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Holiday Home Tour Time

Woman’s Club of McLean hosts 38th annual tour.

Once again, the Woman’s Club of McLean is presenting its Holiday Home Tour, decorating four local houses in various styles and themes to kick off the holiday season.

“This is our 38th year. We’ve become a McLean tradition,” said Joan Morton, a chairwoman for the event.

“We have four really beautiful homes this year. These are generous people in the community with good hearts,” she said of the homeowners.

The homes will be decorated beginning next Monday, and the tour itself will take place on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Morton said. The $20 admission fee will cover all four houses, and all proceeds will be given to local charities.

In some cases, the homes are decorated using items the homeowners already have, with themes centering around the family’s interest, Morton said. In other cases, the Women’s Club’s will discuss a theme with the family, then go purchase decorations to be used in the home, which the family could later purchase or which will become part of the Club’s resources for future years.

“The homes are decorated within three days,” Morton said.

“A lot of people said it’s the beginning of the holidays in McLean,” she said of the home tour. “It gets people in the holiday spirit, right after Thanksgiving. People come out and enjoy it.”

Each home will have a different theme, from a traditional Williamsburg Colonial style to a children’s tree, and some homes will have several trees because of their large size, Morton said.

Phyllis and Robert Verhalen have agreed to open their home to the tour this year.

“Our home will be decorated in a Williamsburg style, which fits because we have a Colonial-style home with traditional furniture,” she said. “The table will have a centerpiece that will include fruit. There will be a lot of green swags and red bows.”

There will also be an artificial Christmas tree decorated with bows, she said.

“THEY’RE GOING TO DECORATE the outside of the house, too. They’ll put swags in the windows and wreaths on the doors,” Phyllis Verhalen said. “All the rooms in the house will be decorated. There will probably be a bed table set up with some Christmas-looking china in the master bedroom.” A three-tiered fountain in the yard will also be decorated with icicle lights to make it look like the fountain has icicles, she said.

“The Women’s Club does wonderful things for the community with the money they raise,” she said, which is why she agreed to open her home for the anticipated 800 to 1,000 people who will take the tour. “These are very hard-working ladies, and this is the biggest fund-raiser they do all year.”

Verhalen was a member for about 15 years and used to help decorate houses on the tour. “I never thought to have my own house decorated,” she said.

She has no regrets or reservations about turning her home over to the Women’s Club for decorating or for the tour. “There will be a nice Christmas-smelling potpourri burning on the stove during the tour, and someone will be assigned to every room, so I’m not nervous,” she said. “These women are all friends I’ve had for close to 30 years.”

Sheila and Chuck Mudd were invited to offer their home for the tour during a reception for the McLean Project for the Arts, after talking with a friend and some members of the club.

“Our house will have two themes,” she said. “The main level will be sophisticated and decorated in gold and copper, and the lower level will be a children’s theme, because our three grandsons from Cincinnati are coming in for Christmas.”

Mudd and her husband moved to McLean from Reston a little over a year and a half ago, so their home wasn’t decorated for Christmas last year. “This will be the first time we’ve seen the house decorated,” she said. “We thought this would be a great way for us to introduce ourselves to the community.”

Their home will also include four artificial Christmas trees. “If you put a live tree up now, it’ll be in pretty bad shape by Christmas,” Mudd said.

She anticipates 10 women will be working on her home, and she’s “very anxious” to see the final results. “The parts I’ve seen have been fabulous,’ she said. “There’s a lot of talent in that group.”

The women working on the homes consulted with Mudd and her husband in July about their home’s theme. “They enjoyed some of our decorations and based our theme on that,” she said. “My husband thinks all this is great. He told me to purchase the decorations they’re using so we can add them to our collection.”

The decorators had a garland specially made for the home’s three-story staircase. “They really did a marvelous job,” she said.

Cherry and Peter Baumbusch were kind of surprised when their home was selected for the home tour. Two of their four sons had just come home from art school the day before the Women’s Club came to look at their house.

“The house was a mess; their dirty clothes were all over the floor,” Cherry Baumbusch said. “My husband didn’t think there was any way we’d be chosen. We spent the morning putting everything into one room.”

She said that most of the decorations the women will be using are items she already owns. “I’ll actually be decorating all Sunday before they come, so I’m not sure how much they’ll have left to do,” she said. “I think they’re going to be bringing in garlands, and my husband usually buys a wreath for the outside of the house.

“It’ll be interesting to watch them work,” she said.

THEIR HOME, WHICH FEATURES two music rooms and a fireplace that is built into two rooms, will display three real Christmas trees.

“We used to have artificial trees because they all had allergies, but they can sneeze for a few weeks,” she said with a laugh, of her sons coming home for the holidays. “We’ll have the trees up before they come to decorate.”

She’s very excited to see how her home looks all decked out for the holidays. “We’re very honored to be included,” she said.

Owners of the fourth home on the tour, Diane Cox and B. William Basheer, were unavailable for comment.

The Holiday Home Tour will also feature a place for patrons to do some early Christmas shopping.

The Marketplace, at the Redeemer Lutheran Church on Chain Bridge Road, will feature homemade baked goods, a silent auction, “Grandmother’s Attic” secondhand goodies, and a light lunch menu at Café Noel. There is no charge to enjoy The Marketplace, the first stop on the Holiday Home Tour.

For those taking the tour, women are asked to wear low-heeled shoes. Parking space will be available at the Redeemer Church, and a map with directions and addresses of the homes on the tour will be available there as well. Patrons may drive to each of the homes individually, with the exception of the home of Chuck and Sheila Mudd. A shuttle bus to the Mudd home is available at the Trinity United Methodist Church on Dolley Madison Boulevard, as no parking is available at their home.

Tickets are available at Mesmeralda’s Gifts of McLean, The Golden Pineapple in Great Falls, Lemon Chiffon and Lemon Twist in Arlington, The Needlewoman East and Fox’s Music Co. in Great Falls, and at Karin’s Florist in Vienna.