwood wallpaper, and the living room showcases the work of North Carolina artists Denise Landi and Murphy Ayala. It is home to a chinoiserie secretary which holds some of the couple’s cherished collections and is where their flocked Christmas tree, adorned with silk amaryllis, is displayed.
A Santa figure, made two decades ago by Caroline’s mother, is dressed in fabric from one of her cocktail dresses. Other heirlooms include and a dining room table and chairs and sideboard from Caroline’s family in Burlington. A handmade mannequin, better known as the Grand Duchess, is dressed for a party in jewelry from Caroline’s shop, Elizabeth Richards Collection.
The paneled sitting room is painted a deep navy blue. The coffee table holds beautiful gilded gold and oyster Tommy Mitchell orchids. Also in this room is the Luvender creche.
Manny Zervos and Cindy Mills
- Pinecrest Drive
Located on Pinecrest Drive, the home of Manny Zervos and Cindy Mills is often referred to as the Minges house. That’s because popular architect George Shoe was retained by Jack and Thorburn Minges in 1958 to design and build a modernist home.
The house features many design elements of the mid-century period, including dimmer switches, an intercom and sound system throughout the house, a dumbwaiter to the second floor, accordion doors that fold into the wall and a concealed bath scale that also folds into the wall.
All these features still function today! In addition, the woodwork throughout the home is original, as is the tile in the guest bathrooms.
The view from the foyer includes a massive floating staircase featuring solid brass handrails, newels and balusters. The walls behind and above the staircase are covered with a beaded red wall covering by Maya Romanoff.
The sunken living room, furnished with period-specific pieces, flows from the foyer in an open floor plan. The floor-to-ceiling windows in this room are draped in a meander or “Greek key” design.
The dining room includes a 1960 chandelier above a round dining room table with original 1960s dining chairs.
All are set against navy blue cut velvet, which adorns one wall and an accent wall in the living room. One of the three original dimmer switches, the size of a coffee cup saucer, is in the dining room.
The remainder of the downstairs features a guest bedroom and bath, the kitchen, den, powder room and study with a wet bar and access to a side patio. Christmas trees adorn many of these rooms. The furnishings in the home are all period correct, including a 1960 Seeburg Jukebox.
Upstairs the master bedroom, dressing room, and bath extend from the grand staircase. A garage, outdoor kitchen, pool and fire pit have been added to the property with care not to disrupt the home’s original exterior design features.
St. Paul virtual Christmas homes tour tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.stpaulsepiscopal.com (Christmas Homes Tour Tab) or https://www.eventbrite.com/e/st-pauls-episcopal-church-19th-annual-christmas-homes-tour-tickets-119085803845.