I had the pleasure of attending the annual Virginia Highland Tour of Homes this past weekend and came away feeling like I got my $30 ticket’s worth. Let’s see, there were eight homes , so that comes out to almost $4 a piece; yeah, I would say that’s not a bad deal. Did I mention local restaurants had tastings at each location?
Here are my thoughts on this year’s tour.
- A little humor goes a long way. One of the most impressive homes on the tour was a new construction, art-filled modern bungalow. What could have come away as a little intimidating was softened by the inclusion of the homeowner’s Corona Light bath slippers and towels embroidered with the official name of the residence: Casa Pete.
- If your home has a piano, there better be someone there playing it. All of the homes touched on at least three of the five senses (sight, smell, and taste), but the tinkling of ivory keys in one of the tour stops set off the experience in a special way.
- As etiquette expert Letitia Baldridge pointed out in her book on the subject, one of the greatest signifiers of a person’s taste is in how they treat others. I will not get into specifics, but needless to say some of the docents on the tour were rather tasteless, with nary a glance or “hello” as you entered the room. The ones that did treat the guests as guests were greatly appreciated.
Attitude aside, home tours are one of the best ways to get ideas for your own home. Among the many takeaways: don’t assume ceilings should be painted white; supporting local artists is a great way to give your home soul; and the smallest home designed in a careful way beats the heck out of a poorly decorated McMansion any day.