August of 2009 is the anniversary of when I became a homeowner. It also, not so coincidentally, marks when I began noticing all things house-related wherever I went. Before moving into my tiny 1950’s one-and-half-story home, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the difference between eggshell and matte paint, what is so special about stainless steel appliances, or how some glossy white trim can really make the color on the walls pop. But when my husband and I bought our first house, I quickly started learning and forming my opinions.
First up: We needed a new front door pronto, so every evening walk around the neighborhood my eyes were trained on the front doors, deciphering colors, styles, doorknob finishes. When we decided to add some privacy to our backyard, I eagerly researched fence styles during my lunch break and quickly formed opinions on shadow boxes and privacy fences. And this fall, as my husband and I gear up to tackle our kitchen, I look forward to watching HGTV, browsing through magazines and picking up ideas from friends’ houses to help me create a kitchen I’ll love.
That’s one of the many reasons I was excited to hear that White Bear Lake will be hosting the annual White Bear Area Historic House Tour on September 30. Not only can you learn about the rich history of the area by stepping inside these old homes, you can explore a variety of decorating styles and options and see how these homeowners made their vision a reality.
Who knows, maybe after a day exploring White Bear I’ll be invigorated to tackle that daunting decorating task at home—or better yet, feel inspired to find out the history behind the initials carved in the wood paneling upstairs, next to “4 feet 11 inches.” I’d also like to dispel the neighborhood rumor that the former owners used to keep snakes loose in the attic! My house is only 60 years old, yet it probably offers a wealth of information and history to anyone curious enough to discover it.
Check out the September issue of White Bear Lake Magazine, available September 1 at whitebearlakemag.com, to learn more about the White Bear Area Historic House Tour. Until then, here are some tour details to hold you over and help your planning...
This year the event will be held noon to 6 p.m. September 30. Visitors can register online for $25 or pay $30 on-site, then enjoy an afternoon perusing the houses at their own pace. Since it’s a self-guided tour with an information booklet and map, visitors can pick and choose which homes to visit and can pause for an afternoon treat at a local venue if they so please. Houses are selected in each of the five communities surrounding the lake, so visitors can walk between homes clustered together, but will likely need a vehicle to complete the full circuit.
To register for the event or to nominate a home for the 2013 tour, visit whitebearhistory.org.