If variety is the spice of life, it's also the impetus behind the Batavia House Walk.
Organizers of the walk have always tried to feature a mixture of architectural styles.
If you goWhat: 2012 Batavia House Walk, featuring five distinctive Batavia homes
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30
Where: Homes include: 1101 Davey Drive; 230 N. Lincoln St.; 504 Main St.; 621 Main St.; and 843 Alberosky Way. Admission includes tea at Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water St.
Transportation: Transportation to each house, and to the tea, is available for an additional $15. Call Batavia MainStreet to reserve a seat.
Tickets: $18 in advance; $20 the day of the walk. Purchase online at downtownbatavia.com. Tickets are also sold at Gibby's Wine Den, K. Hollis Jewelers, Sue's Family Hair Co. and Special Occasions.
Call: Batavia MainStreet office at (630) 761-3528.
"Each home is so interesting," said Jan Gibson, owner of Gibby's Wine Den in Geneva and chairwoman of the house walk committee. "Each home has its own character and interesting components."
The sixth annual event, set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, will feature a traditional home, a compact Victorian, a new construction Craftsman style home, a completely renovated folk Victorian, and a new construction traditional/Old World home. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 the day of the walk.
"We think five (homes) is a good, manageable number," Gibson said. "Nobody feels they didn't get to see it all."
Because the homes are spread throughout the city, the committee is trying something new this year. With advance reservations, participants can board a bus that will take them to each home.
"For $15, they can be dropped at the end of the driveway of each home; their final destination will be the tea," Gibson said. Water Street Studios will offer tea, light refreshments and goody bags for all participants, as well as a chance to win raffle prizes. All funds raised by the house walk will benefit Batavia MainStreet's efforts to revitalize the city's downtown.
For homeowner Susan Clingen, supporting Batavia MainStreet was a strong motivating factor in her decision to participate.
Having served on committees and as a docent for previous house walks, Clingen knew how much work would be involved in getting her house ready for the tour.
"It's an opportunity to do the things you kind of let slide," Clingen said. "I would compare it to someone getting their home ready for sale. We painted, we put on a new roof."
Clingen, who lives in the 1992 traditional style home on Davey Drive with her husband Ken and children Kelly and Conor, owns an interior design business and thinks house walk participants might be able to get some decorating ideas from her home and others on the walk.
"My specialty is accessories," Clingen said. "I do a lot of thrift shopping and have managed to put together a pretty good look for the money."
Clingen thinks her home, which is 3,500 square feet, may have been chosen by the house selection committee due to its unique features.
"The previous owner did carpentry as a hobby. He did a lot of upgrades to the house, like unique moldings and a custom wine rack," Clingen said. "The first owner put in a beautiful multitiered rock garden."
After making improvements and sprucing up the decor, Clingen says the challenge now is "keeping it neat and hoping you don't have any kind of disaster."
The idea of allowing strangers into one's home may not appeal to everyone, but Clingen feels comfortable because of the way the tour is run.
"It's very secure because they take small groups," she said. "There are five docents and a house captain at each house. Nobody is left to wander."
About 400 people toured the homes on last year's house walk, Gibson said.
"It's a lot of work, but I have such a strong committee base and such great volunteers; about 125 altogether," Gibson said.
For details or to purchase tickets for the house walk, visit downtownbatavia.com or call (630) 761-3528.