Exeter Woman’s Club will show the home of Stan and Tamra Bennett in Christmas Home Tour on Dec. 7
By Patty Hylton, Exeter Woman’s Club
EXETER – Five years ago Stan and Tamra Bennett walked through the double doors of the house that was conceived by landscape artist Steve Cox and found to their surprise that they were in a lovely “outside room.” You too will walk through the double doors and be welcomed by a floor-to-ceiling Christmas tree and a warm, crackling fire and you will realize that you are still outside! The outdoor pool and large family dining table which has been the scene of many family birthday parties beckons you to explore more of the outside but this December night we encourage you to turn to the right and enter the large sliding glass doors to the beauty of this Craftsman style home.
The hand-sawn hickory floors stand up well to the pitter-patter of seven grandchildren as well as the Bennett’s three great Danes. The Bennetts begin most days in front of the fireplace, coffee mug in hand, to observe a time of quiet. The Sequoia “Poster” mounted above the fireplace was a great find for the Bennetts. Tamra can remember watching her grandfather wind the mantle clock that you will notice in this room. The furniture is cozy and arranged for conversations in this room where the love of family is evident.
Stan’s office is to the right of the family room. His desk was originally the Bennetts’ dining room table in the 1970s. In the guest room, you will notice the baby crib which has seen lots of use over the past 10 years, as well as, the Thomas Kincaid painting.
As you double back to the kitchen/dining area, you will begin to realize that the house is designed not just to give you a view of the outside but to integrate the two so you feel the outside is a part of the inside. The handcrafted Amish chairs make a strong statement around the dining table. The hand-made tea cart is adorned with Stan’s grandmother’s and his Aunt Cleo Kertel’s silver.
As you enter the master bedroom you might find yourself exhaling. This room seems to say: “breathe—you’re home.” The mirror above the bed was a 1925 wedding present from Elmer Bennett to his bride, Pearl Maxwell, Stan’s grandparents. The cabinet at the foot of the bed houses a flat screen TV.
For the “cherry on top,” don’t leave this property without seeing Tamra’s addition above the garage—the bunkhouse! When their garage developed a leak, Tamra sketched out a 16′ x 20′ room, which would not only cover the leak but would be able to house all her grandchildren, as well as, one set of very brave parents. Each bunk has a queen-sized mattress and its own reading light. Take special note of Tamra’s grandfather Frank Eggers’ saddle, custom built by Visalia Saddle Co., and also his chaps on the opposite wall. Frank Eggers was a walnut farmer in the area and guided pack trips out of Mineral King, which according to family lore included Teddy Roosevelt on one trip!
You can see the Bennetts’ home along with three other homes on the Christmas Home Tour presented by the Exeter Woman’s Club, Friday, Dec. 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are $25 each and on the day of the tour tickets are $30. Tickets are available at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Antiques by the Water Tower and E.T.C. in Exeter, Franey’s in Visalia or from any EWC member. Featured homes will be decorated for the holidays and there will be a hospitality house at the Exeter Woman’s Club, 201 N. Kaweah in Exeter, where they will be serving hot cocoa and snacks with live music throughout the evening.