Designer Opens Home for Candlelight Tour
The 32nd annual Episcopal Day School Candlelight Tour of Homes will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. This year's tour features five homes in Pinehurst and Southern Pines, each uniquely decorated for the holiday season.
Talented local musicians will be entertaining in the residences. Ticket sales from the Candlelight Tour directly fund the technology and media needs, educational materials and supplemental programs for the EDS students and teachers.
Tour visitors are in for a treat this year at the home of Jim Schmalenberger and Bob Lowery in the village of Pinehurst. Their white brick home, called "The Carriage House," was built in 1998 and was recently remodeled in order to create more livable space. Schmalenberger has an extensive background in visual merchandising and displays for well-known national corporations. He combined his interior design and decorating skills with his background in antiques and master carpentry to transform the Carriage House into a historically inspired and exquisite home.
Entering into the foyer is as if one is entering into a grand European estate. Two pairs of large, shimmering crystal chandeliers light up the main rooms. Itinerant oil paintings adorn the rich jade walls. Extensive moldings and trim work painted in a shade darker reinforce the elegance of the room. Layers of sumptuous Oriental rugs soften the floors. The tasteful and sophisticated style manages to be comfortable and plush simultaneously.
An eclectic mix of French, American and English antiques as well as Asian pieces abound. Schmalenberger used decoupage to transform a grand piano that sits in the corner. For Christmas, he creates a unique and unexpected holiday decoration and promises one will find that "surprises abound" around the piano.
Adjacent to this area is the new kitchen, which originally was the garage of the home. Schmalenberger and Lowery completely remodeled the space and turned it into a magnificent kitchen. The stainless appliances, triangular work space and culinary accessories would be rated first-class by any foodie. An enormous island which was custom made by hand by Schmalenberger is painted in distressed green on one side and red on the other. It is a perfect place for Lowery, an enthusiastic gastronome and bon vivant, to prepare meals.
Decorator touches such as gold walls and a red ceiling, Oriental rugs, furniture that is repurposed as cabinetry, gorgeous lighting fixtures, oil paintings and beautiful accessories bring the kitchen to life and warm up the room. Hundreds of cookbooks in an armoire are within easy reach of Lowery as he is planning meals.
Down a small hallway and past a convenient butler's pantry is the stately formal dining room. A handsome mahogany table that seats eight is surrounded by aristocratic oil paintings, china and silver. A Duncan Phyfe settee, circa 1840s, is nestled under a window. On the dining table Schmalenberger arranges a living floral arrangement for Christmas.
In the living room an ormolu French desk, an 18th century sofa and an early English Queen Anne chair mix with a large collection of silver. Three antique grandfather clocks -- one circa 1760, another early 1800s and a centennial piece hand-made in Philadelphia in 1870 -- are prized possessions. Schmalenberger also hand-made a grandfather clock, a skill that has been passed down from his father.
To the right of the living room is a guest bedroom and bath decorated with luxurious fabrics and antiques. The four-poster mahogany bedroom suite is fit for a king. The adjoining bath is wallpapered in coordinating fabric. The bath and shower are cleverly draped off to fool the eye.
Off the formal living room is a more casual sitting room. The natural-light-filled room is a wonderful space to read or watch television. A round game table and ample seating is a gathering spot for entertainment.
A French door leads out to a private patio perfect for outdoor entertaining. A small pool along with gardens and a water feature is walled in for privacy and an intimate ambience. The outdoor space is reminiscent of European courtyards with its stone work, flowering vines and ornamental plantings.
Two antique cars will also be on display for the tour. A 1960 a black Rolls Royce and a black 1956 Ford Thunderbird will impress the car enthusiasts.
Other homes on the Candlelight Tour this year are located in Pinewild Country Club, Country Club of North Carolina, National Golf Club and in Southern Pines.
Tickets for the Candlelight Tour cost $15 in advance or $20 the day of the event. They can be purchased from any Episcopal Day School student, the school office and at the following outlets: The Country Bookshop, Natures Own/195 and Gulley's Garden Center in Southern Pines; One Eleven Main in Aberdeen; and Lady Bedford's Tea Parlour and Gift Shoppe and Cool Sweats in Pinehurst.
Group sales are available online at www.episcopalday.org.
For more information, call EDS at (910) 692-3492.
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