Touring Gowrie homes

GOWRIE – Visitors to A.J. and Katie Dorsey’s house thought the crackling fire made it extra cozy – even though it was just a recording on the TV.

“It’s on Netflix,” Katie Dorsey explained to her guests.

The Dorsey house was one of five on Gowrie’s annual Christmas Tour of Homes. The tour has been put on by the Community Women’s Club each year since 1994. Proceeds from the event go to a scholarship.

Dorsey’s house featured an elaborate blue and gold table setting, a train running around the Christmas tree and a glowing miniature village in a bed of cotton snow.

Dorsey, like others on the tour, said she didn’t change much after she was asked to be part of the tour. She just decorated like usual.

“This is pretty much the same,” she said. “Obviously, we wouldn’t have set the table. And I haven’t gotten this out for the last few years,” she said, looking at the village.

That set belongs to her husband, she said. His mother gave him a new piece every year for Christmas when he was growing up.

Dan and Janet Nordin’s home has recently been remodeled.

“It’s a midcentury modern style,” Janet Nordin said.

Tables and benches throughout the house had a retro feel, including a table and benches that looked like they’d come from a ’50s era diner.

“I bought that table 15 years ago maybe. My daughter found these stools, and I had them restored,” Nordin said.

Julie Siefken, of Windsor Heights, was on the tour with her mother and had visited three houses so far.

“They’re all really cute, really nice,” Siefken said. “I really like the sleigh – the wagon at the Carlson house.”

The wagon had big wooden wheels, but could easily be mistaken for a sleigh with silver reindeer in the front, piles of toys and packages in the back, and a painted Santa in the seat.

“My husband’s grandma painted that. It’s probably one of the oldest pieces of Christmas we have,” said Jennifer Carlson. “We figured, we’re in an old farmhouse, so we thought we’d keep the old farm rustic theme.”

The farm has been in the family for more than 100 years, and has all the original woodwork.

Even the electric train running around the Christmas tree had some history.

“That’s my husband’s dad’s train set,” Carlson said. “My boys would play with it with their grandpa.”

Her daughter, Hannah Carlson, 19, said the house looked more or less like this every year.

“We put up a second tree for this tour, and the train,” she said.

Hannah Carlson and her brothers helped set up the decorations.

“Even my boys came and helped. They did the farm scene with the train,” said Jennifer Carlson. “We’ve had a good time decorating and getting ready… I’d say Christmas is my favorite holiday.”