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Dunedin Youth Guild's 40th annual holiday home tour is Dec. 5

With its rich colors, spectacular architectural detail and beautiful furnishings, Thomas and Diane Borree's Dunedin home could make the cover of a magazine any time of the year.

But it's even more special when they put up the "snowing" Christmas tree, hang the giant ornaments and set the table with an eclectic variety of china and crystal patterns.

"When we have dinner parties, I like to have the guests pick up a salad bowl, then find the matching place setting," she said.

"That way, everyone mixes and meets new people."

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, she'll be expecting hundreds of new guests during the Dunedin Youth Guild's 40th annual holiday home tour.

Eight homes are featured this year along an expanded route that includes Dunedin, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. During the event, volunteer docents will share insights about each home and its decor.

Showcase homes include a massive 13-acre estate with both a summer and winter home and a three-story, 11,000-square-foot Italian villa overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. A harpist is slated to play at the Tarpon Springs estate; a pianist will perform at the villa.

Not all homes are lived in.

A Key West-style model home inside the Dunedin development Glencairn Cottages features all the latest innovations for "green living."

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the tour. A book with a map and detailed description of each house serves as a ticket to enter each home.

"We hope to raise a lot of money because the needs of the community are so great this year," said event chairwoman Diana Blethen.

The goal is $15,000, she said. The money goes to support youth programs and scholarships.

Dubbed "A Season of Giving," this year's fundraiser strives to also help those affected by the economic downturn.

This time around, the guild is asking tour patrons to bring canned and nonperishable food items to the traditional tea, held at the First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin.

Those homeowners who are graciously opening the doors include 78-year-old Wanda Sharpe, a guild member for 36 years.

As she unpacked her Waterford crystal, more than 200 sterling silver ornaments and the exquisite Christmas quilt her sister, now deceased, embroidered for her, the memories unfurled.

"I got very emotional," Sharpe said. "It brought back memories of the trips I took all over the world and of the people that gave these things to me."

In East Lake Woodlands, Richard and Deanna Glenn have created lovely harmony between their backyard view of the Brooker Creek Preserve and their naturalist gold, brown and copper-colored decorations.

"Don't be afraid to toss out anything that doesn't work for you anymore," she advises. "Thin the herd after every season."

And don't miss the nearby home of Christopher and Jill Rees in East Lake Woodlands.

Now that hot pink has become the new red, she cleverly blended the two colors with her traditional crystal for a very up-to-date look.

She has created a wonderful children's fantasy playroom with Barbie and My Little Pony vignettes, and a Christmas village with a starry night background that she designed herself.

"When it's all done, it's fun," she said.

Some tips

Some decorating tips for the holidays as shared by some of the homeowners:

• Wind multiple strands of lights deep into Christmas tree branches. For a subtle glistening effect, use no more than one or two strands of twinkling lights.

• Fill sparse areas of the tree with tulle, garland or quilt batting (looks like snow).

• Use lots of miniature trees, animation and a variety of colored lights for a great-looking Christmas village.

• Take advantage of after-Christmas bargains — it's a great way to grow collections.

• Find something you love and build on that theme.

• When it comes to decorating for Christmas, more is better.

• Enjoy the holiday season. Don't get stressed out about it.

IF YOU GO

If you go

What: "A Season of Giving" is the Dunedin Youth Guild's 40th annual self-guided tour that raises money for youth programs and scholarships.

When: From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Also featured: A holiday boutique and complimentary tea with cookies and sandwiches at the First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin, 455 Scotland. Boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; tea hours are 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring canned goods to the tea for donation to local food pantries.

Tickets: $20 in advance, available at various Dunedin community locations; $25 if purchased the day of the tour. Programs with maps and descriptions of homes are provided.

For tickets or more information: Call the Dunedin Youth Guild at (727) 734-0394.

Dunedin Youth Guild's 40th annual holiday home tour is Dec. 5 11/28/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 29, 2009 3:51pm]

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