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Sunday, December 17, 2017, 8:08 a.m.

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Christmas homes tour set for Dec. 3

By Carol Rolf

This article was published November 26, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.

The Batesville home of Dustin and Monica St. John will be decorated with approximately 20 Christmas trees, including these in the dining room, which features wallpaper that is original to the house, built in 1921. Monica shown here, said each room will be decorated using various color-oriented themes.

— Four homes will be featured on the Batesville Preservation Association’s Christmas Tour of Historic Homes, scheduled from 1-4 p.m. Dec. 3.

Leslie Gitz, president of the Batesville Preservation Association, said this marks the first time in several years that the organization has sponsored a Christmas home tour.

“In the past, we sponsored a home tour at Christmas and one in the spring,” she said. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to do that in recent times. We are excited to be able to do it this year and hope we can continue the tradition.”

Terrell Tebbetts, former BPA president and current executive secretary responsible for communication, said this year’s theme for the tour is “From Old Times to Our Time.”

The “old times” will be represented by Garrott House at 561 E. Main St., where Tebbetts and his wife, Diane, live. Built by George Case in 1842, it is the oldest building in Batesville and Independence County and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

“We decorate both inside and out,” Terrell Tebbetts said. “My guess is that an equal interest to those who want to tour our house will be the many antiques and artwork by local and regional artists.

“We bought the house in 1990, worked on it for two years and moved into it in 1992.”

He added that he is distantly related by marriage to the home’s original owners.

Diane Tebbetts said the house reflects the 1880s, with many of the antiques being family heirlooms. Paintings on the wall are by former professors at Lyon College in Batesville, where Terrell teaches American literature, and by other regional artists, such as William McNamara.

Diane said she will put up a large display of Dept. 56 Snow Village pieces in the dining room and a large Christmas tree in the den by the fireplace that will feature ornaments collected by her three children as they were growing up.

The “our time” home at 990 E. College St. is owned by Dennis and Kathy Brooks.

“We are the newbie,” Kathy Brooks said, laughing. “We built our house two years ago.

“It was really important for us to build something that would fit into this historic neighborhood and yet be something we could live in as a modern house,” she said. “We are real happy with it. We love living down here.”

Brooks said their home is sometimes referred to as being in the bungalow style, “by its porch and other architectural features, but I think it is more in the style of a prairie farmhouse,” she said.

“It is one story and built to be quietly accessible for wheelchairs if ever needed,” Brooks said. “It also has zero stairs.”

She said the house will be decorated with art and antiques the couple have been collecting for 35 years.

“We have a lot of New England pewter pieces, red wood and wooden bowls,” she said. “We will use those pieces and balance them with glitter and sparkles. We will have a tree decorated with ornaments that date back to our grandparents.”

Terrell Tebbetts said two additional homes fall within the 175-year time span separating the construction of the two homes described above as “bookending the tour,” he said.

Tebbetts said the home of Carla Ladd at 456 Bates St. combines older and newer elements in its portmanteau style. W.L. Landers and his wife, Gertrude, built the home in about 1905 in the Queen Anne Cottage style, featuring a high-pitched roof and a wide front and side porch. Tebbetts said the Landers family enlarged the house in the 1920s, completing the rear and second-story addition in the bungalow style, which features a lower-pitched roof, exposed rafter ends and wide eaves supported by brackets.

Ladd moved into the home in September 2016 after doing some remodeling.

“My theme for decorating the house is ‘Let It Snow,’” said Ladd, who lived in Cave City for more than 20 years before moving to Batesville. “I’ll use icicles, snowflakes and crystals. I plan to have more than one Christmas tree inside … one big one and some accent trees. Outside will be decorated with the traditional snow, white lights and greenery.

“I am excited about being on the tour this year,” she said. “I had just moved in last year and only decorated just a little, so I am going to try to go all out this year.”

The home of Dustin and Monica St. John at 1013 E. Main St. is described by Tebbetts as “the grandest home on the tour.”

Built by I.N. Barnett II and his wife, Lockie Ball Barbett, in 1921, it represents the Classical Revival style with masonry construction in buff brick and limestone and a temple portico supported by Corinthian columns that front an arched entry surmounted by a shallow balcony.

The St. Johns bought the house in March 2013 and moved in later after remodeling it.

“It had set at least six years unoccupied,” Dustin St. John said. “We are the first non-family members to own the house. We hope to make this our permanent house where we can raise our two young boys.”

Monica St. John said the couple will decorate the 15-room home with about 20 trees.

“There will be something different in each room,” she said. “The themes will be color-oriented. We have collected trees and decorations ever since we got married in 2009.

“There were a lot of antiques left in the home when we bought it, and we have bought pieces ourselves, always knowing we wanted a big house.”

Tickets for the Christmas Home Tour are $15 each or two for $25. They are available in advance at the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce or at three banks — Citizens, First Community and Merchants and Planters. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

“This is a fundraiser for the Batesville Preservation Association,” Gitz said. “Our purpose is to champion revitalization … to support rehabilitation and preservation efforts in Batesville.”

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