Get Ready for "A Merry Sumter Christmas"

Annual Holiday House Tour and Tea set for Dec. 1


A premiere event in the Sumter community is set to take place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. The annual Holiday House Tour and Tea - this year named "A Merry Sumter Christmas" - will give visitors the opportunity to tour lovely Sumter homes and enjoy displays of beautiful Christmas d cor.

In addition to home tours, tickets include a splendid tea from 3 to 5 p.m. at Alice Boyle Garden Center, 842 W. Liberty St. The Garden Center will be beautifully decorated, and tasty treats will be served.

While the Council of Garden Clubs of Sumter presents this function, businesses and others in Sumter support it through sponsorship. The council especially thanks its Gold sponsor, Palmetto Gas Appliance Superstore, and Silver sponsor, Carolina Security & Fire, for their contributions.

Advance tickets are available at the Swan Lake Visitors Center, 822 W. Liberty St. On the day of the tour, tickets may be purchased at tour homes or, starting at 11 a.m., from Alice Boyle Garden Center.

The following homes are on the tour:

Emily and Daly Ward

2301 Clematis Trail

Emily and Daly Ward have lived in their Clematis Trail home for more than 20 years and have been faithful to their desire to make it comfortable for their large family, while allowing them to entertain friends, family and children's friends in a casual atmosphere. The home has gone through three renovations, with the last and most extensive after the 1,000-year flood in October three years ago.

The result is a mixture of a 1970's rambling ranch with a touch of contemporary flair perfectly blended with treasured family antiques. With design assistance from Sumter architect Bucky Monroe and updated lighting from Sumter Lighting and Home, the home was transformed into an open concept. The entry foyer changed from merely functional, with a large walk-in closet, to fabulous. And, from a grand entrance, what was once a typical four-walled, multi-door family room has become a grand gathering room with wide-plank acacia hardwood flooring, columns and an open transition to the outdoors.

While home styles today are all about being "open," the Wards also liked many features reminiscent of the '70s. Their former traditional living room is now a parlor/game room/overflow dining room. A new ceiling beam allowed the great room to enlarge and provide a space for newly installed French pocket doors. Typically, the doors are open, providing an easy flow into the formal dining room, great room and kitchen. The Wards enjoy entertaining and have found the new floor plan conducive to allowing guests to move around freely.

While the kitchen has elegant bronze-colored granite countertops and an impressive glass backsplash, it is a comfortable and inviting room with an antique lazy Susan table rescued decades ago from a High Point, North Carolina, barn by Daly's mother - perfect for an on-the-go family. When relaxing time comes, they can enjoy a view of the pool area from the kitchen, a sun room addition and screened-in porch.

Holiday House Tour visitors will exit through the outdoor living area where the family enjoys the large pool and playground. There you will see a former child's playhouse that the homeowner and his granddaughter converted to an artist's studio, complete with new light-friendly doors and an artsy, painted floor.

Christmas decorations will include three traditionally decorated trees- two inside and a very large tree on the porch. Expect to see an elegant dining room, featuring fresh holly greens that complement a beautifully set table, under the watchful eyes of ancestors' portraits. Other d cor will include a variety of nativity scenes, Christmas adornments from travels around the world and from the homeowners' childhoods and their children's childhoods, including an elf collection and a mantel full of stockings.

Lynn and Keith Charpentier

5 Mill Run

The walkways fronting and leading into the Charpentier home are wrapped with art - wrought iron fence railings with extensive scroll designs, an ornate wall-mounted mailbox, stone pineapples and statuesque lions (William and Winston) at the front steps. The impressive ironworks evoke vivid images of Charleston's lovely gates and the city's welcoming stone pineapples; if one glances upward, the second-floor porch balustrades, also made of iron, remind you of a New Orleans home.

The large front porch will be lavishly adorned with holiday greenery and trimmings- setting the stage for the magnificent home d cor. Lynn and Keith's attractive home looks brand new, but it is 15 years old. As with all homes, there is wear and tear. Where the hardwood floor became worn at the front-door entrance, rather than refinish or replace hardwood, Lynn chose to install an inlaid tile rug, tastefully accentuating the home's d cor. It's a must see!

From the foyer, visitors will see decorations and Christmas trees throughout the first floor which includes the living room, family room, dining room and master bedroom. The second floor is home to three bedrooms and a cozy den with a most unusual ceiling fan.

Similar to many Lowcountry dwellings, water is intrinsic to this home's design, as it is located on the banks of Second Mill Pond, and a view of the pond can be seen from most rooms in the home. In addition to the beauty of the natural habitat, there are other water features: a pool with an exquisite pool house and a fountain in the front of the pool house. On cold-weather days, the outdoors can still be enjoyed poolside because there is an outdoor fireplace and a kitchen for making hot chocolate.

This is certainly a home that is full of inspiration, ideas and holiday style. Come and enjoy!

1912 Bed and Breakfast

Tracy and Thomas McLaughlin

24 Warren St.

Tracy and Thomas purchased their stately home in 2017 and quickly moved to Sumter to open their bed and breakfast. When the couple saw the house, known in Sumter as the Barnett House, they knew this structure built in 1912 was exactly the home they had been searching for.

They wasted no time making an offer and buying it. Their eagerness has paid off. In the past year, their business has often been filled to capacity, sometimes with guests from across the globe. Now they are ready to show you, too, how their home beckons visitors during the Christmas season.

Be on the lookout for a welcome from the homeowners who will be dressed in attire that reminds us of days gone by. Greetings will also come from the "Nutcrackers" throughout the home, part of Thomas' large "Nutcracker" collection.

From the foyer, the primary entrance into the home's interior is the parlor, a formal reception room, with intricate molding, original chandelier and hardwood flooring encompassed with inlays. The Christmas tree will flank the stairs to the guestrooms - complete with lovely antiques and period bathrooms. Two of three second-floor bathrooms have original tile and fixtures. Even though a third bath has been remodeled and includes heated floors and towel bars, it melds perfectly with the style of the home.

Adjacent to the parlor is a second gathering room, the living room, and in this space will be more of the owners' Christmas collections. Thomas said he loves to decorate for the holidays. "I'd love to do it 365 days a year, if I could," he said. So, expect to see the living room resplendent with ornamentation.

Visitors will enter the dining room from the living room. In here, the moldings have been painted white, and the walls are elegantly contrasted in dark blue. The colors blend masterfully with the home's 1912 backdrop but also have the appearance of Craftsman-style homes, lending a touch of one of today's hottest decorating trends.

While this home has some age on it (106 years), it has every convenience. That includes music throughout the house. The sights and sounds at the 1912 Bed and Breakfast will surely put you in the mood for "A Merry Sumter Christmas."

Kimberly and Cal Land

617 Henderson St.

Color! Color! Color! That's what will strike you upon entering the amazing home of Kimberly and Cal Land. Kimberly says her home is a "work in progress" as she and Cal have lived at 617 Henderson St. for just slightly over a year. Even so, the main living floor of the three-story home, reveling in Chinoiserie (Chinese-inspired) personality, looks like it should be gracing the covers of the best home decorating magazines.

If you think of Chinese d cor as paper lanterns and fans, red and black lacquer and match-stick pagodas - think again. Chinoiserie (a French term) originated in 17th- to 18th-century Europe. It is the European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions: elegant textiles and accessories, bold patterns, lattice-work design and classic blue-and-white porcelain ginger jars. This home has all of these things.

Throughout the house, there are beautiful ginger jars, dining chairs with fret backs and beautifully lacquered furniture. The colors in the home are primarily coral, turquoise and jade green, and because of the vibrant hues throughout the house, Kimberly feels that there is a touch of Palm Beach as well - rooms are light, bright, energetic, casual and comfortable.

While Cal is an attorney, he also enjoys the construction component of remodeling and contributed to many aspects of the project. Kimberly, a licensed attorney, also has a degree in Fine Arts with a focus on Graphic Design - her paintings are perfectly placed throughout. Perhaps that's the reason their home has so many lovely touches.

Expect to feel as though you are in a home on the precipice of Christmas Day. There will be lots of Christmas d cor, but it won't be in characteristic green and red tones. Their decoration choices are eclectic and whimsical. There will be a collection of Clothtique Santas, Arthur Court Rabbit ornaments and even a few flamingos on the Christmas tree.

Even though their Christmas adornments are splendid, you will know this family focuses on more than decorations. From the entrance hallway the first thing guests will see is an Advent calendar - a calendar Christians use to mark the four Sundays before the birth of Jesus. Likewise, numerous nativity scenes are placed throughout, and a player piano will be heralding the season with well-known hymns and secular music. Expect the spirit of Christmas in full abundance. Come soak it up!