Some people wanted decorating ideas, some wanted to support Aiken County Habitat for Humanity Women Build, and others were just plain curious as to what eight historic-district homes looked like on the inside.
Dozens of people took part in the inaugural Kitchen Tour on Sunday, walking along scenic streets like South Boundary Avenue and Colleton Avenue, to visit homes that are a stone’s throw away from downtown Aiken. Visitors meandered through the kitchens and sampled culinary creations by local caterers and dining rooms displaying tablescapes and floral arrangements by local vendors.
Lines formed outside the front doors of many houses as people waited for their chance to get inside.
Tommie Culligan, a Women Build committee member who opened her Winter Colony South Boundary home for the tour, said the tour ran out of tickets because they sold so well.
“We want to thank people for their patience, and we hope they’ll consider coming back again next year,” Culligan said. “We had no idea we’d have so many people.”
Caterers included New Moon Cafe at Culligan’s home, Desserves at the Yeh family home on Colleton, and the Willcox at Rose Roof on York Street. Rose Roof was built by the Willcox family as their private residence.
Vendors included Cote Designs, Cold Creek Nurseries, Plum Pudding, 3 Monkeys Fine Gifts and Folly.
“We were saying you just don’t appreciate the homes when you’re driving down the road,” said Lynn Wheat as she waited to step inside Rose Roof. “I just try to take advantage of looking inside these historic homes when I can.”
The houses ranged in age from 2 to 100 years old, and the decor ranged from classic to modern to country.
Seal Webb and Peggy Miniard live close to the tour route but hadn’t had a chance to peek inside the neighboring homes until Sunday.
“We walk past here a lot and wonder what that house looks like on the inside,” Webb said.
Miniard said the historic charm was what drew her to Aiken from her first visit.
“It’s really nice for these people to open their homes,” she said.
Proceeds from the tour benefitted the Women Build program. The program is now in its seventh year, and the next Women Build house is scheduled to break ground in March.