Symphony friends focus on ‘home’ for fundraiser
JANESVILLE An old-fashioned wooden sled and a pair of ice skates greet guests to Irene and Donald Stewart’s North River Road home.
The steep driveway is reminiscent of farm hill slopes one might have spent hours sledding on, and a view of the river from the front porch brings back fond memories of childhood days spent gliding across ice-covered ponds.
The Janesville couple have brought the outside in with this Craftsman style house, which was built in 2006 on a hill overlooking the Rock River.
Upon entering the house, make sure to look around more than once—not just twice, but at least three times—so you won’t miss any of its unique features or special holiday decorations, including more than a dozen Christmas trees. Both combine “a mixture of traditional elements with arts and crafts plus things that are collected,” Irene said.
The home is one of six, plus the Janesville Woman’s Club, that will be featured on the Beloit Janesville Friends of the Symphony’s 2012 Symphony of Homes tour on Saturday, Dec. 1.
What initially comes into view in the Stewart home is the 10-foot Christmas tree in the living room. Three large-paned windows, each accented with Christmas wreaths in their centers, provide a perfect backdrop to the woodsy-themed decorations on the tree.
After stepping onto the beautiful hardwood floors, made from red oak logs from Don’s family farm. You’ll notice the double-sided stone fireplace and its 105-by-32-inch red oak mantle, which Don made from a log harvested years ago and saved in a shed until a perfect use for it was found.
“It was run through a circular saw mill,” Don said, running his fingertips across the wood grain of the mantel’s outer edge.
As you slowly take everything in, you’ll notice the white bisque porcelain Nativity set displayed on top of an entertainment center. Don and the Amish, who made all of the cabinetry and doors in the home, created the scene.
Next to the Nativity sits a curly willow floral display made by Irene, an avid floral gardener.
Don also built the dining room table, Irene installed the kitchen tile backsplash and their 15-year-old granddaughter crafted nearly 300 cinnamon ornaments that adorn three Christmas trees.
When you turn around to go downstairs, you’ll see a display of Victorian Santas, created by Irene, on one of three Craftsman sofa tables built by Don.
Every room in the house has a different ceiling height. The laundry room ceiling is 8 feet tall, the kitchen 9 feet, the main living room with is two-tiered tray ceiling and rope lighting is 10-, 11-, and 12-feet high while the front bedroom has a Dutch ceiling and the main bedroom has an 8- and 9-foot tray ceiling.
All of the home’s wood trim also features a lighter piece of inlaid wood for accent.
IF YOU GO
Who: Friends of the Beloit Janesville Symphony
What: 2012 Symphony of Homes
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1.
Where: At six Janesville homes, plus the Janesville Woman’s Club, 108 S. Jackson St., Janesville.
Tickets: $20, available in advance from Friends members; Vision Beloit, 500 Public Ave., Beloit; Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., Janesville, or at each home the same day.
Featured: Live music performed by local musicians in each of the homes, which each will be decorated for Christmas. Tate’s Trees of Waupaca supplied all of the trees, wreaths and boughs to help homeowners decorate their houses for the tour.
These six Janesville homes, plus the Janesville Woman’s Club, 108 S. Jackson St., Janesville, will featured on the tour:
4404 N. River Road—Irene and Donald Stewart own this craftsman-style home built in 2006. (See feature story)
120 S. Cherry St.—Cameron and Stephen Pickering own this pre-Civil War 1857 Italianate home in the city’s historic Old Fourth Ward District. The family will showcase inexpensive, handmade holiday decorations plus crafts to give guests ideas of what they can re-create with their children or grandchildren during the holidays.
4410 N. River Road—This 2,300-square-foot, half-log home, owned by Mary and Bill Williams, sits on a wooded lot overlooking the Rock River. The main Christmas tree can be found in the living room, which also houses a Steinway grand piano beneath cathedral ceilings. The couple’s childhood ornaments will adorn the tree in the family room while the kitchen tree will feature ornaments given to them while they were teaching.
238 S. Harmony—A collection of Santa Claus dolls and figurines, plus cross-stitched wall hangings and pictures, capture the traditional Christmas spirit in this home owned by Stephanie and Chris Aruta. Three trees are each decorated with a different theme—glitz and glimmer, an eclectic collection of Santa Claus ornaments and homemade Christmas ornaments.
31 S. Garfield—This New England shingle-style home sits on a 1w-acre wooded lot and is owned by John Reents. Its open design features a gourmet kitchen, stone fireplace and matching front entry, sunroom, breakfast nook, Craftsman wood doors and trim, plus a huge master suite with a fireplace and walnut cathedral ceiling in addition to three other bedrooms and baths.
115 S. High St.—Guests can feel free to sit in old chairs and walk on handmade rugs in Burdette Erickson’s house, which was built in 1908. Hundreds of old Christmas bulbs will hang throughout the house. Visitors also will get to view a large collection of Santa Claus masks, store props from the 1920s through the 1950s, oil paintings by Janesville artists, a collection of 68 dated Universal statues, political memorabilia and a parlor furnished with antique furniture and furnishings from Europe.
108 S. Jackson St.—This historic building is home to the Janesville Woman’s Club, and it will be decorated in a “White Christmas” theme. Members will serve refreshments, club affiliates will sell specific items and set tables will focus on world holidays. The newly refurbished Janesville Art League Gallery, housed upstairs, will be open for tours of their permanent collection.