VERSAILLES — It's clear that Sherry Young loves Christmas — from the green wreaths adorned with shiny, red, plaid bows hanging on the white picket fence to a porch appointed with a pint-size wood sleigh filled with wrapped presents.
With its lace-like woodwork and trio of peaked dormers in the front, the quaint, historic home she shares with her husband, Jackie, and son, Jax, looks made to be decorated for the holidays.
"I have always loved this house," said Young, who moved in about 13 years ago. "I use to walk by it every day as a kid."
Young is sharing her passion for the holidays as one of six houses on the Winter 2012 Holiday Homes Tour sponsored by the Woodford County Woman's Club.
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Including the Morgan Street home, known locally as the Porter House, was a no-brainer, said Linda Finnell, chairwoman of the tour. More than a decade ago, the Youngs' house was featured to rave reviews in a non-holiday tour. The festive decorations were a bonus this time.
The 2,700-square-foot home was built in the 1850s by Thomas Paine Porter, a lawyer. By the time the Youngs moved in, it was in shambles. "There were raccoons living in here," Young said.
Fortunately, the Youngs were old hands at renovation. They had lived in 15 houses in 15 years, renovating for a profit.
In spite of the extensive repairs, the process took only about four months, she said. The work crew, which had worked with the Youngs many times before, lived with the family during most of the construction.
Young said she tried to keep what she could from the original home, including the windows, a claw-foot tub, the heavy double doors that separate the original front rooms of the house, and the original floors. (Antique wood salvaged from a house in Berea was used in the new kitchen and dining room addition.)
Young said she hopes for a cozy, warm feeling in the home, mixing patterns and materials both store-bought and found at flea markets and yard sales.
Christmas decorating is a long process that begins with bins pulled out from where they are stored underneath the house. Each one is marked with what's inside for ease in recreating the many whimsical scenes that fill each nook.
The centerpiece downstairs is a ceiling-scraping tree covered in ornaments that don't match but somehow go together. Two of Youngs' favorites were made by her son.
Garland braided with red vines and entwined with red orbs and holly berries wind up the staircase and across the mantels. While some might be content to put away the elaborate ensemble intact, Young pulls apart the elements for storage and reassembles them each year.
There are treasures wherever the eye falls: from slouchy antique bears to an array of off-white birdhouses accented in a soft green to packages of old-fashioned-looking paper spread throughout the house.
The holiday theme carries through to the bedrooms upstairs with the tree in her son's room decorated with a personal twist reflecting his passion: soccer.
Young, who also goes all out for Halloween, said people don't need to be a designer to put together things they love or spend a lot of money for something precious. One of her favorite decorations are some ceramic Christmas elves that belonged to her grandparents. "They probably got them at a gas station," she said with a smile.