By Tim Leeds
The homes on this year's Soroptomists International Home Tour show many aspects of home decorating, including how to convert a hospital into an apartment building, how to fill a home with Christmas, and how to decorate a home with books.
Raela Hulett, chair of the Soroptomists Home Tour Committee, said the variety should be enjoyable.
"A lot of people like to see other people's creative ideas," she said.
This year, the Soroptomists decided to help the Havre-Hill County Library buy a new computer server with the proceeds of the tour. The old server, which housed the library's home page, broke down in October. People can't access the library page until the new server is installed.
The tour includes Judy and Tom Wolfe's home, the Parkview Apartments, the home of Josephine and Richard DonTigny, the home of Bev and Ron Bastin, and the house Crystal and Jody Manuel are building south of Havre.
The way the Wolfes' house is decorated reflects Judy Wolfe's support for the library: The house is decorated in books.
"I love books and I literally decorate my house with books all my life, in every home I've ever lived in," she said.
The books are displayed in different ways - some are on bookshelves in the living room and kitchen, others are displayed on end tables and coffee tables.
The Manuel home will not be completed by the day of the tour, but Jody Manuel said the basement should be nearly complete and some main features of the upstairs - exposed posts and beams for vaulted ceilings - are integral to the construction and will be visible.
The house is built of squared logs using tongue-and-groove construction to connect them. Doors, cabinets and bookshelves are being custom-made. The doors are being made out of leftover lodgepole pine from the construction of the walls of the house and Douglas fir. The two kinds of wood are giving the doors a red-and-white two-tone look.
The downstairs bedrooms are being decorated to reflect the tastes of the Manuels' children, including a cowboy theme in the room of 3-year-old Sawyer, a pink-and-purple theme in the room of 7-year-old Sarah, and a hunting and fishing theme in the room of Tristan, 9.
The Manuels have also installed the wiring for a central media system. It will allow six different systems, like satellite television, satellite radio and a stereo system, to be connected to speakers in 12 different places.
The DonTignys moved into their home about two years ago. They bought it from John Sparks, the former manager of United Building Centers, who had it built to his specifications in 1999.
The house was well-constructed and has a lot of nice extras, Richard DonTigny said.
"It's the nicest one I've lived in," he added. "There are lots of little touches that really add to the house."
Those include a windproofed area oustside, off of the redwood deck, that allows comfortable dining outside.
"In this country that is kind of important," DonTigny added.
The house has a large front window, an office with glass French doors, recessed lighting, ceiling fans, and very nice doors and cabinet work.
Bev and Ron Bastin are showing seasonal decorations in their home.
"It's kind of a traditional Christmas," Bev Bastin said.
The decorations, ranging from giant candy canes lining the walkway to the three Christmas trees in the house - one traditional, one an angel tree and one a ginger bread tree - have special meaning to the Bastins.
"All of the decorations I have are connected with memories of special people, special places, special happenings," she said.
The Parkview Apartments give people on the tour the chance to see a very successful conversion - Sacred Heart Hospital turned into an apartment building.
"It's just an incredible facility. It's going to be a great tour," said retired dentist Bill Rader, who is one of the owners.
Rader and his wife, Gail Rader, were among the partners who joined developer Jim Sleeter in buying the building in 1975.
Maps will be provided for people touring the four-story building, Gail Rader said.
"The building is so huge," she said. "In fact, you can get lost."
The building includes a social room on the first floor, where the tenants often gather. That is where refreshments will be offered and Havre-Hill County Library director Bonnie Williamson will be available to answer questions.