Library Friends unlock doors to local homes for the holidays

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 3, 2015


ROCHESTER — The owners of local homes decorated lavishly for the holidays will welcome visitors inside during the Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library’s annual Holiday Home Tour Nov. 15.

Included on the tour, which runs noon-5 p.m., are colonials in Oakland Township and Rochester Hills, a Craftsman-style ranch in Rochester Hills, a condominium in Shelby Township, and the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm — all of which organizers said will feature holiday décor, and unique architectural and decorating styles.

“I’m always amazed at the work that the homeowners put into these homes for the event. It’s just amazing,” said John Smyntek, a member of the Friends group. “The holiday season means a lot of different things to different people, and you can get a real snapshot of this in going around to the five places Nov. 15.”

Patricia Wireman, who is chairing this year’s event with Nina Macri, said one of the homes will feature over 100 Nativity crèche sets, 14 Christmas trees and 40-some nutcrackers, while another will showcase a large Dickens Village/Department 57 collection, as well as Nativity scenes from Israel and India. A third home will take visitors on a virtual trip to Poland with trees covered in glass-blown ornaments from the old country and other European Yule decorations, while yet another home will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland that includes a peacock-themed main tree in the great room.

“It’s kind of an eclectic group,” she said of the homes on the tour. “I always enjoy seeing all of the different collections people have for their Christmas displays and their different themes, and I try to incorporate some of the new ideas into my own decorating style.”

The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm will host a rare Sunday opening for the Holiday Home Tour, with three of its buildings — the Farmhouse, the Dairy Barn and the Red House — open to tour participants.

“It’s one of the showpieces of the Rochester and Rochester Hills area,” Smyntek said of the museum. “It’s going to be specially decorated for Christmas.”

The museum is also host to the event’s Holiday Gift Boutique, which will offer toffee, festive socks, scarves, holiday decorations and more.

Homes may be visited in any sequence, but visitors are encouraged to plan their day by using the map printed on their tickets. Docents will be at each location to guide visitors through and answer questions.

Tickets for the home tour cost $25 and may be purchased at Lytle Drugs, 340 S. Main St.; Sharon’s Hallmark, 115 S. Livernois Road and 3038 Walton Blvd.; Dillman and Upton, 607 Woodward St.; the Friends Store inside the Rochester Hills Public Library lobby, 500 Olde Town Road; and at by clicking on the Friends of the RHPL tab.

All of the proceeds from the tour, which is one of the Friends’ major fundraisers, will go directly into program funding for the library.

“It is one of the showpiece events that the Friends group does each year, and a lot of work goes into it,” Smyntek said. “This is a unique chance to see how other people decorate their homes.”

Those looking to kick off the Holiday Home Tour early are invited to a preview party 6-8 p.m. Nov. 11 at Hepplewhite’s Furniture, where the hosts of this year’s stops will talk about their homes amid entertainment, wine, champagne and appetizers.

Tickets for the preview party cost $25 and can be purchased at Lytle Drugs, Sharon’s Hallmark, Dillman and Upton, the Friends Store inside the Rochester Hills Public Library lobby, and at through Nov. 9.