MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 27, 2012

Wagoner home ‘jazzy, upbeat and fun’

By Liz McMahan
Phoenix Correspondent

— WAGONER — Carl and Brenda Dorr fell in love with the nearly 100-year-old Victorian house the first time they looked at it.

That was in 1997.

The house has since turned 100 — it’s now 112 — and it has shed all the Victorian pinks and blues for reds,  lacquered blacks and other bright colors.

Brenda visited New Orleans in 2000 and fell in love with the looks of the Big Easy.

“I can’t live there, but I can bring the fun of the Big Easy to my home,” Dorr said.

She wanted to make her home “jazzy, upbeat and fun.”

Santa’s sure to find all those elements when he visits the Dorrs this Christmas. So will dozens of visitors who are expected to tour the home in the Wagoner Garden Club’s Candlelight Christmas Tour from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The homes have already been open for tour once this season, but the Garden Club fell short of its financial goals and is holding this special encore production.

Homes on the tour are those of:

• Wanda McCauley, 1401 S.E. 13th St.

• Brenda Dorr, 1308 S.E. 7th St.

• Dee Linville, 1304 Ford Circle Dr.

• Diana Armstrong, 901 S.W. 23rd St.

• Marlene Schwalm, 901 S.W. 19th St.

Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.

The decor in Dorr’s home is a conglomeration she has picked up in flea markets, antique shops and eBay. Her friend, Tiffany Cleveland, has served as decorator to put it all together. She, Dorr and several other friends have spent hours turning it into a Christmas beauty. One friend spent seven hours or more doing just one accent tree, Dorr said.

Wanda McCauley’s house, which is about five blocks to the south of Dorr’s, also is filled with the Christmas look, but it’s on more of a country theme. She and her husband built the house eight years ago, but she has spent a lifetime collecting, refinishing and refining the Christmas pieces.

She uses a crock in the kitchen to hold her collection of old wooden rolling pins. Old wooden “pantry buckets” hold an arrangement of kitchen funnels and other items on a kitchen shelf. One of the buckets bears the stamp of a chocolate factory.

A baby’s high chair retrieved from a neighbor’s trash pile makes a nice place to show off items. An antique pie safe in the living room was retrieved from her brother’s manure pile — stamped tin fronts still in place — and refinished by McCauley for her living room.

She said she shops junk stores to find little treasures to add to her collection. Antique stores are too high-priced, she said.

For example, the collection of daintly-embroidered hand towels that covers one bathroom wall has nothing that cost her more than $2.50, McCauley said. Tiny wicker baskets show off her handkerchief collection.

A tiny tea party table is set up in her den area, ready for a child to come and enjoy.

Of all that she enjoys of her Christmas decorations, her favorite pieces are her “snow” people — large stuffed dolls resembling snow men, McCauley said. Some of them she’s had a long time and others she’s acquired more recently. For this year’s Christmas tour, they have their own chair in McCauley’s living room.