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Home tour returns in style

Two years since the COVID-19 epidemic forced its postponement, the Historic Apalachicola Home and Garden Tour returned with style and grace, and with a robust attendance.

Karen Kessel, who co-chaired the event with Sabrina Fornes, said ticket sales were brisk all day long. Bidding was strong at the silent auction as well, which was the largest in the nearly three decades since the tour began, as a fundraiser to do needed repairs on the historic church and rectory.

This year, the Domingo Cantanetti house at 42 Sixth Street was the featured site. Kept in the same family for over 100 years, and damaged by fire in 1979, the Horns, a couple from Virginia, lovingly brought it back to life. After 30 years, the house was purchased by Jason Carter, who works in kitchen cabinet manufacturing, and his wife Tara, who has a background in promoting the history of her native state, Alabama. The Colonial Revival home dates to 1887.

The Moody-Whiteside House at 96 Sixth Street, long the residence of Richard Bickel, was also on the tour. A New Englander influenced this house’s exterior style and Moroccan and Indian sensibilities, gathered from Bickel’s travels as a renowned photographer, guided its interior design.

The Jimmy Bloodworth ranch-style home, at 24 12th Street, now owned by Allison Green, was built by the baseball great in 1958 with winnings earned after his team won the National League pennant eight years prior. Acting as her own designer, Odom put her mark on this iconic mid-century rambler with a light-filled floor plan that connects indoor living with the green outdoors.

The William Sanders Maddox home and garden, now owned by Brenda Elliott and Richard Kerr, was built around 1890. Vintage furnishings add character to this classical revival residence that underwent a complete renovation in 2016-17. Outdoor living spaces include two decks, a goldfish pond, and a new garden to attract butterflies.

In addition to the community gardens at Apalachicola City Square, the tour showcased the house and garden of the Rev. Martha Harris and husband Mickey. Deemed a Certified Wildlife Habitat, the garden is a welcoming haven for bees, butterflies, birds, and amphibians.

Kessel’s own home, the Isaiah Abrams House at 230 Eighth Street was one of the shotgun houses of Apalachicola’s Hill neighborhood. Built in 1912 by African American carpenter Isaiah Abrams, the home was restored in 2021 by LaRaela and Glen Coxwell.

The other House on the Hill, owned by Mollie and Paul Hill at 193 Sixth Street, was also completed by the Coxwells, in 2018. Mollie Hill, a former executive with the Capital Medical Society, and husband Paul, an attorney, retired here and designed a new 2,000-square-foot three-bedroom home with an Old Florida look, complete with pool, bocce ball court and garden enhanced by native and tropical plants, fruit trees, and flowers.

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