Expecting holiday guests? How about 5,000?
"I'm trying to figure out how much candy we need," said designer Kerrie Kelly as she prepared for the 39th annual Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour in east Sacramento. "We've never done anything like this before. Will everybody want some?"
A bag-your-own candy station awaits visitors to the 42nd Street home of Keith and Gina Ketcher on this weekend's tour, which expects 4,000 to 5,000 patrons depending on weather.
"On most home tours, you walk through the kitchen and you're not allowed to touch the cake or taste the candy," Kelly said. "This way, you can take something home with you."
The kid-friendly concept also fits the Ketcher home. The family has two boys.
"I've been going on the tour for 20 years, but this is the first time I'm actually part of it as a member of the design team," said Kelly, who lives down the block from the Ketchers. "Our (house) theme is California casual with indoor-outdoor living. We're praying it doesn't rain."
As part of the decorations, Kelly's team made silhouettes of the Ketcher family (including Smokey the dog).
"They're red on white backgrounds with black borders," she said. "It fits our color scheme: red, white, green and black. We also wanted to make it personal. The whole design reflects the family and their interests."
Kelly also created three do-it-yourself how-to cards for projects featured in the home: a front-door wreath, an herb garden wall and those family silhouettes.
"Instead of thinking 'designers did this it's too hard,' you can take home these cards and do these little home projects yourself," said Kelly, who will also put the directions online via her blog (at www. kerriekelly.com). "I wanted it to be really do-able."
Little touches like that help make tours more personal, too.
"It's the first time we've made our tour interactive," said Leslie Wilson-Lopez, in her third year as the tour's co-chairwoman. "Our design ideas are not all wild and crazy Martha Stewart stuff, but very approachable."
Vying for attention during the hectic holidays, home tours try to do something extra to attract patrons, often with the help of sponsors.
"It's a difficult task," Wilson-Lopez said. "We really want to select homes that have some interest (such as) they were recently remodeled or they have a well-known architect. What makes it so exciting for a lot of people is that you get great Christmas ideas, you're revved up for the holidays, but you also get to see inside some of these great older homes that have contemporary updates."
On the Sacred Heart tour, Lumens Light + Living transformed one 46th Street house with creative lighting and an all-animal theme.
"The formal tree in the living room is all dog ornaments," Wilson-Lopez said. "In the family room, the tree is decorated with pictures of animals available for adoption from the SPCA. It's really neat."
Also this weekend, Assistance League of Sierra Foothills expects about 1,000 people for its Homes for the Holidays Tour, which has plenty of extras. Pottery World, a tour sponsor, will teach holiday flower arranging to participants. Featured in the holiday homes, raffle prizes include an instant wine collection (with 100 bottles) and a complete table setting for eight.
"We're doing something a little different this year," said Assistance League's Crista Dixon. "One of the stops is a model home in Serrano Legacy Oaks. It had Indonesian furnishings, so we did an all-tropical Christmas."
The tour also features a Disneyana Christmas (with a large collection of Disney collectibles) and El Dorado Hills fire chief Dave Roberts' "Santa's man cave" among its eight stops.
"We really have a lot of community support," Dixon said. "For our community, this is becoming a signature event."
For its fifth holiday tour next Saturday, Loomis Basin Education Foundation hopes to draw patrons with a gourmet buffet and local landmark homes.
Folsom's Historical Society and Murer House Foundation will host its first holiday tour next week, featuring historic homes and sites dating back to 1855.
"We've been working on this tour since this time last year," said Mary Asay-Skiles, whose 1913 home is on the tour. "We're really excited about it. The volunteers will be dressed in vintage Victorian.
"We've got a lot more than just houses," she added, noting the tour also features a historic church and rectory decorated for the holidays. "We keep adding more special things. It took a whole year to bring this to life."
Holiday home tours
SACRED HEART HOLIDAY HOME TOUR
Where: East Sacramento
When: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. today, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $30; available at booth on 38th Street between J and M streets
Details: http://sacredhearthometour.com, (916) 556-5050
Highlights: Five elegantly decorated homes in Sacramento's Fabulous 40s neighborhood. Holiday boutique and cafe at Sacred Heart Parish School.
Benefits: Programs at Sacred Heart Parish School.
ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF SIERRA FOOTHILLS HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Where: El Dorado Hills
When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. today and noon-5 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $20; children under 12, $10; available online or at Pottery World (1006 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills) or California Welcome Center (2085 Vine St., El Dorado Hills)
Highlights: Eight stops and multiple raffles; flower-arranging demonstrations at Pottery World at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. today, 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Benefits: Programs for school children, women and seniors in El Dorado County. Last year's proceeds helped clothe more than 500 El Dorado County schoolchildren.
HISTORIC FOLSOM HOLIDAY HOME TOUR
Where: Folsom's Victorian neighborhood
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. next Friday and Dec. 8
Admission: $15; available at Folsom History Museum, Green Acres nursery, Folsom Lake Bank and other locations (see full list online)
Details: www.folsomhistorymuseum.org, (916) 985-2707
Highlights: This inaugural tour features seven historic sites and homes, dating from 1855 to 1925.
Benefits: Folsom Historical Society and the Murer House Foundation.
LOOMIS BASIN HOLIDAY HOME TOUR
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. next Saturday
Admission: $25 in advance, $30 day of tour; available at High Hand Nursery, Blue Goose Produce, Foothill Feed and the Flower Farm Nursery (all in Loomis), Pottery World in Rocklin and Eisley Nursery in Auburn.
Highlights: Six distintive homes plus holiday boutique and art show at H. Clark Powers Elementary School, 3296 Humphrey Road, Loomis. Gourmet lunch buffet ($15) available from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; advance lunch purchase required, deadline 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Benefits: Six elementary schools in the Loomis Union School District.