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Decorating ideas for merry and bright heartland holidays were shared by presenter Rachel Peabody and her family of house flippers at the December meeting of the University Women of Christian County. Pictured from left are UWCC vice-president Carol Alexander, president Jenny Moats and Rachel and husband Sam Peabody with twins Lola and Grace.
TAYLORVILLE – Festive decorating ideas abounded when the University Women of Christian County met Tuesday, December 7 for their monthly meeting at First United Methodist Church.
Cascading through three generations, three families and a grand total of 45 Taylorville area homes flipped, rehabbed and remodeled, Rachel invited members to peek behind the scenes during this most wonderful time of the year.
Striving for “well-loved, lived-in” homes,” Rachel said family tradition goes back to the late 1970s. Jeff and Betty Peabody, Sam’s parents, became rehabbers. Over the years, they transformed 29 properties and provided bountiful inspiration for a new generation. At last count, Sam and Rachel tallied 10 residential overhauls. Sam’s sister Mary Erlenbush and her husband Trent total six.
Premiering “The Peabody Family Parade of Homes, 2021”, Rachel projected pictures of rooms dressed up for Christmas by all three families.
“Traditional Christmas Cheer” is the descriptive name Rachel gives to the home of Jeff and Betty, 604 South Hunt Road. Walls of lakeside windows provide a backdrop for the family’s collection of antique mirrors. A triple mirror towers on a fireplace mantel and is a setting for many cherished family photographs.
A vintage mirror and a tabletop tree welcome visitors in the entryway.
Jeff trims his skis each Christmas and hangs them vertically on a den wall. He paints original art in his garage studio. Visual pop exudes from salvaged paned windows still in their aged frames. Ball-shaped ornaments in vibrant colors bounce on panes, dappled by painted snowflakes. “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and other seasonal sayings spread holiday cheer.
Another no humdrum zone awaits at the “Winter Wonderland Retreat” of Trent and Mary and their children Wade, Charlotte and Drake on Lincoln Trail. The sprawling, half-timbered landmark with adjacent horse stables was purchased recently by the couple.
Elk and other hunting trophies are mounted on a wall in the long hall. Introducing a black Christmas décor, Mary trimmed a tree in stark white lights. Stacked mirrors and tall candlesticks create drama in the dining room.. With wood paneling and an antique mantel, the ambience echoes a mountain lodge. A lavishly decorated Christmas tree celebrates the season. In the dining room, year-round visual delights are the built-in cabinets: Mary wallpapered interiors and added dramatic lighting.
“Merry and Bright”is the theme Rachel has chosen to describe 2314 Northshire Road, where she and Sam live with their twins. Pink is Rachel’s favorite color. It is found throughout the home, including the tile entryway floor.
A friend’s gift of the bejeweled Christmas tree, created herself of brooches (ornamental pins), mounted and framed became a sparkling marquee on their entry wall. Instead of being hidden away in a jewelry box, the bright accessories are front row, center.
One of the family’s Christmas trees shimmers in hot pink. Baskets hang on walls in the company of a pink and purple Persian rug. The brightly patterned stockings of Sam, Rachel, Lola and Grace hang by a chimney with care. A library table with pink marble top feeds the family and the souls. It is a find from Rebecca’s Antiques on the Taylorville Square. Another resourceful choice is a breadboard from the 1700s. It hangs on a dining room wall, where everyone enjoys looking at it and using it, Rachel says.
Resembling the front of the twin’s first home is “The Pink Playhouse” built by Sam for Lola and Grace. Decked for Christmas and wearing the door knocker from their first home, this Peabody creation nods to Christmases past, present and future.
Winding down her sentimental journey, Rachel quoted Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie fame:
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time.”
Where does Rachel get her ideas?
She loves to look at online pictures to meet needs of the home. When she finds what she likes, Sam makes his own version of it, as he did with the pink entry floor.
Is it hard to leave a home after their upgrades?
Rachel found it easier to leave before they had children. Building memories in a home, especially with children, makes leaving it hard, she explained.
How do you have time for work, family and rehab? (Rachel is Director of Communications for the Illinois Soybean Association based in Bloomington..)
Rachel said she is very busy. She and Sam share in the work. She focuses on design. He does any heavy lifting and has torn out floor joists and rebuilt. With a current lull in the flipping business Sam has more time for his carpentry, and he is a licensed realtor.
Have there been any disasters?
Rachel described a disaster they had only two months after moving to the rural Garwood House. The water pump kept kicking off. Its well went 200 feet down to an aquifer, and the pump was stuck fifty feet down. In mid-January they had to dig a new well at a cost of about $17,000. Two months later, city water service became available there.
Is this a good time to be a flipper?
With interest rates low, it’s a competitive market for home buyers. With such high demand, this is not the best market for buying homes to fix and sell. Sam said he expects more real estate will be available in a few years.
What is the first project in a dwelling undergoing rehab?
Bathrooms. They must work properly.
How does the presence of projects affect the twins?
Rachel described the twins as being hardy from growing up around construction. They love to do their own projects and seem to share the same dynamic of their parents: One person designs, and one person fixes.
A prize drawing for a craft made by Mary was won by Jenny Moats.