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The Orteza family home, designed by architect Pierre Blouke of Chicago and built in 1948 by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Carus, is situated on a tree-lined street in one of Peru’s most lovely neighborhoods. The mid-century modern house located at 2211 Twin Oak Road, Peru is now home to Joe and Dr. Norah Orteza and their four children, Claudia, Henry, Olivia and William. The home features a library, large greenhouse and beautiful manicured grounds. Every Christmas season the home is decorated by inspiration from resident artist, Joe.
The upcoming Home for the Holidays House Walk 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 will feature six festively decorated homes in Spring Valley, La Salle, Peru and Utica and benefit St. Margaret’s Hospital Foundation.
Tickets will be available through advance sales only. They are $25 and available at Hy-Vee, Hackman Insurance and Dr. Lee Ceresa’s office in Peru; Tri-City Frock Shoppe and Studio 718 in La Salle; and Spring Valley City Bank and St. Margaret’s Gift Shop in Spring Valley or call (815) 664-7260.
Among homes on the tour will be the former St. Roch’s Church building in La Salle, which was transformed into the John Fialka home by builder Ken Migliorini; the 418 Elm St. Webster Park home of John Thompson and Melanie Malooley Thompson; the former Edward Carus home of Joseph and Dr. Nora Orteza at 2211 Twin Oaks Road, Peru; the 324 Florence Drive, Utica home of Rob and Erika McNally; the 621 28th St. home of Scott and Linda Ganassin in Peru and the Bucklin Street former home of La Salle’s first mayor, Alexander Campbell, now owned by Henry and Deb Hackman. In addition to the Alexander Campbell (Hackman) home and former St. Roch’s Church (Fialko home), the following stops are included:
Ganassin family home: The 11-room red brick colonial home owned by attorney Scott and Linda Ganassin at 621 28th St., Peru, was built in 1997. A winding path leads to the stately two-story home that retains the architectural characteristics of the original Pre-Revolutionary War colonials, including a pitched roof, evenly placed windows under the roofline, shutters and a center entry. A winding stairway greets guests as they enter through massive double doors. The family of Scott, Linda and their two sons Pierce and Parker especially enjoy spending time in the sun room. Its focal point is a 4,000-pound limestone fireplace that was designed in Paris and sculpted in Toronto.
Thompson family home: When John and Melanie Malooley Thompson, CPA, decided to build a home they knew exactly what they wanted, says Melanie, “A beautiful, spacious house that would accommodate a busy, growing family’s lifestyle; a home that would welcome family and friends.” Their dream home became a reality in 2001 and is the center of family life for their children, Kyle, Tyler, Kelsey and Keeley. Christmas is the family’s favorite time of year, with decorating by Melanie starting in late October. Each room has a holiday theme — from the foyer, “Deck the Halls”; the kitchen “Believe”; the master suite “Holiday Glitz and Glamour”; living room “Oh Holy Night”; and the dining room “Holiday Cheers!” — the Spirit of Christmas comes to life.
McNally family home: “Surround those you love with items you love,” says Erika McNally. Her goal has always been to create a warm and welcoming environment to all who enter. A mix of mission style and antiques, Rob and Erika McNally built their home at 324 Florence Drive in Utica in 1999. Empty nesters now, they are the parents of two children, Jordan and Alyssa. Rob’s home office has a nautical theme, Erica’s sled and ice skates from her childhood greet visitors at the front door, a 35-year-old Dickens Village transforms the family room into a winter wonderland, and the kitchen is filled with gingerbread men, and a large snowman collection.
Old St. Roch's (Fialko home): Built in 1917, St. Roch’s Catholic Church served La Salle as a parish until the early 1980s. In 2010, John Fialko of San Diego, Calif., purchased the former church at 548 Crosat St. from the Diocese of Peoria.
Historic Alexander Campbell (Henry Hackman) home at 409 Fourth St., La Salle, was built in 1858 by the first mayor of La Salle, Alexander Campbell, who also was a congressman, developer and friend to Abraham Lincoln. Converted to a multi-family home in 1946, Henry and Deb Hackman purchased the home in 1984 and restored it to the 12-room single-family home it is today. House tour ticket holders can sip a cup of wine and smell the cookies baking in the snowman kitchen.
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