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Knife River's home tour returns

The home of Jody and Kelly Faughnan will be part of Saturday's Knife River home tours. Christine Holm1 / 3
Wood around the Faughnan's fireplace has been reclaimed. Christine Holm2 / 3
A photo on the wall of the Faughnan home reflects the family history in commercial fishing on Lake Superior. Christine Holm3 / 3

Between the decorating and the baking and the shopping, you may be ready to run away from home this holiday season. Go ahead. Run straight to Knife River Saturday and get inspired by the three homes featured on this year's Christmas Tour of Homes.

Sponsored by the Knife River Recreation Council, the Christmas Tour of Homes is an annual event that began in 1987. "It all began to help raise funds for programs for area children," said Jacquie Sebastian, this year's coordinator. "But with fewer children now, proceeds go for other wide-ranging community events, as well as the summer programs we still sponsor for children."

The $12 ticket helps with community programming and it buys plenty of fun. Everyone meets up at the Knife River Recreation Center for coffee, cider, and cookies, and can spend some time checking out the several area craft booths. Then SUVs arrive, donated by Sonju's, to bring tour-goers to the three homes.

Two of the homes are along the ridgeline of Lake Superior.

The other home was built by Jody and Kelly Faughnan. Kelly is the president of the Knife River Recreation Board, and is quick to point out that they do their decorating for the fun. "It's the second time we've been in the tour," she said. "But the first time we were in another home. This is the one we finished about four years ago. It's fun to see what people think about what we've done, and share ideas for decorating."

The home is a contemporary beauty, offering views of Lake Superior and Knife River. "Growing up in Knife River, Jody spent plenty of time at the beach and in the river," Kelly said. His family has been in the Knife River area for three generations. His grandfather, Mel Bugge, ran a commercial fishing business on the site where the Candy Store sits on Scenic Highway 61. Jody's father still lives in Knife River.

Kelly feels fortunate to be able to own such a wonderful piece of property. "Having built several homes previously, we acted as our own contractors," she said.

It gave the couple the freedom to make changes as their vision evolved. "We absolutely love it," Kelly said. "Why go anywhere else? We have it all here?"

There's plenty to enjoy at the home: His-and-her garages, heated Italian tile floors, and Brazilian agate countertops in a dream kitchen. The home is warm and welcoming.

The fireplace is special, too. "The fireplace mantle and furniture accents are made from 100-year old timber that washed up on the beach from the historic coal dock at the mouth of the river," Kelly said. Original railroad spikes and hardware remain in the wood. The Faughnans also used rocks they collected from the beach to accent the fireplace.

"We strove to bring the feel of the lake and beach inside," Kelly said. "It has been suggested the rounded front seems like a ship, quite appropriate for a beach home."

There are as many windows facing the water as they could fit in to enjoy the river, lake, and island views. Using steel supports with concrete walls allowed less wooden structure between floors and kept it energy efficient.

The staircase, painted red, seems ready for Christmas year-round. The family has already put up two Christmas trees - one near the fireplace and one upstairs that their daughter Jenny decorated with all the family decorations they've collected through the years.

On the day of the tour, you'll also get to see some inspiring holiday arrangements made by members of the Knife River Garden Club.

If you go

Knife River Christmas Tour of Homes

- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

- Beginning at rec center, 199 Alger Smith Road

- $12 per person, no reservations needed