BRADENTON -- Jim and Laura Collier's reaction was entirely normal when Entre Nous asked to put the couple's abode on its 35th annual Holiday Tour of Homes Saturday and Sunday.
"You don't notice how dirty things are until you start thinking -- what would someone else think about them?" Laura Collier said Monday.
"It forces you to tighten up your ship," her husband said.
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Not necessary, said Entre Nous president P.K. Isiminger.
The Collier residence, 302 30th St. W., Bradenton, is fine as it is, thank you.
"Laura was like, 'Oh, I have to do this. I have to do that.' No, you don't have do anything. We could walk in here and it would be perfect," Isiminger said. "Some people are modest. They think, 'Oh, not my home.' It really is beautiful."
So are the other three homes
on the tour, no doubt.
n The Allen Home
709 89th Ct. NW.
n The Rajan Home
905 Riviera Dunes Way
n The Clements Home
2315 Eighth St. W.
According to tour ticket chairwoman Toniann Petrillo, each home will get spruced up and decorated for the event.
"It's a major undertaking," she said. "They basically give us their homes for the weekend and are gracious enough to give us free rein."
The Collier home, a two-story with 1,900 square feet, was built in 1926. When the couple purchased it in 1995, they spent another eight years doing extensive remodeling.
"It was rough when we bought it -- dirty gold shag carpeting, wall paneling, big chunks missing out of the plaster -- but I love my house now," Laura Collier said.
She'll have plenty of company after the tour, Isiminger said.
"There are so manybeautiful homes around the community, but homes like this, little bungalows, patrons love the best," she said. "They can see what they can do for their own home. People will just ooh and aah."
The Holiday Tour of Homes is the major fundraiser for Entre Nous, which distributed more than $36,000 last year in scholarships to 51 Manatee County students and grants to 12 local nonprofits.
It also operated an emergency relief fund for financial assistance to families in crisis.
This year Entre Nous is partnering with the Food Bank of Manatee.
At each tour home there will be a food collection barrel for tour patrons to donate canned food items.
Last September, Entre Nous donated $10,000 from its Treasured Traditions cookbook sales to help restock the Food Bank shelves.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: Entre Nous 35th annual Holiday Tour of Homes
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the homes
Information: Call Entre Nous at 941-748-8579 or visit www.entrenousmanatee.org.