Holiday Home Tour will feature four distinctive Camas residences

The Spirit of the Season

Cindy Ontkean is preparing for the Holiday Home Tour, set for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9. She and her husband Mike built their home in Lacamas Shores 10 years ago. The Ontkeans have many family holiday traditions, from hanging favorite ornaments to picking out their live Christmas tree each year. “Our house will completely transform in the next couple of weeks,” she said. “It’s fun to get out all of those memories each year.” Buy this photo

Camas Holiday Home Tour

What: A tour of two historic and two notable homes. They include a French country cottage and a classic Victorian, as well as a contemporary Asian influenced home and a French country estate.

When: Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tickets: “Early bird” ticket prices are being offered through Friday, Nov. 23 for $20 each, and are available at the Downtown Camas Association website, www.downtowncamas..., and at five downtown Camas locations: Ballard & Call NW Art Gallery, Camas Antiques, Camas Hotel, Lizzabeth A, and the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce. After Nov. 23, tickets can be purchased for $25 each.

Tickets include the opportunity to learn about each home from docents, who are volunteers from Soroptimist International of Camas-Washougal, along with the chance to enter a raffle.

Why: Proceeds benefit the Downtown Camas Association and the Soroptimists.

Cindy Ontkean had such a great time showing her decked-out house during the Holiday Home Tour four years ago, she’s back for a second round.

“It was such an enjoyable experience,” she said. “People were so appreciative that we had opened our homes. I got some personal notes of thanks. The reason I did it was that my mom had just died, and she loved Christmas. I could feel her with me. That’s why I’m doing it again.”

Ontkean’s Lacamas Shores home and three others will be featured on the fourth-annual Holiday Home Tour. The event, held Dec. 8 and 9, benefits the Downtown Camas Association and Soroptimist International of Camas-Washougal.

Karen Hall, co-owner of the Camas Hotel, recently resigned her position as chairwoman of the event, but stayed on to help find homes to feature and work on promotion.

“Organizing it is a huge job, but once you see the homes decorated, it’s a very joyous occasion,” she said.

The tour will feature two historic and two notable homes. The former are a French country cottage style residence and a classic Victorian near Crown Park. The two contemporary homes are on Lacamas Lake, and include an Asian influenced home decorated in Feng Shui style, and a French country estate affectionately nicknamed, “Maison sur la lac.”

Local businesses Lizzabeth A, Flowers Washougal and Camas Antiques support the event, along with local designers Kathy Wilson and Karma Zarosinski of Karma for Design.

“It’s a really nice event, and people enjoy visiting the houses, and stopping in downtown Camas for some shopping and dining,” Hall said. “This year, I’ve contacted different assisted living centers so they’ll have a nice occasion to get out.”

It will be Susan Kashas’s first experience showing her house in the Holiday Home Tour.

Kashas, who describes her decorating style as “relaxed and comfortable French country,” keeps her husband Les, of Kashas Construction, busy with new projects.

“I’m always redecorating and moving my stuff around,” she said.

She is looking forward to her home being featured in this year’s tour. It won’t be the first time her home has been in the spotlight, however. It has been included in several magazines such as “Romantic Homes,” “Romantic Country,” and “Cottage Style.”

“I’m excited to do it because I love to decorate,” she said. “This gives me a chance to do even more and I like to entertain and talk to people.”

Caroline Mercury, president of the Downtown Camas Association, said the annual tour is one of the many DCA events which highlight the historic and cultural aspects of Camas.

“Camas is a charming small town, known for its hospitality,” she said. “Many volunteers participate in this event to welcome visitors and share the spirit of the season.”