DUNEDIN — When it comes to Christmas trees, Phyllis Gorshe had a novel idea.
The homeowner and director of the Dunedin Public Library, cobbled together her favorite green books, a collection of the Harvard Classics, to craft a holiday tree too cute for words.
Come take a peek on Saturday when she and husband Nick will swing open the front doors of their recently built, craftsman-inspired home as part of the Dunedin Youth Guild's 47th annual Tour of Homes.
This year's self-guided tour, dubbed A Silver Lining Holiday, showcases six homes as well as the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, a fixture in the community for 130 years. It's a feel-good event that benefits community youth and offers tour-goers a chance to view a wide spectrum of architectural styles and decorating ideas.
The two-story Gorshe home features shaker shingles, mission-style light fixtures, a barrel ceiling, an all wood staircase and oodles of holiday cheer including a handmade wreath fashioned from the yellowed pages of an old dictionary. Its large paper bow reads "Once Upon a Time."
Being a part of the tour was important for the library director, a former recipient of the youth guild's annual educational scholarships awards. She is a graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans.
"I love the Youth Guild and this is my chance to give back," she said, wearing a Tommy Hilfiger library-themed dress.
The nonprofit organization has awarded more than 200 scholarships since 1977. This year alone, it doled out $34,050 to graduating high school seniors and current college students.
Since 1964, the guild has also funded a variety of playgrounds as well as scouting, band, athletic and other youth-oriented programs.
Advance tickets are available for $25 from Dunedin Youth Guild members or at the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce, the Dunedin Community Center, the Hale Center, or the Dunedin Fine Art Center. Tickets can also be purchased for $30 on Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School Cafeteria, where a holiday boutique will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a tea with sandwiches and cookies will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The tour runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Booklets with maps and directions serve as tickets.
Another house on the tour is a midcentury charmer on a canal in the Harbor View Villas subdivision owned by Cathy and Bill Goocher.
They've spent the past three years completely renovating their "retirement home" into a fresh coastal cottage that features a coral, teal, blue and tan color scheme.
"We moved from a larger two-story French country style home so it's been a challenge to downsize," she said. "This is our forever home now and we wanted to make it as livable as possible."
She's trolled art galleries and resale shops searching for hand-painted furniture, midcentury modern touches, unique chandeliers and beachy décor to give the home a designer look. The overall color scheme is complemented with Christmas adornments in ocean blues and tawny reds.
Anita Apley, the event co-chairwoman, said the guild was fortunate to have gracious homeowners willing to share their homes for the benefit the children of the area.
"Everything we do is for the kids," she said. "If we have a party, we pay for it ourselves."