Home Sweet Home Tour

 Four Mecosta County families open their doors for the 2013 GFWC Home Tour

As the leaves begin to change colors and warm summer breezes give way to chilling autumnal gusts, the General Federations of Woman’s Club of Big Rapids offers a chance to look inside the homes that will keep our neighbors warm throughout the seasons’ changes.

Once again this year, four Mecosta County residents will open their homes to the community from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, as part of the GFWC’s annual Home Tour. Tickets are available from any GFWC member, as well as at Patterson’s Flowers in Big Rapids for $15. Children under one are free. Sponsors for this event include Big Rapids Realty, Blue Cow Cafe, and Chemical Bank.

GFWC is part of an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. Local club members can be seen tending community gardens, helping with Child ID programs, supporting the library and library programs, assisting with the needs of international students, advocating on behalf of women’s health issues, supporting WISE and its many needs along with food pantries and programs for the homeless, and programs to recognize veterans.

All money raised from this event is distributed back into the community for various community projects. For more information, contact Tour Chairperson Linda Telfer at (231) 250-2088.

Here’s a sneak peek at the homes that will be open for viewing during this year’s tour.

 Dean and Lorraine James, located on Bjornson Avenue in Big Rapids


Built in 2011 through the efforts of builder John Iltis and homeowner Dean James, the home reflects the preferences of the homeowners and their lifestyle needs. You will see Dean’s love of wood — in particular, hickory — in this home. A beautiful Amish-made hickory table and eight chairs can be found in the dining room, which serves as the walk-through to the large dream kitchen. Serving as the hub of the home, the kitchen features hickory cabinets, double pantries, double oven, granite counter tops, bamboo flooring and a counter area with stool seating – just right for a busy family. Just off the kitchen, the laundry room provides ample storage, including a pull-out drawer with a fold-out ironing board and a large folding area. The first of three guest bedrooms off the kitchen area has its own full bath and large closet space. As you enter all the closets throughout the home, the lights turn on automatically. A deck off the kitchen leads visitors to a stamped patio area with a fire pit and play area for grandchildren. With two rooms set aside for Lorraine’s business, the rest of the home accommodates the balance of their family needs. The large master bedroom includes a striking accent wall, a sitting area and access to the deck. The master bath includes double sinks and a whirlpool tub. With many grandchildren, the James’ made sure that they had plenty of space to meet family needs. Two additional guest bedrooms, one in green and one in lavender/purple, are used frequently by visiting grandchildren. Access to a full bath rounds out the guest area.

The living room features tray ceilings, a large fireplace with a decorative surround and special tracks for hanging artwork, eliminating the need to put holes in the walls. This large space provides plenty of space for the family to gather. A surround sound system can be found throughout the home and outdoors. Driving into this home, visitors will note the large wrap-around porch, unattached garage/work area, and the beautiful wooded setting.

 Charles Jacobson and Marcia Ladner-Jacobson, located on 205th Avenue in Big Rapids


Situated on 60 partially wooded acres of land, the Jacobson’s built a home that reflects the interests of the homeowners as well as their creativity. This energy efficient home features a three zone, in-floor heating system and 14-inch thick walls. Charles worked in the concrete business for years and used that history to make creative use of concrete along with color throughout the home. Visitors will be challenged to identify all of the ways this couple found for its use. Concrete flooring was used throughout the home and garage — in some instances, it was painted; in others, it was stamped. The center of the home features a large open room with many functional areas, including the kitchen with pantry, built-in oven and microwave and a small “office” area for Marcia. The great room area includes a fireplace with a concrete mantel and hearth. Visitors will have a hard time believing this one! On window walls in the great room area and three bedrooms, the homeowners have created half concrete walls with window ledges, coloring the concrete to match the décor of the room. Charles’ collection of John Deere memorabilia can be found in his office as well as in several other locations in the home along with stained glass pieces he has made. Marcia’s talented quilting is reflected in the bedcoverings in the guest bedroom and master bedroom. The guest bath features bold color along with a unique basin and faucet – you need to see it to believe it! The master bath has a concrete counter top with two sinks, beautiful tiled open shower and again, bold use of color in reds and yellows. Venturing to the outdoors, the covered patio with cupola – note the stained glass pieces – features a built-in kitchen with sink, poured concrete counter top with stained glass inserts made by the homeowner along with a refrigerator, grill and a lighted waterfall. This home will challenge visitors’ imaginations for ways in which differing materials can be used to create color and texture in their homes.

 Judy Tressler, located on Winter Avenue in Big Rapids


Built in 1942, Judy Tressler became the fourth owner of this home when she purchased it in 1982. The home has gone through several renovations and additions. Keeping with the colonial theme, every room but one is wallpapered in colonial-era wallpaper. A walk through the home is like a walk through time. Judy refers to herself as the “Queen of TUC – Totally Useless Crap”. But visitors will disagree. Starting with a living room full of memorabilia and antiques, visitors will have lots to see, including the miniatures collection, ornaments from Africa, a secretary that was purchased on her mother’s 30th wedding anniversary and an antique coffee grinder. Moving on to the three seasons room, where the only TV in the house is located, Judy’s interest in reading and collectibles are on display in wall-to-wall bookcases. Moving back to the dining room, which features an antique table and chairs for eight, visitors will note the what-not shelf that came from her grandmother’s home in Kansas as well as the family youth chair. The master bedroom off the dining room features Pine Shop paneling, unusual double closets and antique furniture throughout. Looking out from the kitchen, visitors will see a beautiful in-ground pool and gardens that, when in bloom, create a splash of color throughout the entire backyard. And who could miss that bright red garage! With red as her favorite color, Judy says the garage started out red and will stay that way – quite a contrast to the soft blue of this beautiful Colonial style home. Three bedrooms can be found on the second floor of this home. Pulling the raspberry shade from Judy’s grandmother’s Oriental rug, the only non-wallpapered guest bedroom features more family heirlooms – her mom’s stroller, mom and dad’s dressers and two older trunks. Two more bedrooms on the second floor continue the walk down memory lane with additional miniature collections, Pine Shop walls, and original pineapple single beds. This home is a real find for those who love the warmth of old wood and memorabilia.

 Douglas Haneline, located on 12 Mile Road in Big Rapids Township


Douglas Haneline and his late wife, Ellen, purchased their 12 Mile Road home in 1993. Built in the 1950s as a one-story country home, it has been remodeled by successive owners. In an effort to make it their own, Doug and Ellen embarked on a series of changes starting in 2000. The entryway to the home, near the garage, leads visitors to the living room, a comfy TV room with windows overlooking the patio for light and the expansive yard. Recently, the kitchen was remodeled and a seasonal porch was enclosed, adding space and windows that bring natural light into the kitchen area. Changes in cupboards, lighting and the addition of counter space and seating have made this a kitchen suitable for both food preparation and entertaining. The older portion of the home on the main level features three bedrooms, a full bath and a small hallway. Two of the bedrooms have 1840s maple single-rope beds now converted to usable single guest beds. Collections of family photos can be seen in this area, including pictures of Doug’s mother and father taken when they were both on active duty during World War II. The dining room features an antique cup collection as well as a 99-year-old Christmas cactus now in its fourth generation of ownership. What a responsibility! Between the kitchen and the dining area (formerly the living room), is an open area with a decorative fireplace and brick wall. A second story was added to the home, including a sitting room/library bathed in natural light that provides a marvelous area for growing plants. The wall of bookcases reflects Doug’s love of reading, and the top of the bookcases displays Ellen’s doll collection and Korean children’s clothing. An open balcony looks down on the dining area below, adding a spacious feel to the room. The second-floor addition also features a comfortable master bedroom with a large walk-in closet and master bath. A door from the dining area leads to a covered patio, formerly a carport before the addition of the detached garage. One of the many perennial flower beds started out as an in-ground pool, and the former pool house is still in use as a gardening shed. The expansive yard is full of trees — some older and some replacements, including an 80-foot pine, age unknown (just very, very old!). What a beautiful setting for this beautifully remodeled, contemporary home.

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