Angie and Robert Dornauer designed their home at 230 Woodmere Drive to resemble an English country estate. It was completed in 1992. A manger scene is sheltered by a large evergreen near the end of the driveway that curves to the house.
The two-story brick home features tall, arched windows and sharply angled roof lines. On either side of the front door, a pair of large, lighted nutcrackers twinkle in time to holiday music.
In the foyer, the stair railing is threaded with ribbon and garlands. Next to the staircase, a tall figure in plush red attire could be mistaken for the real Santa. It was crafted by Guy and Judy Dell, who sold their creations at various shows. One of them was the Y-Wives Holiday Extravaganza, of which Angie is a co-chairman. She spotted the statue there, along with numerous other pieces, and brought them home.
A gleaming lacquered piano stands ready for a musician to render seasonal tunes. In the front window, a 12-foot Christmas tree is hung with hand-blown glass ornaments in an array of colors.
"Throughout the years, we would collect glass ornaments from all over the world. We've been collecting them probably 30 years. As you can tell, we love glass, so that was an inexpensive way to start our glass collection," Angie said.
A closer look on a lower bough reveals a Darth Vader ornament, complete with sound effects. Angie said she had to add it to the tree because it was a childhood favorite of her younger son, Mark, who will be home from college for Christmas.
A beaded, monogrammed tree skirt is spread beneath the branches.
The Dornauers' affection for glass continues with a glass-topped coffee table whose base is a sculpture by Robert Wyland. On a nearby pedestal is a copy of Wyland's famous work, "First Breath," featuring a whale calf and its mother leaping above the waves. Colorful paintings and more glass art also stand out against the neutral walls in the adjoining living and dining room.
The spacious gourmet kitchen features a 10-foot island and gazebo breakfast nook. The space atop the cabinets serves as a display area for unique souvenirs from the couple's extensive travels, including Native American art from Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, and objects from Alaska, China and South America.
The Dornauers' most recent trip was to Africa in August.
"We went into Kenya for the wildebeest migration and came back with a lot of these things," Angie said.
Along the back of the house is a wall of windows that provide a view of neighboring houses and Lake Woodmere. The Dornauers' 2-acre lot includes a peninsula that extends into the spring-fed lake.
Angie said she gets her winter workouts ice skating and cross country skiing on the frozen surface.
"Did you know there was water back here? A lot of people are shocked when they see this," Angie said. "People used to come here and fish before all these houses were here."
In the family room, a group of wooden Santas carved by the late Gary Mulvane stand guard on the hearth near the gas fireplace.
"Remember Gary Mulvane from the Holiday Extravaganza? Wonderful guy, and we just thought, a gifted artist, for this man to hand-carve all these incredible pieces ... I'm glad I bought as much as I did," Angie said.
In addition to the Dornauer home, the 2011 tour sites include:
The contemporary multi-level hillside home of the Reineke family, 5209 S. SR 231, was designed by Joe Bolish for Hubie and Jo Bernet.
Constructed in 1971, the house blends into the natural elevation of the land overlooking a branch of the Sandusky River. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow sunlight and the changing seasons to be visible from any room in the house.
The open floor plan on the main level places the kitchen and dining room between two living areas.
Natural materials, including dark oak trim, appear throughout the home. The family living area has a cedar ceiling, built-in cabinets and a large limestone fireplace, constructed from stone mined in neighboring Bloomville.
Slate flooring throughout the foyer and kitchen coordinates with the granite countertops and stone pillars, while the stainless steel appliances allow for efficient family use of the home.
A see-through fireplace connects the dining area to the front living area. The multi-level, open-air stairs allow for viewing three levels from the front door.
In addition to the views provided by the many windows, three outside areas allow for interaction with the scenery.
The home is comfortable and welcoming as it blends in with the natural setting.
Visitors must park and use the shuttle service from the Edenwood Veterinary Clinic at 4686 S. SR 231 to visit the home.
The country home of Richard and Barbara Dandurand at 2981 S. CR 19 was built in 1939 and is located on 3 acres of land overlooking Honey Creek.
Richard and Barbara Dandurand purchased the home in 1967, at which time only the upstairs was finished. A carpenter, Richard converted the garage into the kitchen and the workshop into the family room.
After the renovation was complete, the Dandurands raised six children in the home.
This will be the 43rd Christmas the immediate and extended family will enjoy the holiday in their county home.
The Cape Cod residence of Tony and Tai Livoti is located at 10 Fulton Court. Within the city limits, the Livoti residence is a 1950's Cape Cod-style home with a modern twist. The home features a contemporary take on Christmas decor, with an unexpected color scheme and many other unconventional features.
Two Christmas trees provide a contrast. The first is a glistening modern and chic tree in shades of green and blue; the second tree is more traditional and nostalgic, with handcrafted ballerina ornaments, each from a different ballet.
The Livotis said they view their home as a typical American home with a big Christmas flair.
Completing the tour is a stop at Grammes-Brown House, 172 Jefferson St., which houses headquarters for The Tiffin Historic Trust.
The nine-room Second Empire-style home was constructed in 1884 by local confectioner and baker, Peter Grammes. Fine woodwork includes the arts and crafts cabinets in the dining room built by Rosina Brown's father, Jesse Brown. Notable among the antiques belonging to three generations of the Grammes and Brown families are the 1910 Steinway grand piano, a converted gas lamp crafted of tin, restored family dolls and the grandfather clock Peter Grammes brought from Germany.
Rosina Brown, granddaughter of the home's builder, bequeathed the Victorian era house to the Tiffin Historic Trust in 1988. Now serving as the headquarters for the organization, the house and garden are open to the public by reservation for tours and private functions.