“Would you like to take the grand tour?”

Those are welcome words to anyone who loves looking at houses. From overall design to color scheme, construction materials to cabinetry, and fixtures to decor and beyond, every home offers plenty to see. And for those who are building a new place of their own, are planning a remodeling project, or who simply appreciate great houses, home tours offer plenty to be inspired by.

The five homes showcased in this year’s Detroit Lakes Damien Home Tour provide ample opportunities for inspiration. From a chic new “mountain modern” style home with clean lines, textures and earth tones, to a charming Craftsman Nantucket lake house with a Pottery Barn vibe, every property showcased on the tour has a personality all its own.

The idea, organizers say, is to have “something for everyone” on the tour.

A back patio area on Rick and Maureen Meland's newly remodeled Detroit Lake home features comfortable seating and an electric outdoor fireplace. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)
A back patio area on Rick and Maureen Meland's newly remodeled Detroit Lake home features comfortable seating and an electric outdoor fireplace. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)

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“Typically, we look for homes that provide a wide variety, as far as type and size, and what the owners’ have done to them,” explains Jackie Buboltz, chairwoman of the tour. “We want people to get different ideas for their own homes, whether they’re redecorating or remodeling, or just looking for ideas.”

Eric and Tami Soyring’s newly built “mountain modern” home in the Timber Creek development, for example, will appeal to fans of uncluttered, organic design — one of the latest trends on the national home design scene: “It’s just a really, really different vibe,” Buboltz says.

Meanwhile, she adds, Paul and Beth Pridday’s property on Long Lake “has a sort of ‘man cave’ — which is something we look for, to appeal to all types of people for the tour.”

The Pridday property is laced with personal touches throughout, such as this "Count your blessings in dog years" sign. The Priddays love dogs, especially basset hounds. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)
The Pridday property is laced with personal touches throughout, such as this "Count your blessings in dog years" sign. The Priddays love dogs, especially basset hounds. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)

Rick and Maureen Meland’s home, as well as the home of Bill and Velva Strand, are both complete remodels at different locations on Detroit Lake. In both cases, the couples took on most of the work by themselves, completing their projects over the course of multiple years.

“They just really remodeled them and designed them to make them their own,” Buboltz says. “They have that vision.”

Last but not least is Tom Campbell’s house, a big contemporary home across from the Detroit Country Club. It’s often noticed and remembered for its unique style and eye-catching, teal-colored roof.

“People pass by that steel-roofed house and they wonder if the inside matches that same contemporary feel you see on the outside,” Buboltz says. This year’s home tour offers them a way to find out.

Bill and Velva Strand spent several years completely remodeling their home on North Shore Drive, inside and out. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)
Bill and Velva Strand spent several years completely remodeling their home on North Shore Drive, inside and out. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)

Now in its 40th year, the Damien Home Tour is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Damien Society, a local philanthropic organization that supports a long list of Detroit Lakes area charities. The tour always takes place during the first weekend of October; this year, it will be Saturday, Oct. 5, from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

All funds raised from the tour go back into the community. Over the last couple of years, Buboltz says the Damiens have donated more than $10,000 per year to local charitable efforts, thanks to home tour sponsorships and ticket sales.

“We just get so excited about the Home Tour every year,” she says. “And we continue to do it because it’s been so successful.”

Advance tickets are available for $20 at the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, Central Market, Mainstream Boutique, Beautiful Junque or through Damien Society members. Tickets may also be purchased on the day of the tour at any of the five featured homes, for $25.

A map of the homes and their addresses is included with the tickets.

The tour is self-guided, with members of the Damien Society welcoming ticketholders into the homes at any time during tour hours. Participants must be at least 10 years old and be wearing socks (no bare feet or shoes are allowed in the homes). Bathrooms are not open to the public, and taking photographs of the homes is prohibited.

The inside of Tom Campbell's home on Lake Sallie is open-concept, with sweeping views of the lake from almost every room in the house. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)
The inside of Tom Campbell's home on Lake Sallie is open-concept, with sweeping views of the lake from almost every room in the house. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)


What’s the Damien Society?

The Damien Society is a group of Detroit Lakes area women devoted to community service and charitable giving.

The group started in 1950 after 15 local women decided to break from their Beta Sigma Phi sorority in order to do volunteer work for the community without being tied to a national organization. They asked 20 friends to join, and the 35-member Damien Society was born.

Why it’s called the Damien Society, no one really knows. Some Damiens believe it was inspired by the legacy of Saint Damien Molokai, known for his efforts caring for Hawaiians afflicted with leprosy. Others say it stems from how the charter members’ husbands used to refer to meeting nights as “dames’ night out.”

Whatever the case, the Damien Society has lasted for generations. It’s 69 years old this year, and while the names and faces of the Damiens have changed, the society has always remained a group of 35 women, and their community service and philanthropy continue to be the driving forces behind the group. They meet on the second Tuesday of almost every month.

The Mitten Tree Project is one of the Damien Society’s best-known causes. The project has provided more than 1,000 mittens, scarves and hats to children and seniors in Detroit Lakes schools and nursing homes since it originated in 1966.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Families, too, have been sponsored by the Damien Society, since 1976. Damiens wrap presents and also give food, clothing, gas cards and other necessities to people in need in the community around the holidays.

Damiens tend to stay in the society for decades, so openings are seldom. When there is an opening, new members are typically nominated by existing Damiens, and are then elected into the society via secret ballot.

“It’s a great organization to belong to, because it’s all women who are very passionate about our community and giving back to our community,” says Buboltz, who’s been a member for the past five years. “We’re very invested in the success of our community, and it’s a fun group to be a part of.”