Bright Copper Kettles and Warm Woolen Mittens

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Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

As I was pouring my wake-up coffee Friday morning, I was treated to a perfectly formed web of intricate beauty strung from the window over the kitchen sink, down and across the airy distance, to the top of the chrome blender. No spider was in sight, but I know that this delicate habitat was only constructed during the night, for there had been a great deal of activity in that area of the kitchen just hours before.
A fine dusting of flour lay on the floor next to the counter where my granddaughter and my husband Bill had kneaded, rolled and cut out the famous Tea Cakes that were a staple in his mother’s cookie jar. A stack of clean utensils left drying on a red dishcloth were more evidence of the activity that had taken place just hours before. Putting away the rolling pin, antique cookie cutter, Pyrex mixing bowl and sundry other items, I smiled at still more evidence of one of my families’ sweetest Christmas traditions. Baking pans, cooling trays, oh my, what a precious mess.
Christmas traditions are, for me, the most important aspect of this long holiday season. Not the shopping; I avoid the crazy Black Friday frenzy, and I don’t engage in Mall Madness, but I do love to see the decorations which the merchants begin to drag out in mid-October. I especially love visiting the shops in Senoia; shops who recently stayed open late for a Holiday Open House, offering refreshments and ushering in December with colorful lights, gorgeous decorations and lively music. I caught myself skipping along the street, excited to see what the next store held. This is when Bill drops back a few steps and starts looking up at the sky. . . for snow?
Another exciting annual event in Senoia and another of our “traditions,” is the Tour of Homes. It was held Sunday and featured eight stops. My sister always comes from Auburn for the event, and this year for the first time my daughter and her husband joined us from Peachtree City. We waited till “good dark,” then the five of us piled onto our groaning golf cart, and snuggled up in winter scarves and gloves, we headed for the first stop on Pylant Street.
Bill is so in love with the recently remodeled craftsman cottages, the first two homes we visited, to the extent that he once built a beautiful Arts and Crafts style dollhouse even though our granddaughter Erin already had a Victorian beauty they had built together. The Young home, where two small children reside with their very clever and talented parents, was one of the most charming abodes on the tour. There were so many practical spaces designed for comfortable living in this house; nooks and crannies everywhere, for work and for play, yet the open concept so popular with new buyers today had been achieved in the lovely living, dining and kitchen area. Kathryn and Adam have created a marvelous island out of old boards rescued from a Stone Mountain barn and topped it with a sheet of stainless steel for the perfect kitchen work space. Furnished with period pieces and collectibles which affirm the home’s past, the house exudes a warm testimony to the modern family who lives there. Very sweet!
Just two houses up Pylant is another craftsman home whose new owners, the Mucklows, have just given a stunning facelift. I would pack my bags and move into 230 Pylant Street in a skinny minute! Every inch of the space has been flawlessly designed and decorated and offers a clean, sophisticated living space both inside and out. The deep and wide rockers on the front porch set the tone for the interior. Comfort and beauty have been achieved while salvaging much of the home’s past, like the leaded glass panes the owners found under the house and had built into the new china cabinet. My kinda place. Sigh.
We all enjoyed return visits to the stately and iconic Methodist Church, the Buggy Museum, which is a veritable montage of the past life of Senoians, and to the Historical Museum on Couch Street where, amid their delightful themed decorations, The Twelve “Trays” of Christmas, refreshments were served. We traveled just a couple of streets over from the 1870’s Greek Revival museum, once home to the Carmichaels, who raised eight children in its original four rooms, to the high-ceilinged 1870’s Victorian home, the residence of sixth generation Trey Baggarly, on…Ta Da…Baggarly Way.
An unexpected and completely charming detail at the Baggarly home were seasonal postcards featuring photographs of past generations, each carefully positioned on a dinner plate on the dining room table. Trey told me he had only found the cards two weeks before while he was unpacking decorations for the Tour. Lovely!  The home, while modernized, still retained the aura of past centuries in its woodwork, chandeliers and the framed ancestors watching from the walls. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there among them!
We toodled back to our house, scrambled into our son-in-law’s five seater truck with audio back-up help (that is the coolest thing…wow) and drove across Hwy 85 to Cody Trail where we were totally blown away by the Smith house. Oh My Gosh!  Old doors everywhere. Hundreds of antlers of every size and color. Frosty white, powder pink, rows and rows of them.  I am going out tomorrow and get me some. No kidding. I loved everything about the home built in 2012 and just full of gorgeous decorative elements. The marble kitchen counters, the welcoming fireplace, the incredibly luxurious yet comfy bed dressings, and the yummy paint color choices all played well together. I hope it’s ok to mention that many of the accessories and trappings in the Smith home are available at Relish on Main Street in Senoia (her and her mom’s shop).
Finally, before returning home for a late snack of cheese and crackers, fruitcake and some of those famous Tea Cakes, we stopped in at the Bishop house on Seavy Street. As in all the houses, the hosts and hostesses, many volunteers with the DDA, gave us a friendly guided tour of this lovely home with its large wrap-around porch, spacious rooms, and front office space with a fireplace surround of beautiful green marble tiles. Original, as was much of this pleasant home on this busy street. If it could only tell tales….Good night.

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