Denise DeBaillie describes her residence as "a nice country home that sits on a lake."
It certainly is that, but the description leaves out some compelling details, such as the recent updating, the ceiling-to-floor holiday decorations, the setting and the surprise in the basement.
You can see these details for yourself on Saturday, Dec. 2, when Denise and Rick DeBaillie's home in rural East Moline will be one of four open for tours as part of the Christmas Traditions event sponsored by Port Byron First United Methodist Church.
Their ranch-style home with a full, lower level walk-out was built in the 1970s by Denise's parents. The lake outside the home's back deck was created during the land excavation that occurred in the construction of nearby Interstate 80.
The home had another set of owners after Denise's parents, but in 2000, Denise and Rick, who is retired after 37 years at John Deere Harvester Works, bought the home because they "always liked it — the bones and the setting," Denise said.
In the intervening years, they have done much updating, which is one of the home's compelling details. Anyone looking for ideas for their own homes will find a lot of inspiration here, beginning with the kitchen, which the DeBaillies just finished.
For this project, they removed a wall between the kitchen and dining room, opening up the space and bringing in a lot more natural light because the dining area opens to the deck overlooking the lake.
Also part of the remodel: New quarter-sawn oak cabinets, a hickory floor, a backsplash that includes glass tiles and granite countertops. The granite island is 40 inches wide and 10-feet, 3-inches long, the biggest single piece they could find.
Other updates occurred in the living room where the couple installed larger windows to take advantage of the view. "The seasons are wonderful," Denise said of the changing landscape outside the glass. There is a special coziness to winter when snow covers the trees and the lake freezes over, she said.
Other living room changes included rewrapping the ceiling beams and changing the stone fireplace hearth from white to earth-tones.
No. 2 on the compelling details list is the totality of the DeBaillies' Christmas decorations, the theme of the tour. The foyer, for example, shows the dramatic effect achieved by using just a few colors — in their case, red and gold. Other ideas: Affixing ribbons and balls to light fixtures and investing in winter-theme bedding.
No. 3 is the setting. With the view from the deck that runs the entire length of the house, one would scarcely need to take a vacation.
Finally, coming in at No. 4., is the surprise — a hunting room in the lower level. This is another space the couple updated. In addition to installing wood siding on the walls and redoing the bar, they outfitted one room with animals Rick has harvested. They include two mounted wild turkeys, three deer heads with antlers, a pheasant, a mallard duck, a bass and two bleached deer skulls.