Nancy Giehtbrock stands next to an antique aluminum Christmas tree that is over 50 years old. It once belonged to her parents.
Nancy Giehtbrock stands next to an antique aluminum Christmas tree that is over 50 years old. It once belonged to her parents.
"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . everywhere you go . . ." Well, maybe not everywhere you go quite yet, but those taking in the Chatfield Lutheran Church's Holiday Tour of Homes on Sunday, Dec. 2, from noon to 3:30 p.m. will be treated to a tour of five local homes, all decked out for the season.

The tour, sponsored by the Youth and Family Committee, will begin at the church where one can enjoy a few refreshments before deciding which of the five homes to visit first. The homes featured on the tour this year are owned by Nancy Giehtbrock, Elizabeth and Derrick Allen, Ross and Jen Johnson, Michael and Michelle Pederson and Doug and Kelly Nosbisch.

The tour, held every-other-year, is organized by Connie Walker. She explained the tour helps raise funds to be used for mission trips for the church's congregation.

Nancy Giehtbrock

"'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, the creatures were stirring to renovate this old house, which was built in 1947 by Dr. Claude and Dora Woodruff," began Giehtbrock as she described her home, built in the 1940s.

She added that Dr. Woodruff died in 1947, at the age of 72. He and his wife had two children, Paul and Helen. Paul was also a doctor and was killed in a car accident at the age of 34. Dora died in 1948 at the age of 68. This is when Helen took over the house. She later sold the house to Conrad and Betty Brekke, who had owned a jewelry store on Main Street.

Giehtbrock explained she babysat for the Brekkes when she was 11 years old until she was 15.

"I used to help Betty rake leaves and other odd jobs for her, as we didn't have a yard to play in as my parents lived above the bakery across the alley from this house," Giehtbrock noted. "As our family grew, my parents purchased this house in 1963."

She added that she graduated in 1965, so she only lived there for two years before leaving her parents' home.

Her father, Leo, died in 1985 and her mother, Ruth, died in 2008 and Giehtbrock knew she wanted to retire in Chatfield, so decided to purchase the house from her seven brothers and sisters in 2009.

"I started to renovate the house in 2011 and 2012," she continued. "I had the vision as how I wanted it to look and I had an excellent contractor, Tim Brogan, so we built a new house from the inside out."

The home was stripped down to its studs, rewired and rebuilt.

She explained that the downstairs bedroom, which was once Dr. Woodruff's office, has the original flooring as do all the rooms upstairs. "I have kept all the original doors throughout the house," Giehtbrock continued. "I didn't change any of the structure of the rooms."

She did add on a dining room, bathroom, laundry room, closet and garage. "My vision was to add the front wrap-around porch and back deck," she added.

Giehtbrock shared the house is full of many family memories of gatherings and family meals. "We have a very loving and caring family," she added. "I love to entertain and continue the family traditions."

As one tours the home, one will notice that Giehtbrock's decorations are very simple. "I worked in retail for 26 years and Christmas started in October," she explained. She does have a collection of wooden Santas, which have been made by a friend and an aluminum tree that was once owned by her parents.

Even though Giehtbrock is not usually here in Minnesota during Christmas, she is pleased to be opening her home for the Holiday Tour of Homes this year. "It has been a few years since I have decorated," she said as she spends most of her holidays in California.

As one tours the home, Giehtbrock suggests people look at the colors the bedrooms are painted as they match the handmade quilts given to her by her aunts.

She explained many family members have had their input on different parts of the renovation, so it continues to be a family home even though her family now refers to it as "Nancy's house."

"Many people have asked me why I haven't opened a bed and breakfast, but my comment to that is I have many family and friends who stay here. I want it to be an open feeling for them to stay here anytime," she concluded.

Doug and Kelly Nosbisch

"I love to decorate for all the holidays, but Christmas is by far the most fun," said Kelly Nosbisch. "I love to decorate with a lot of lights and candles. It reminds me of that bright star shining in the east that glorious night!"

One will find the Doug and Kelly Nosbisch home decorated with many trees and a collection of snowmen for the holidays. Each child has a tree in their room and trees are located in many of the common rooms as well. The snowmen collection began several years ago and it just keeps growing, Kelly explained. There will also be many Christmas books displayed throughout the house that the kids enjoy reading during the season.

While touring the home, one will find a special tree located downstairs which is adorned with ornaments Kelly received each Christmas from her parents as she was growing up. "I now keep that tradition going for our kids and their ornaments are also a part of this tree," Kelly added. "So, once they are out on their own, they will have a collection of ornaments to start their Christmas traditions with."

Kelly explained the tree in her daughter's room is decorated with Precious Moments ornaments that Abby receives each Christmas from her Grandma and Grandpa Narveson.

In the boys' room, one will see a ball theme in the whole room, so they have continued that theme when decorating their Christmas tree. "They both enjoy playing and watching sports," Kelly added.

A new sunroom in the house will be decorated since it is the first year the Nosbisches have had it, but Kelly is still unsure as to how it will be decorated. "My plans are to have the real tree in there," she hinted. "I always have to have one real tree for Christmas."

The Nosbisch home was built in 1950 by Charles and Pat Johnson and the Nosbisches moved in during May of 2001.

"Since that time we have made many changes," said Kelly. "When we moved in, it was a two bedroom and two bathroom home, all on the main floor."

They converted an old bathroom into a laundry room at first, and then in 2005, they began finishing the brick basement. "This took some time as Doug did most of the work himself," Kelly added. "Now, the basement consists of two bedrooms, a bathroom, family room and two storage rooms."

In 2008, a large remodeling project took place with the living room, entryway and kitchen being redone. "We took down the old red brick chimney and fire place. This task alone took 15 hours of jack-hammering," Kelly shared. "The kitchen and entryway were totally gutted. We took out two walls so it opened it all up."

The Nosbisches added custom cabinetry and trim in the kitchen, entryway and living room, all in cherry. The hardwood floors on the main level are hickory. "Doug and I went to a lot of open houses to get the right combination that we liked," Kelly said. "Even though it was a huge mess, I love my new kitchen and the openness that we have with it now."

In 2012, the couple gutted the sunroom on the back of the house. The walls and ceiling were all done in balder wood. The floors are laminated wood. "We also added a bar area in the room and this is now the family hang-out," Kelly said. "I never really decorated the sunroom in the past, so this year will be the first year to have fun decorating that new room."

Tour details

The tour begins at Chatfield Lutheran Church, 304 Fillmore St. SE, Chatfield. Tickets are $5 and are available, along with maps and shoe bags, beginning at 11:45 a.m. Refreshments will be served in the narthex from that time until 3:45 p.m. For more information, call Chatfield Lutheran Church at (507) 867-4721

The first two of the five homes will be previewed in this issue and the other three will be featured in next week's Chatfield News.