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Visiting for Charity

Annual home tour raises money for local charities.

Shelly Stuart is excited to be coordinating St. Francis Episcopal’s annual home tour. “It’s quite an honor,” Stuart said.

This is the 48th year that the church has been holding the fund-raiser which benefits many area charities, but it is Stuart’s first time in charge. “It’s a great tradition,” she said.

Last year, the tour raised approximately $80,000 and this year Stuart is hoping to exceed that level.

Four homes will be featured on this year’s tour — The Kentsdfale Estates Home, The Avenel Home, The Signora Home and The Howard Home. “They’re all different, and they’re all beautiful,” Stuart said. “Each house has it’s own, distinct decorating style.”

The Kentsdale Estates home will showcase what can be done in an extensive remodeling and expansion project. “They really did have a good idea of putting a renovation on the house tour,” said Griff Gosnell, owner of the home. “The average person is likely to renovate, maybe this will give them some inspiration.”

Gosnell, a builder, had access to the craftsmen who could supply him with the necessary features. “We’ve taken a 1980s house and turned it into a 21st century house,” Gosnell said. “It got the kinds of things you really enjoy to have.”

Part of remaking the home included expanding it from 4,900 square feet to 6,500. “It’s a pretty substantial addition,” Gosnell said. The Gosnells added a master bedroom suite and converted a porch into a breakfast sunroom.

The most difficult part of the remodel for Gosnell, was the kitchen. Having the kitchen in the foyer for a couple of weeks was “like living in a one bedroom apartment,” he said.

One of his favorite additions is an internal area for entertaining which he taken to calling the gathering room. “It’s really centrally located in a very important area of the house,” he said.

Another home featured on the tour started out as a sketch. “We were on vacation and we just started drawing on a napkin and it just sort of evolved,” said Jennifer Signora of her 15,000 square foot home.

The one-and-a-half-year-old house is home to five small children and is characterized by Signora as a real, working home. “It’s not one of those pristine places the kids can’t touch,” she said.

Signora thinks that people who have built or remodeled a home will have a special appreciation for her home. “I think if you’re into that field you’ll really appreciate it,” she said.

The detail about the Signora home which is most likely to surprise visitors is the basement which houses a 60 percent scale model of a village, complete with a car and airplane. “It’s kind of like a mini-Georgetown,” Signora said.

Signora, like many of those involved is excited to be a part of the charitable effort. “It’s just a nice way of us giving back, a little, to the community,” Signora said.