Holiday Homes tour: Nostalgia and inspiration


By Indiana Nash

Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA AND SCHENECTADY — There might not be even a light dusting of snow on the ground, but a few homes in Niskayuna are already decked out for the holidays and on display this weekend.

The Junior League Holiday Homes House Tour returns this Friday and Saturday, featuring five homes in Schenectady and Niskayuna. The event — part holiday tradition, part holiday inspiration and part fundraiser — has been running approximately every other year since the 1980s, according to event co-chairwoman Denise Murphy McGraw.

The Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties, a community service organization, has worked to raise around $10,000 with this event in years past.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the programs of the Junior League, including Operation Back to School, Discrete Dignity and Kids in the Kitchen,” said Murphy McGraw.

A variety of homes are on the tour, including a traditional center Colonial and a new loft at River House Apartments.

“There are two different groups of people who go,” Murphy McGraw said. There are the people who see the event as a way to kick off their holiday season and then there are the design lovers who use it as inspiration.

And there is plenty of inspiration to be gained from Michael and Leah Olson. Leah, a lawyer-turned-interior-design-influencer, runs a popular blog on Instagram all about her interior design aesthetic: Leah Olson Style (

Her home on Grand Boulevard, a center hall Colonial with stucco and slate roof, is beautifully curated, with modern rustic elements. For the tour, Olson worked with Karen Splendido of Splendid Stems to deck every hall, wall, mantle, etc.

“We’re doing a nostalgic vintage Christmas, Olson said.

There will be a traditional untrimmed tree, vintage ceramic bulbs and natural boughs. Elements of tartan plaid run throughout the decorations as well, from a wool throw to a bow or two.

Although it’s the first time the Olsons have done an official house tour, Leah said it’s nothing new.

“In a way, I open my house to people every day,” she said.

The home of Grant Jaquith and Rosemarie Perez Jaquith, another center hall Colonial, will be full of holiday decor and history.

“I have a lot of history in the house, like old photographs,” said Perez Jaquith, the Niskayuna school board president.

Amid the traditional poinsettias, fresh boughs and garland (done by Felthousen’s Florist), will be some family history that Perez Jaquith said she’s excited to share with others.

“I’m happy to support the organization,” she said.

Other homes on the tour include Evan Euripidou’s Historic Home of the Friendless, the home of Frank Gilmore and Mary D’Alessandro Gilmore, and a loft at the River House Apartments decorated by Experience and Creative Designs and hosted by Haley Viccaro.


Holiday Homes House Tour

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2

WHERE: Schenectady and Niskayuna

TICKETS: $25 before event, $30 at the door




The Home of Evan Euripidou

The Historic Home of the Friendless

237 Green St., Schenectady

Arrangements by Anthology Home


River House Apartments

221 Harborside Drive, Schenectady

Arrangements by Experience & Creative Design Ltd.

The Home of Michael and Leah Olson

2249 Grand Boulevard, Niskayuna

Arrangements by Karen Splendido of Splendid Stems

The Home of Frank Gilmore and Mary D’Alesandro Gilmore

7 Washington Ave., Schenectady

Interior Designer Mary D’Alessandro Gilmore

Home of Grant Jaquith and Rosemarie Perez Jaquith

1475 Keyes Ave., Niskayuna

Arrangements by Felthousen’s Florist