Spencer candlelight home tour is Thursday
By Emily Ford
SPENCER — Tommy Stoner first walked through the Queen Anne at 301 Fourth St. during a Christmas home tour in Spencer about two decades ago.
Now the proud owner of the 4,600-square-foot house, Stoner will once again open the doors to the community for the Spencer Candlelight Tour of Homes, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday.
“We just fell in love with it,” Stoner said of himself and his late wife, Tonya, who bought the home from Judy Patton.
Before Tonya Stoner died two years ago, she and her husband put the home on tour a few times. Tommy Stoner said opening the home again after her death was a difficult decision, but many people have asked.
And he’s done extensive work on the landmark that he would like to share.
“It’s been a little bit emotional,” he said. “But it’s done up so much better now.”
Tour-goers who pay $10 for a ticket, which gives them access to six Spencer homes, will find Stoner’s house completely renovated and redecorated.
Since the J.K. Dorsett House was last on tour, Stoner has restored the pine and oak hardwood floors, installed crown and dental molding, replaced the carpet, painted and wallpapered, renovated bathrooms and kitchen and more. He’s done most of the renovation himself, when he’s not working at Sam’s Car Wash in Salisbury.
Christmas lovers will find plenty of decorating ideas in the home. Stoner’s sister, Janette Yost, and his girlfriend, Judy Kirk, have painstakingly adorned every corner of the 16-room house built in 1902. Even the laundry room will be open.
The project has required about 20 extension cords.
An antique sleigh filled with gifts and a full-sized Santa Claus greet visitors on the front porch. A pink tutu doubles as a tree skirt in a bedroom decorated in pink and purple. Ornaments, bows and garland embellish each of the eight original fireplace mantels.
Yost and Kirk used their own decorations and bought additional pieces at Piedmont Garden Supply and secondhand stores like the Habitat ReStore. Each garland in the house was wired and glued by hand.
Yost started shopping for decorations months ago and said her eye was drawn to anything that glittered.
“I wanted sparkle, I wanted glitz,” she said.
Two rooms upstairs — a bedroom and the library — have a more masculine feel, with decor in dark green and burgundy and brass accents. Other rooms shimmer with the shiniest trim Yost could find.
The bedecked staircase may steal the show, although the dining room, featuring a sparkling gift at each place setting of Stoner’s Christmas china on silver chargers, is equally as stunning.
Decorating the house has taken three months. When they met on a blind date at Olive Garden in August, Stoner mentioned the huge undertaking to Kirk.
“She didn’t run away,” he joked.
“I thought it sounded neat,” Kirk said.
As Stoner described his house over dinner, Kirk asked if it was near Judy Patton’s house.
“I’m living in that house!” Stoner said he exclaimed.
Kirk, a former clerical worker for the Rowan-Salisbury School System, had worked with Patton for several years when she served as assistant principal at East Rowan High School. Kirk had been in the home several times, long before Stoner first saw the house on a Christmas tour.
Stoner and Kirk hit it off immediately. Yost, who was already up to her elbows in candy canes and homemade bows, said she was thrilled to have Kirk’s help.
“This was right up her alley,” Yost said.
The Spencer Candlelight Tour of Homes, followed by the Candlelight Tour of Churches on Dec. 16, are sponsored by the Spencer Hometown Holidays Committee. Tickets for the home tour are on sale at Debbie Barnhart Jewelers, Spencer Home Supply, Green Goat Gallery and the Rowan County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.