There's a gingerbread house inside the front window of Someone's in the Kitchen in the heart of downtown Libertyville, but it's not just any gingerbread house.
It was created—from scratch, by the way—by store owner Susan Edmondson and was modeled to look like the Cook House. What makes the display even more interesting is that Edmondson's edible masterpiece sits inside a much larger gingerbread house that was designed and built by the Loeb Design Group.
"It turned out better than I think either of us could have imagined," said Edmondson.
The holiday display at Someone's in the Kitchen took first place in the retail category for MainStreet Libertyville's annual window decorating contest. Allure Designs in Beauty, located across the street, took first place in the service category.
"It was awesome," Edmondson said of her store winning first place. The winners were announced at Libertyville's tree lighting ceremony Nov. 23. "It really was exciting."
Edmondson teamed up with Loeb Design Group for the contest. The Loeb Design Group does kitchen remodeling and interior design work. Laurie Loeb, the company's owner, said Edmondson was planning to display gingerbread houses throughout the store.
"I said, 'Why not do a big one in the window?'" said Loeb.
Loeb said she wanted to keep with the theme of Someone's in the Kitchen. It was no different, she said, than working with clients for her business.
"Each person lives in their home differently," said Loeb. "I design around the client and their needs."
She worked with one of her contractors, Mark Policht, who built the frame of the large gingerbread house, which includes cardboard and ribbon-wrapped PVC pipe.
Meanwhile, Loeb said she wanted to come up with cheap ways to make faux candy for the large gingerbread house. Individually-wrapped pieces of candy are made of cellophane-wrapped bubble wrap. There are also gum drops fashioned out of cellophane-covered plastic foam cups, along with halved plastic foam balls covered with glitter.
She spent about 24 hours over three days assembling her masterpiece, which also includes a Christmas tree decorated with cellophane and candy canes.
"It was not an easy task," Loeb said. "But we had really good time doing it."
Creating the Edible Edifice
For her part, Edmondson's gingerbread house "started life on pieces of paper."
"This was the first time I'd done a gingerbread house without a purchased template," she said. "Because I wanted it to look like Cook House, I had start from scratch."
She baked the gingerbread in her store's kitchen to avoid having to transport her creation. She used royal icing to hold the gingerbread together.
"It's a lot of fun to do," said Edmondson. "I find it relaxing."
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