A home for all seasons

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Kayla Bunge
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
— Debbie Burdick has a secret, which will be revealed during the Delavan-Darien Holiday Tour of Homes on Saturday.

It’s hiding behind the door to the powder room.

A red cardinal sits on the edge of a stone birdbath with morning glories floating high above.

It’s all painted, of course.

The walls of the Burdick home showcase Debbie’s painting skills.

The aptly described family room is painted a warm golden-yellow, and sunshine streams in through the bay window overlooking the backyard. A comfortable dark red and navy blue sofa and loveseat make it easy to obey the words on a plaque hung above the doorway: “Sit long. Talk much.”

A nearby living room is painted a bright, fresh green in a ragged finish over a white wall. A mix of antique and second-hand furniture displays pieces of pottery Debbie has collected over the years.

The dining room boasts plush burgundy carpet and metallic golden-yellow walls, and is home to a seasonal display of Debbie’s ceramics.

“There are two rooms Gary says we don’t need in this house,” Debbie said of her husband’s take on the house, with a laugh. “The living room and the dining room, because we’re hardly ever in them.”

Debbie decorates for every season, every holiday—she even has a Christmas room in the basement. When daughter Sarah was home recently, Debbie was beginning to put out her things for fall.

“Mom, you really do have enough stuff,” she said.

The house is full in more ways than one.

The four-bedroom building is a haven for the Burdick family, a close-knit foursome that includes Gary and Debbie’s grown children, Ryan, 27, a pilot for US Airways, and Sarah, 25, a registered nurse.

“It’s all happened here,” said Debbie, a wall full of framed family photographs behind her.

Gary has been diagnosed with throat cancer three times; he has lost much of his ability to speak and eats through a feeding tube. When he was diagnosed the second time, in 1999, son Ryan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.

They’ve hosted gatherings for family and friends and even been a surrogate family for a foreign-exchange student.

“I think of it more of a home instead of a house,” Debbie said.

The Burdicks have the oldest home on the tour, completed in May 1998. Corn stalks and pumpkins line the winding drive up to the two-story house, one of seven houses along Applewood Way in the Orchard Ridge subdivision, which the couple created more than 15 years ago.

The rolling green land and the apple trees provided an attractive backdrop that the cookie-cutter subdivisions of the time did not.

“I wanted something with charm,” Debbie said.

The Burdick home is located at W7757 Applewood Way in Darien.


Date: Saturday, Nov. 10

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: $8 in advance, $10 at the door; tickets available at Community Bank Delavan, Bradley’s and Walworth State Bank in Delavan

Sponsored by Delavan-Darien High School soccer. Proceeds from the tour go to fund scholarships.


The following homes are on the Delavan-Darien Holiday Tour of Homes on Saturday:

N6471 Milwaukee Road, Delavan

Owners: Patricia McIntyre and sister Evelyn McIntyre of McIntyre’s Resort

When completed: July 2007 after fire destroyed the original lakeside home Jan. 18, 2005

About the home: Located 37 feet from the shores of Turtle Lake, the home was designed by the architect-authors of the books “Not So Big House” after the authors stayed in a cabin at the resort. It features 4,400 bricks from the old Elkhorn Creamery and floors of 100-year-old beams. The limestone fireplace is home to fossils of sea creatures that lived 12 million years ago.

Décor: New Year’s Eve

122B Eagle Pointe Drive, Delavan

Owner: Les Johnson

When completed: July 2006

About the home: On the Delbrook Golf Course, the three-story townhouse boasts Old English style, including a ballroom with columns, stairs and stained-glass windows. The colors were taken from the historic Vanderbilt mansion in North Carolina. Antiques collected from the owner’s travels around the world fill the home.

Décor: Thanksgiving

3218 Chicago Club Drive, Delavan

Owner: Kim Yopp

When completed: January 2006

About the home: Located on a wooded street near Delavan Lake, the home was born as a summer cottage. A screened sitting area overlooks the backyard, retaining the home’s “retreat” feel. The living room boasts cathedral ceilings and a framed rubbing from Shakespeare’s grave; the verse says, in part, “Blest be the man that spares these stones, and curst be he that moves my bones.”

Décor: Autumn

N4161 Kenney Lane, Delavan

Owners: Jack and Debbie Dodge

When completed: April 2007

About the home: Situated on 8 acres in Kenney Woods, the French country-style home features a steep pitched roof and stone exterior. An open staircase and loft overlook a two-story fireplace and lead to the Dodge children’s domain—their son’s “mini apartment” above the three-car garage and their daughter’s Paris-inspired bedroom. The owners had “a big hand” in designing the home.

Décor: Autumn

Last updated: 9:29 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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