Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsMarylandHarford CountyBel Air

Harford homes open with 'Christmas spirit' for AMC holiday tour

Holiday Vacations

When Kim Little and her husband, Jeff, purchased their historic Darlington stone house six-and-a-half years ago, it was in "deplorable condition," she recalled.

Little showed pictures of a bathroom with the floor tile torn up, vines crawling up the exterior walls, and said the dwelling, which was built in 1810 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, had no basic modern-day conveniences such as a septic tank, central heating or even hot water.

Flash forward nearly seven years, and the Littles were entertaining guests with cookies, cider and a fire roaring in the living room fireplace as they stopped by the cozy Stafford Road house, one of six Harford County homes decorated for Christmas on this year's AMC Holiday House Tour Sunday.

"Everyone's in a great Christmas spirit," Kim Little, who was wearing a blue and white period dress, said. "It's been very pleasant."

She said the major restoration projects included replacing the roof, restoring the chimneys and installing new mechanical systems such as plumbing and electricity.

Little and her husband also took on a number of smaller restoration projects such as "reglazing" the period windowpanes and building a wall cabinet to hold pewter dishes.

"Because we love old things, it doesn't seem like work even though it's a ton of work," she said of the restoration work, which is continuing.

"You know what they say, if you love what you do it doesn't seem like work," she added.

The AMC Holiday House tour is designed to raise money for the AMC Cancer Fund and the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology Center.

Little and her husband participated, with the loss of her father to cancer last year in mind.

"We're always happy to help when it's for cancer research," she said.

People who purchased tickets for the house tour could visit six homes in the greater Bel Air area, including the Dorris, Garrett and Butler homes in Bel Air, the Shaffner and Zealor homes in Forest Hill and the Little home in Darlington.

They could also visit Broom's Bloom Dairy in Bel Air and Christopher's Train Garden at the dairy, plus the Greenspring Gift House in Jarrettsville.

"I think it's fantastic, what they're doing," said Margaret Castoro of Bel Air South, who visited the homes with her son, Chuck, and daughter-in-law, Pat. "Each house was different; it had its own charm, its own personality."

Visitors to the Shaffner home off Saddle Ridge Court in Forest Hill could see four Christmas trees with different themes.

The main tree was the 12-foot-high family Christmas tree in the living room. It was covered with ornaments, including Christopher Radko glass ornaments and those made by members of the Shaffner family over the years.

"I've been collecting for a very long time," Teresa Shaffner said.

She owns the home with her husband, Hal.

Their son Ryan, 26, showed ornaments he made as a child, such as one that resembled a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

A food-themed tree could be found in the family kitchen, topped with a white chef's hat.

Ryan Shaffner is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and his sister, Chloe, is studying there.

Chloe's chef's hat was on top of the kitchen tree, and Ryan had a Culinary Institute ornament on the family tree.

"She's done a marvelous job," Jan Carpenter of Aberdeen said of Teresa Shaffner's decorations. "I like all the different trees and all the different themes she has for each tree."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Holiday Vacations
  • 2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour
    2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour

    Barbara Grace, left, of Perryville, and Jan Carpenter of Aberdeen gaze at ornaments on the Shaffner family Christmas tree, one of the many holiday decorations visitors to the Shaffner house could see during the AMC Holiday House Tour Sunday.

  • 2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour

    Barbara Grace, left, of Perryville, and Jan Carpenter of Aberdeen gaze at the 12-foot-high Christmas tree in the Shaffner family home. The home was a stop on the AMC Holiday House Tour Sunday.

  • 2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour
    2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour

    Ryan Shaffner shows the Christmas tree ornament which he made at 5 years old. The ornament was one of many hanging on his family's 12-foot-high Christmas tree that could be seen by visitors to the Shaffner home in Forest Hill during Sunday's AMC Holiday House Tour.

  • Havre de Grace Candlelight Tour showcases 'beautiful' homes for 41st year
    Havre de Grace Candlelight Tour showcases 'beautiful' homes for 41st year

    Neither snow, nor rain, nor scheduling dilemmas could keep the Candlelight Tour of Havre de Grace from putting on a festive show once again.

  • 2013 AMC Holiday House Tour
    2013 AMC Holiday House Tour

    Betsy Keithley pets Juice the cat as they sit on a couch in the 200-year-old stone Darlington house of her friend Kim Little, whose 200-year-old home was one of the stops on Sunday's AMC Holiday House Tour.

  • 2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour
    2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour

    The living room in the home of Jeff and Kim Little in Darlington is decorated for visitors Sunday during the AMC Holiday Home Tour of Bel Air-area homes.

  • 2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour
    2013 Harford AMC Holiday House Tour

    A chef's hat adorns the top of the food-themed Christmas tree on display in the Shaffner family home in Forest Hill, one of the Bel Air-area stops on the AMC Holiday House Tour held Sunday.

  • 2013 AMC Holiday House Tour
    2013 AMC Holiday House Tour

    Kim Little kneels in the low-ceilinged former slave quarters on the top floor of the historic home she and her husband Jeff own in Darlington. The house was built in 1810 and is also known as Keziah's Dairy; it was a stop on the AMC Holiday House Tour Sunday.

Comments
Loading