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Crowds tour homes for holidays

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Crowds fill the central hallway of Katherine Callon’s house on Pearl Street as part of the annual George Armstrong Library Tour of Homes Sunday.

NATCHEZ — Sprucing up her home for the holidays was a given, but when the George W. Armstrong Library fundraiser organizers asked Katherine Callon show it off to strangers, she stepped it up a notch and on the double.

Callon, along with owners of three other downtown houses, showed the holiday version of her house during Sunday’s Library Tour of Homes.

Guests walked past five wreaths hanging outside of the Greek Revival cottage on 400 Pearl St., a 9-foot Christmas Tree in the den and Callon’s grandmother’s Fitz & Floyd “St. Nicholas” chinaware on the dining room table.

Katherine and Lindsey Callon, new parents of 6-month-old Harrison, will celebrate their third Christmas in the house, which was built in the 1840s.

Since undergoing a seven-month renovation in 2009, which included refinishing cedar floors, further opening up the entrance to the dining room, adding crown molding, a master bathroom and other changes, the house became ready to show.

Jackie Ward, a member of the Friends of the Library, said the fundraiser gives locals a more personal peek into houses than pilgrimage tours of grand mansions can offer.

The seasonal timing of the tour can also give inspiration to visitors when it comes time to decorate their own mantles, Wild said.

Garland threaded with a rustic burlap ribbon embroidered with holly berries looped around the banister reaching to the second floor.

Oversized mesh ribbon hugged mini Christmas tress placed in a guest bedroom and hallways, and clear vases scattered around the house, even in bathrooms, were filled with small Christmas ornaments.

Limitless access to nearly every room also gave the tour a personal touch.

“This is a very livable house,” a visitor told Callon.

“It is,” Callon said. “We enjoy it.”

While the house was primed for showing, Callon said it would always feel like theirs, especially at Christmas time.

“We’ll definitely always have colorful Christmas lights — it’s more kid-friendly than dressy,” she said.

Julie Johnson of JuJu Interiors helped polish off the décor details in time for the tour, giving assistance Callon said was especially appreciated with a baby in the house.

And now that the house is decorated at least a week prior to its normal completion date, the pressure is off until it comes times to take it all down in January.

“I’m glad it’s (finished),” she said.

“Now we can enjoy Christmas.”