Written by Sarah Raines
Photography by Brittney Dowell
As the Golden Triangle enters the heart of the holiday season, Starkville Civic League prepares to present a long-standing tradition that helps get residents into the Christmas spirit.
On December 3, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., three Starkville homes will be featured in the Starkville Civic League’s annual Christmas Tour of Homes. The open-house type event is the league’s only fundraiser, supporting its community projects and endeavors for the year to come, but also providing an opportunity to local homeowners to entertain guests and show their decorative skills.
Throughout the year, the Starkville Civic League does various projects. One ongoing project is to provide two $2,000 college scholarships each year. Other projects vary and depend on what needs club members see in the community.
Chairman of the 2017 Christmas Tour of Homes and Starkville Civic League Vice President Chris Emplaincourt said funds last year were given to the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department and Starkville Police Department to buy equipment. In past years, the league has provided new tables for the Starkville Public Library and added art to down- town Starkville, like the statue in front of the library and the Old Main Clock.
Emplaincourt was first asked to direct the tour in 2015. Directing the event involves pinpointing houses that have yet to be featured and seeing if the homeowners are interested in having an open house.
“It’s almost like opening a show, and the show goes on, which is the opening of the homes, and when the curtains fall at the end of the day, it’s just a wonderful feeling,” Emplaincourt said. “The homes this year are going to be beautiful. They’re different. The Civic League is really grateful to the homeowners for opening their homes.”
Residents featured on the tour decorate their homes for the holidays, designing their décor to show off their own personalities and flare.
“The people that do their homes that I have encountered have exquisite taste,” Emplaincourt said. “They truly could be interior designers. I think their imagination in the way they want things to look is there and has just got to come out, so having the tour allows them to really show off their skills.”
This year’s tour will feature three newer homes in Starkville. Each house is less than four years old, and each displays its family’s personalities.
The Thomas House, Browning Creek
Charlie and Lisa Thomas are decorating their rustic home with fresh greenery, deer antlers, and pheasant feathers for the tour. Lisa Thomas said she plans to put the greenery together personally to showcase the lodge-like feel of her home.
“The style of my house is kind of Mediterranean on the outside with a little bit of hunting lodge on the inside,” Thomas shared. “I would say my great room is my favorite room in the house. That’s where the Christmas tree will be, and we’ll have a decorated mantle. That’s probably my favorite room.”
The Martin House, Browning Creek
For Eddie and Kay Martin’s abode, Kay plans to incorporate her decorative collections in her cozy garden home. It will feature her Christmas village, an array of Nativity scenes bought from their travels around the world, and a collection of miniature churches.
Of the many rooms in the Martin home, Kay Martin said she is excited to showcase the porch and the dining area.
“I love Christmas and I’m all out to decorate,” Martin said. “It’s not anything fancy, but I’ll have my porch decorated. We do enjoy our porch, and we’ll have the tree out there.”
The Tabor House, Country Club Estates
Marilyn and Larry Tabor designed the house they think is perfect for them to grow old together in. Their Acadian-style home that sits within view of the Starkville Country Club’s golf course will be decorated with a collection of Santa Clauses, ornaments, and fresh greenery to welcome their first Christmas in the new house.
Marilyn Tabor most anticipates debuting her brand new kitchen and bathroom to the public.
“I love my kitchen,” Tabor said. “It has an island, white cabi- nets, and beams. It’s real bright and airy-feeling and the appliances are nice. The bathroom has a vanity split between the two sinks and a nice-size closet.”