Tour brings visitors inside Whidbey homes

"Homeowner Pam Walsh chats with Marianne Fitzpatrick, Marlene Angeles and Mary Jo Stack on the porch of her home, one of those on the South Whidbey Republican Women's Home Tour on Saturday.Jim Larsen/staff photoHow to get your ticketsTickets for the 20th annual South Whidbey Republican Women's Home Tour on Saturday, July 15, will be available that day beginning at 9 a.m. at Washington Mutual Bank in Freeland, continuing until 4 p.m.A pamphlet and map presented to each ticket purchaser directs them to the Walsh home featured on this page and the following stops:* The Strom Home, near Baby Island, which was so popular on the tour 14 years ago that it was brought back this year. Spectacularly landscaped and perfect for children, one unique space is the Cousins Room, featuring a row of six beds identically dressed.* The Bruns Home, on Saratoga Road, is a charming retirement home designed by Mr. Bruns with memorabilia and reminders everywhere of long ago days. Victorian furniture abounds.* The Angst Home, Coles Road, is the first time the tour has ever featured a Sunset Magazine designed home customized, of course, by the owners. The spectacular home combines an air of substance and timeliness.* The De Phelps home, Brighton Beach, a beautiful beach house used as a getaway sanctuary for family and friends. The Great Hall is 2 1/2 stories high and the fieldstone fireplace soars to the roof.The South Whidbey Republican Women's Home Tour is celebrating its 20th year Saturday with a slate of homes guaranteed to impress anyone interested in home exteriors, interiors, and brilliant decorating ideas.One of the five stops is the home of Pam and Gary Walsh in the Noblecliff area of Langley, a quiet, forested spot just across the street from the middle school.Marianne Fitzpatrick, a home tour organizer for all of its 20 years, finds the Walsh home particularly pleasing. The architectural design of this charming cedar shingled home engagingly demonstrates a cozy, comfortable attitude that captures on first sight, she states. The gardens, too, are in perfect harmony.The home, built by Dennis Flynn, is indeed a warm, friendly kind of island place, but so unique that tour-goers will enjoy looking into every nook and cranny, upstairs and down. Flynn, a local builder, showed great patience with her ideas, Walsh said: Dennis never knew from one minute to the next what was going to happen next.The first sight to greet the visitor is a long tile walkway leading through beautiful roses and other flowers to the front porch. Inside the house is more tile, covering the entire first floor.I laid all that tile myself, reports Pam Walsh, a seemingly relaxed woman whose house tips off what must be an indomitable work ethic. I'll never do tile again, she says, laughing.Waking through the front door, Fitzpatrick points out the obvious. There's lots to see in here; lots to look at, she said. A fine fireplace topped off by a mantel carved by local artist Judy McVay dominates one wall, and forms one side of a finely furnished formal living area.The bright kitchen features plenty of cherrywood cabinets, with a glass china case suspended above the breakfast bar. Artwork in little pieces and large frames brightens every available space, from the living room to family room, bedrooms and bathrooms.The Walsh family selected three artists' work to primarily display. James Rizzy's fascinating, three dimensional constructions are the most eye-grabbing, while Margaret Bedell's flowers and Nancy Coffelt's cats brighten up walls and staircases. But some of the fun of touring the house is finding the less visible works of art. Cats in funny poses sit on a ledge, and several old pair of thong sandals, gaily colored, hang over an exitway. Walsh explains that the sandals by Beth Marcel are titled, Front Porch.To Fitzpatrick, the house is very French looking . . . the ambience of Provence is here in Langley. But there are also touches of Japan in several paper sliding doors that shut out the world but let in the light.Flower lovers will delight in the indoor baskets and outdoor gardens, the latter complete with fanciful bird houses. For those wanting to see the entire 2000 home tour, this will be a difficult house to leave."

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