Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 24, 2013
SPENCER — The inside of Margie and Paul Facer’s Carolina Avenue house is a feast for the eyes this time of year.
And local residents will get to experience it for themselves when the couple open it up for a Christmas tour from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6.
They agreed to be part of Spencer’s Christmas home tour earlier this year and decided to proceed even though the tour was canceled.
Christmas decorations adorn every corner of the historic home, which many know as the Chapman House.
There’s at least one Christmas tree in every room, but many contains three or four.
There’s the red room, the white room, the orange room, the slate room — all of which contain trees decorated in the respective color.
The dining room houses what Margie refers to as the “Santa Tree.” Positioned next to a fireplace, it is lit up with both regular string lights and bubble lights.
“I was brought up with bubble lights,” she said. “Some of these work, some of them don’t.”
A camel statue rests at the other end of the fireplace. He’s actually part of the nativity scene featured at the front of the house, but his sheer size forced him to be relocated.
The hall leading to the kitchen contains a tree filled with horse-shaped ornaments and multi-colored lights. That one’s for Paul.
“I like to bet on horses,” he said.
Resting atop the kitchen cabinets is an entire Christmas village, equipped with a bowling alley. A few fiber-optic trees gives a warm glow to that space.
Fifty-four nutcrackers take over the room the couple refers to as “the bar.” They line the mantel and bookshelves, peering out into the middle of the room where a tiki bar and comfy leather chair rest.
“She likes nutcrackers, I like bars, so this is our compromise,” Paul said with a laugh.
Intricate white button trees sit on a hutch in the hallway.
“My grandmother used to make them out of flour sacks using buttons off of men’s shirts,” Margie said. “During the holidays they didn’t buy gifts, they made each other gifts.”
That’s just the downstairs. Paul says “most of the decorations are upstairs.”
Up the stairway, a group of trees await at the end of the hallway, beckoning guests to keep wandering through the house.
Red ball ornaments dangle from the two crystal chandeliers that provide soft light and tinsel is used to adorn the edges of mirrors throughout the house.
The silver bow that sits atop the tree inside the “slate room” looks like something from a department store, perfectly tied and cascading elegantly down the tree.
A bedroom at the end of the hall contains Christmas trees decorated with rabbits. Margie, of course, calls that the “bunny room.”
Cuckoo clocks line the wall above the bed in the connecting room. A bright red quilt decorated with poinsettias is there to keep visitors warm as they settle in for a long winter’s nap.
The couple began decorating the house at the beginning of November, before their children arrived for an early holiday celebration.
“I’ve always liked Christmas,” Margie said. “This isn’t one or two years, this is a long time collecting.
“I buy a new tree every year.”
The pair scour garage sales, antique stores, thrift shops and boutiques for decorations year-round.
“We hit the after-Christmas sales, so we don’t pay full price for anything,” Paul said.
The Facers have owned the Chapman House since 2004, but didn’t move in until 2008.
They fell in love with the historic home during a business trip from Florida, where they both worked for Tri-Rail.
“When we got here she said ‘Buy this house or I’m leaving,’” Paul said.
Margie had read about the more than 100-year-old house in Country Living magazine and decided she had to see it.
Before moving to Spencer, the couple would spend vacation time working to rehab the house, which was originally built as a boarding house for the railroad conductors.
“Little by little we’ve worked on it,” Margie said. “We’re still working on it; it needs a lot of work.”
The Facer’s open house will be free, but they are collecting a love offering to give to Calvary Lutheran Church’s missions. The collection will honor the legacy of Margie’s parents, who were very active in the church.
Denise Waller, the church secretary and a close friend, said those who come to tour the house won’t regret it.
“I love it,” she said. “I love when it’s November because I know they are getting started and I can come over and see everything.”
Sarah Campbell is the Post’s lifestyle editor.