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Duniway tour opens classic homes, supports school

by: David F. Ashton, Bonnie Roseman and Molly Reed, co-chairs Duniway Holiday Home Tour, coordinated the event that raised $20,000 for the school

Growing more successful by the year, the 'Duniway Holiday Home Tour' helped Eastmoreland residents kick off the Holiday season - while it supported the neighborhood school.

Tour guests saw how several homeowners have honored their classic homes, while infusing them with updated style and appeal. We toured two of the six homes, and spoke with those homeowners about their participation in the project.

David and Monica Harding's home was the first stop for many on the tour. 'We were still in the process of remodeling the house and getting the furnishings,' said Monica. 'It was a little taxing getting everything ready for this event. But now, we have all of the home projects done. There's nothing on our 'to do list' - it is decorated!'

David added, 'It is nice to finally have our house a home. We got the house in October, 2005; moved in during March, 2007. It was a 20-month project that included digging a foundation - we found that it had none!'

Asked why they participated in the project, Monica replied, 'Our son goes to Duniway. We need to raise a lot of money for the programs that aren't funded by school district. It's important to us to give to our school, to increase the opportunities available to students.'

We also stopped by the home of Suzi Morlan, co-owner of Black Cat Pub in Sellwood, because folks said her home is so beautifully furnished.

'This is my first year,' Morlan told us, as we spoke in her spacious, inviting kitchen. 'I thought it was an honor that anyone wanted to see my house. And, I believe in helping Duniway - it's a good cause.'

Morlan said she's owned the house for three years, remodeled it, and added an addition. 'I was born in Portland, and have lived all over the city. But, I think this is a wonderful neighborhood. It is safe; I never feel scared. It is comfortable, friendly, and a beautiful place to live.'

Asked about her unique furnishings, Morlan said, 'I love to collect antiques. The theme of this home is French Country. It is an English Tutor house, but it seems to me like a French Country Cottage. I'm not a designer, but I'm passionate about how things look. Elements like lighting, balance and ambiance. I don't like a sterile environment.'

A guest stopped by and commented glowingly about the home and how it is furnished. Morlan blushed and said, 'It is wonderful to hear the complimentary comments.'

We caught up with Bonnie Roseman and Molly Reed, co-chairs of the Duniway Holiday Home Tour, in the parking lot of the Duniway Elementary School.

'This is the 29th annual Holiday Home Tour. This project provides funds for classroom enrichment and field trips, and things that school budgets don't fund. We raise money by getting sponsors, and selling advertising and tickets.'

Reed added, 'It's a good way to support the neighborhood. It brings in people from all over Portland to see what Duniway does for the community - and, in turn, what the community does for our school.'

'The best part for me,' said Roseman, 'is that everybody comes by says how much fun they had. It's a good feeling, facilitating an event that helps the kids so much. The homeowners feel proud to have visitors; and sponsors for the event get to share their wares.'

Reed agreed, 'It's a fun thing to be a part of. It's rewarding to know that what we do is directly benefiting the school where both of our kids go. It is rewarding, and a great way to meet people we wouldn't otherwise meet.'

'Are your homes open?' we asked.

'NO!!' they grinned in unison.

Later, the pair reported that the sale of 589 tickets, and the sponsorships, brought in $20,000 to help support the Duniway PTA's school programs.

'Don't forget to mention that next year will be our 30th Annual Holiday Home Tour,' Roseman said.

'We'll have even more fun, and some special surprises!' added Reed.