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 younghouselove.com.

“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; abrown@heraldnet.com.

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 snohomishhistoricalsociety.org

More in Life

Kamiak student Aidan Norris (center) drags Matthew Ninh into a scene as Mitchell Beard (left) reads his lines. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Joy, disappointment at Kamiak High’s ‘Spamalot’ auditions

More than 80 students try out for 45 roles in the outrageous Monty Python musical comedy.

What’s new for 2018 for travelers in Scandinavia

Sweden, Norway and Finland have embarked on many urban, cultural and transit projects.

Kia Rio subcompact takes a classy step up in 2018

A new design, roomier cabin, and better fuel economy are among the improvements on the 2018 Kia Rio.

Bald eagle no longer listed as ‘sensitive species’ in the state

A recent study found that eagle numbers are strong throughout Washington.

Living the suite life: A story of luck, love and legends

Jennifer Bardsley got a much better deal than she bargained for when booking a hotel room.

Indoor gardens: Four easy-to-grow house plants for beginners

If you want to get in on the house-plant trend but you don’t know where to begin, read this column.

It’s better to give your children rewards than punishments

Paul Schoenfeld explains how positive reinforcement is far more effective than negative with kids.

Actress Eliza Dushku says she was molested by stunt coordinator

She also hinted that an injury she suffered on set might have been intentional

Dolores O’Riordan was lead singer of Irish band The Cranberries

The police force said the death was being treated as “unexplained.”

Most Read