Home peek home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2004

Ten dollars seems a small price to pay for a local tour guided in part by Halle Berry.

OK. So this particular "Halle Berry" is really a black lab. But she will wag a welcoming tail to visitors during the Ironton Co-Operative Club's 37th Annual Homes Tour scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14. Maps with driving directions will also be available at the museum that day.

Ten attractions are on tap for this year including the home of Halle's owners, Elizabeth and Robert Slagel. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $15 at the Lawrence County Museum on the day of the tour.

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The event began in 1967 with a simple premise.

"The whole idea was to have a fund-raiser for educational purposes. Š" said Sharon Bradshaw, co-chair of the home tours committee. "The important thing is that it continues to be a big money maker for the different things we do in the educational realm."

In the years that followed, the tour has helped provide endowments, supplies and scholarships for area students.

This year's goal is to raise at least $5,000, Bradshaw said. The community can help by either going on the tour or by volunteering their homes to be included next year.

"It takes a really brave person to allow the public to come through their homes," Bradshaw said. "We're always grateful to homeowners that let us do that."

Bradshaw said homeowners always come to the aid of the Co-Operative Club. For Elizabeth Slagel, the choice to open her home was made easier with the knowledge that she could help a good cause.

"I support what the Co-Operative Club does," she said. "When I learned what the funds raised do for education, I couldn't refuse."

The Slagel home is situated at the end of a tree-lined drive along State Route 141. It features warm, oak flooring and accents throughout with a fireplace extending from floor to ceiling in the great room. Windows on either side allow sunlight to bathe the entry with inviting light.

Downstairs, a century-old sleigh bed occupies the guest area. One room over, a bearskin takes up residence in Robert's office - a souvenir from one of his hunting trips.

Robert began building the house in 1995 after returning home from college to run his family's business - Storage on the Spot. The two moved in three years later.

Elizabeth, a freelance journalist and full-time mom, said the house was still in the decorating stages. But their home is filled with little touches that make it interesting, like the bed or bearskin.

Another home on the tour is that of Sprout and Cecil Cline, located along County Road 1A. The two have lived there for eight years. The house was built in 1964, but the Clines have done considerable remodeling since moving there.

"It's a lot of work when you get an old house, but it's worth it," Sprout Cline said.

Inside, glistening cherry walls extend throughout the three-level house. Antiques are featured in every room, including handmade quilts. The first floor kitchen features a built-in brick and wrought iron grill. The lower level of the house is a family area with another functioning kitchen.

Outside, an in-ground pool, a hot tub, sun porch and tree house occupy the grounds. The pool is often a gathering place for the Cline's three children and eight grandchildren.

"I tell everybody I bought the tree house and the house came with it," Sprout said laughing.

Homes are not the only stops included on the tour. Businesses like M&M Realty and some other Ironton public buildings are also featured.

Previously the Sheridan's Bed and Breakfast, owner Debbie Dickens purchased the property in late August. Since then she has worked to turn the downstairs into office space with the upstairs into an eventual upscale apartment.

Dickens plans to open the historic house to social gatherings and club meetings. The Ironton Artists Association currently meets there. Their paintings are on display with some for sale.

In addition to the above homes, the homes of Joe and Cindy Christy, Tom and Judy Brose, Velva Burton and Judy and Keith Molihan are included in the tour. Ohio Baptist Church, the Lawrence County Museum and the Ironton Fire Department are also on the itinerary.

To purchase an advance ticket, call 533-0582 or 534-9057.