A few years ago, Brian and Kristy Dell were renting an apartment in New Tampa when a quaint urban bungalow close to downtown Tampa caught their attention.
The 1928 craftsman-style house with its cozy front porch and original hardwood floors was nestled in a vibrant neighborhood full of vintage bungalows. Then owned by an investor, the house hadn't yet gotten the kind of makeover that typically makes the Dells swoon.
"It was in decent shape," recalls Brian, 33, a Hillsborough County public school music teacher. "But when we bought it, we decided to redo everything."
The couple just tied the knot last summer, and Kristy's strapless wedding dress hangs on the back of the guest-bedroom door. With the help of talented family members, they took on everything from remodeling the kitchen and bath to building a new garage that matches the historic style of the house.
"It's a work in progress — we've worked hard on it, but it's ours," says Kristy, 29, who is also a music teacher and loves to decorate.
From 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, the couple will open their home to the public for the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association Holiday Home and Garden Tour. Each of the seven homes on the tour will be decorated for the holidays; at some, contractors will be on hand along with homeowners to answer questions from visitors.
Organizers were so impressed by the Dells' home, it is featured on the cover of the tour brochure.
The Dells chose reproduction period pieces that blend seamlessly with their bungalow's architecture. The kitchen cabinets, kitchen table (part of a built-in eating area) and garage are all the handiwork of Kristy's father, Gerald Leduc, a retired project manager for a national restaurant chain and a skilled carpenter. The plaid cushions on the built-in kitchen benches were made by Brian's grandmother, who lives in Daytona Beach.
With their busy teaching jobs and long hours, it took considerable teamwork to get the place house-tour ready: "My mom really helped out with a lot of the decorating," Kristy says. "We couldn't have done it without our families."
Elizabeth Bettendorf can be reached at ebettendorf@ hotmail.com