You can meet the gracious hosts and appreciate the homes of five different Whiting residences plus the amazing church turned into a home by one enterprising couple.
The huge brick church had been the home of St. John Lutheran Church since 1914. Its particular glory was its immense stain glass windows and beautiful polished oak wood everywhere. But as most churches felt the loss of numbers, so did St. John’s and with only a few members left, they sadly voted to close down the church. That’s when Thomas and Monica McKeown bought the great old building in 2010 and spent the next two years making it into their architecturally outstanding home.
And what was the glory of St. John’s still exists everyday as the sun beams through these luxurious windows which are now part of the home’s kitchen, bedrooms and throughout the main living and dining area. The house also features two bedrooms, a movie room and a master bedroom with duo bathrooms which were renovated from the church’s Sunday School classrooms. And to top it off, the original bell in the tower still can be rung by hand!
Next visit the home of designer Pati Miller Manich whose 1925 brick bungalow was originally the home of a prominent furniture dealer in Whiting. You’ll notice that Pati’s living room and dining room are somewhat larger than most other Whiting homes. It seems that the original family often displayed their products right there in the house and one could buy the furniture right out of the house. But don’t worry, Pati won’t sell a chair out from under you although you have the ability to buy any of her designer original wreaths, settings, and other décor work on the day of the sale.
Pati has been a designer for The Patchwork and had done the entire Horseshoe Casino holiday decorations for many years. She also was a “wall artist” for years in the northern suburbs.
You’ll see birds as a winter theme here as it’s one of Pati’s favorite motifs from paintings, to carvings, to her china place settings.
Next it’s the one home everybody in Whiting would like to visit…. it’s Whiting’s Queen Anne built in 1902. From the third floor window (where the backstairs lead up to the servant’s area) every Christmas you will see a child’s dollhouse, completely lit and set up waiting for Santa. It’s a sweet tradition here at the home of Arlene and John Toleikis as are the candles lit in every window of the 12 room house.
All the crown molding and oak floors are original and the entry way has gorgeous original art deco leaded glass with huge jewels. They are the original regular double hung windows from the turn of the century.
The whole house, inside and OUT, reminds you of being in a Lifetime Christmas movie.
These are just a few of what delights and decorative ideas await you at the Whiting Arts Alive! Home for the Holidays tour on December 8 from 3p.m. to 7p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Whiting Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce and Mindbenders on 119th Street.
For more information about the walk or how to get tickets, call 219-742- 1648.
Thanks to Sue Baxter and PanoramaNow for sharing this article.