The William Barlow House on Highway 99E outside Canby is leaning into the Christmas season this year like never before, with a professional holiday light display custom-designed to complement the historic structure’s clean lines and timeless elegance.
The display was designed and installed by local contractors Holiday Light Solution, which worked with the property’s owners to match the aesthetic to the home’s iconic, 19th-century Italianate style.
Christmas lights didn’t exist when the home was built by William Barlow, son of pioneer Samuel K. Barlow, in 1885, but current owner Jeff Falconer believes the soft, traditional look selected by Holiday Light Solution was a perfect choice.
“Obviously, they didn’t have Christmas lights back in the day,” Falconer said, “but the warm white lights felt like it was in keeping with the lines and Classical style of the home.”
Holiday Light Solution owner Adam Zagel and his team built 8-foot-tall, custom frames to line each window with 22 faceted lights each, then added more along the fascia and corner posts. A central wreath and garlands were added to complete the look. The system is hooked together and runs through a single plug.
Zagel said drivers would be able to see the brightly lit home coming over the hill from Aurora. The trickiest part, Zagel said, was attaching each piece using high-grade magnets and other temporary fasteners rather than staples, screws or permanent hooks, in keeping with the owners’ requests.
“Adam was great to work with and did a great job preserving and protecting the historical considerations of the house,” Falconer said. “We’re happy we found him.”
Zagel said they have worked with historic properties before, including the Frank Manor House and Cooley home, both on the campus of Lewis & Clark College in Portland.
“You pay extra attention to the electrical [with historic homes] and what the client wants,” Zagel said. “You’re probably not going to do really wild colors or anything like that. You’re going for a classier look.”
Falconer said he has owned the home for 18 years but this is the first time they hired out for the holiday lights. He laughed when asked why.
“I don’t like ladders anymore,” he said. “I’m probably past my prime for climbing around my home. Time to let the professionals do what they do.”
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