Tour of homes - Stearns

The home of Susan and John Stearns, decorated for Christmas and welcoming visitors on the 2019 Tour of Homes

OSKALOOSA – If you missed out on the 2019 Christmas Tour of Homes this year ,you missed out on a treat.

This year’s tour featured four homes spread across Oskaloosa, each uniquely designed to make a Christmas lover out of anyone who stepped in.

For the 2019 tour, the homeowners that chose to open their doors and spread their love for Christmas and decorating were Susan and John Sterns, Tim and Lori McIntire, Jody and Jeff Mitrisin and Lindsey and Brett Henry.

Susan and John Stearns

For the Steans residence, Susan Sterns did all the decorating. With the theme of pine cones and vintage pieces throughout the home that perfectly tied her Christmas decor in with the permanent decor in their home and while each room felt completely different, the pine needles and cones helped to tie them all together. From the wooden crates and boxes that held each tree to woven baskets and moose themed wooden decorations and bears, the Stearns residence set the tone for the rest of the tour as they were the first stop if you followed the list of homes in order.

Why did you participate in the Tour of Homes?

“I’ve always been loved Christmas and decorating for Christmas and I thought might as well share what I like to do, and share my collection, and I’m excited to have people come in and share in our Christmas Day.”

How long did it take you to decorate?

“I started the second week of November doing a little bit every day, and I’m going to say I finished this morning.”

Tim and Lori McIntire

Next on the list was the McIntire residence. Tim McIntire was mainly responsible for all the decorating. The theme throughout the home seemed to be Christmas trees of various types and sizes, vintage dolls and splashes of red from poinsettias, to hollies, cranberries, ornaments, pillows, books, wall art and Santa Claus in a variety of disguises. As visitors toured the home throughout Tim played Christmas songs on the piano, taking the Christmas cheer in the home to the next level.

Why did you participate in the Tour of Homes?

“Well, our next-door neighbor was invited to participate, she told the organizer that her next-door neighbor might be better qualified. And so we got the call saying, ‘oh your next-door neighbor just recommended you for the house tour.’ So we said ‘okay.’”

How long did it take you to decorate?

“We started about two weeks ago, that’s longer than we normally would take to get started decorating for Christmas. We thought maybe we should go a little extra.”

Jody and Jeff Mitrisin

“In the Mitrisin home, Jody Mitrisin is solely responsible for the Christmas decorations. Jody Mistrisin is a Christmas lover and it shows from the moment you walk up to the property with Christmas Caroler statues and signs covering the walls outside. The theme throughout the Mitrisin home was Santa and different versions of Christmas villages and caroler figurines throughout the home. Mistrisin also had a Christmas tree or Santa in every room, one tree displayed feature Santa stuck in it with only his legs sticking out. The fireplace was lit and fresh cookies were on the kitchen island

Why did you participate in the Tour of Homes?

“I was working in my yard this summer, and my neighbor behind me was having a garden party. She said, ‘we noticed last year that you had many lights through your windows, so we were just wondering if maybe this year that you would entertain the thought of being on the Christmas Tour of Homes’ and I thought, ‘oh sure.’ Christmas is my favorite time of year and this is what I do for my house every year anyway, so this was easy for me and super enjoyable. I got me a kick start into the holiday so now I’m ready.”

How long did it take you to decorate?

I did start early much earlier. This is the first Thanksgiving that the day after Thanksgiving, I was completely ready. We actually got to enjoy the evening – or the weekend – because I was so prepared so I started, I like it the first of November. And I probably worked a solid week, at nights, and a whole weekend.

Lindsey and Brett Herny

At the Herny Family Home, Lindsey Herny did all the decorating. Even if you weren’t a member of the Herny family, the personalized decorations from the moment you stepped onto the property and again throughout the home, made you feel as though you were. There was a Christmas tree in every room in the house with a Notre Dame themed tree in the families ‘Fan Cave’. Lindsey and Brett have three boys whose room featured personalized trees for each child. With over a dozen trees throughout the home, each tree told its own story of the Herny family and made you feel right at home.

Why did you participate in the Tour of Homes?

I actually made a bet with my husband that if I won the painting of lights, then I would be able to do the tour of homes. So, I won the bet and so we did the Tour of Homes.

How long did it take you to decorate?

It took me about three weekends. We worked on it during the day, off and on, and I worked on it in the evenings when I had time.

Tour of Homes

Tour of Homes has been a Christmas tradition in Oskaloosa for over 30 years and is sponsored by the Oskaloosa Area Association of Churches. Each year the OAAC chooses a local organization to donate the profits earned to. This year they chose Youth for Christ.

Tiffany McDaniel can be reached by phone at (641) 660–9659, by email at or on Twitter @tmcdaniel_osky.

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