Snohomish tour features holiday-ready homes

  • By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, December 5, 2012 2:30pm
  • Life

Toby Weller was surprised when a neighbor asked for his house to be on the Snohomish Historical Society Parlour Tour.

“I said, ‘We don’t have a parlor,’” he said.

Much less a parlour.

No matter.

At one time a parlor was associated with an old-fashioned sitting room or formal living room where kids were banned.

Well, times have changed.

Toby and Michelle Weller’s living and dining area is their parlor and romping ground for daughters Isabelle, 5, and Abigail, 4.

Their rambler is one of eight stops on the self-guided tour that includes five private houses and the society’s cabin, museum and holiday bazaar.

If the Weller girls get their way, visitors on the tour will also get to see their bright, fun bedrooms.

The girls inherit their enthusiasm for decorating from their mom, who gleans ideas from Pinterest and blogs such as

“My wife is the creative genius,” Toby Weller said.

The couple commutes to Seattle for work, but family life revolves around Snohomish, where they moved in 2005.

A bowl on the sofa table displays photo holiday cards from the first year Isabelle was born.

On the wall is the biggest Advent calendar in town, maybe in the county.

It’s a chalkboard laced by twine with clothespins holding brown paper lunch sacks numbered for every day until Christmas

Michelle Weller, a media buyer for an ad agency, snagged the basic idea online and her husband made it happen. It helped that he’s a prepress/graphic designer for a commercial printing company. He cut the backing in the ornate shape of last year’s family holiday card and coated it with chalkboard paint.

The calendar not only adds a festive accent to the room, it drives the girls wild with curiosity about what’s inside those bags.

In the bags, opened daily, are lip glosses, treats and notes with things to do, such as paint their nails in holiday colors or pile in the car to look at the holiday lights.

After the holidays, the board can function as a chalkboard.

“The girls love chalkboards,” their dad said.

“I have a smartboard at my school,” Isabelle said.

On the coffee table are snow globes made from canning jars.

“You shake it,” Abigail said, showing how it works.

The tree and penguin figure inside her jar get doused by glitter when flipped around.

“Mine has a horse,” Isabelle said, “‘cause it’s my favorite animal.”

The room’s centerpiece is the 8-foot tree.

The tradition is to go to Stocker Farms the weekend after Thanksgiving.

“It’s vote by committee,” Toby Weller said. “We chop it down and have a little ceremony right there and put it on the car. We bring it in and introduce it to the house for a day.”

Then it’s time to attack it with ornaments.

“Each year we put them on the tree, and we can look back on all the items we made,” Michelle Weller said. “It’s collecting memories.”

New this year are animal ornaments that began as inexpensive plastic animals from a 24-pack tube. The figures are painted glossy white, then hooked with bright ribbon to hang on the tree.

“It’s nice that the girls are a little older,” their dad said, “so all the ornaments aren’t all a foot and half from the bottom.”

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443;

Take the tour

What: The Snohomish Historical Society’s annual parlor tour features five private homes decorated for the holidays, plus the Blackman House Museum, Kikendall Cabin and Waltz Building.

When: The tour will be held noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for those older than 62 and younger than 12.

Advance tickets are available at Kusler’s Pharmacy and Gifts, Annie’s on First, McDaniel’s Do-it Center, Speckled Hen and Joyworks, and tour day at the Waltz Building, 116 Ave. B.

More information: 360-568-5235 or

More in Life

Thai cookbook “Bangkok” brings it in Piglet Tournament face-off

In round three of Food52’s NCAA-like competition, “Bangkok” beats out “Auentico.”

Former TV journalist opens coffee, gelato and wine business

The Newsroom in Mill Creek also features events such as dancing and board game sessions.

A Snohomish chef charts a course to fresh and local cuisine

Whether he’s cooking or teaching, Cody Castiglia is committed to seasonal, local ingredients.

Family friendly events in Snohomish County and beyond

FUN & GAMES Native Culture Night: Skykomish Valley Indian Education families invite… Continue reading

‘13 Reasons Why’ cast issues video to air ahead of each season

The series tackles controversial issues that might not be for everyone.

Kelly Kate Warren: An injury ends her PCT hike

She was chosen by the Pacific Crest Trail Association to be a P3 representative for them, promoting positive trail etiquette.

Average black bean dip, improved: This one’s smoky and warm

It’s like a magnet as an appetizer at a party, but it also makes for a playful and nutritious meal.

‘Crown’ production company apologizes amid salary controversy

New York Daily News The production company behind “The Crown” has apologized… Continue reading

Most Read