Sometimes sparse décor can make a room seem more full than if it was cluttered with things — just ask Phyllis Ryan, who’s taken a minimalist approach with her Evenglow Lodge apartment, having only some pictures and a few paintings against a light background. And Ryan would know what works and what doesn’t, given her history with the Pontiac Woman’s Club annual House Walk.
    In a reversal of roles, Ryan’s apartment is one of six dwellings that comprise this year’s walk.
    Her flat, on the seventh floor of Evenglow Lodge, is very bright even without the lights on, letting the sun do most of the work during the daytime hours, giving the environment a subtle sense of warmness.
    “I moved here a year ago, last August, and I signed up for an apartment on the seventh floor because my sister-in-law lived up here and really liked it,” she said. “The rooms are a lot bigger and there’s more room up here on these floors, so when they called me to tell me that there was an apartment available I took them up on the offer.”
    If there’s a governing philosophy in how Ryan has done interior design, it’s that less is more. She proudly displays pictures of her family, but adorns her walls with little else. She does, however, have several paintings done by her father when he was very young that she’s very proud to display.
    “When my father was 13, he spent a summer with his uncle who was an artist, and so he painted these,” she explained. “A couple of them, he had made for aunts and for his parents. He gave them to his aunts, who in turn gave them to my mother when they became ill and that. So then they wound up in my possession and I thought that was really neat.
    “They’re very good, in my opinion, and then you learn he was 13 and it’s really quite amazing. He went on to be a farmer, but he obviously had a lot of talent as an artist.”
    Something new to Ryan this year is the experience of being on the House Walk, as opposed to just organizing it as she had until last year.
    “I’ve always had a lot of fun putting the House Walks together and getting to see all the different homes, so it’s a bit of a different experience actually being part of one,” she said with a laugh. “It’s nice being able to be part of it from a different angle, so I’m excited to show it off.”
    Ryan’s apartment, 707 at Evenglow Lodge, 215 E. Washington St., can be visited Thursday for the annual House Walk from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Caryl & Marilyn’s, Joy’s Hallmark, The Cup and the Scone, County Market, from members of the Pontiac Woman’s Club or by calling 815-844-3676.
    Other stops on the House Walk include Three Roses Bed and Breakfast, Brad and Sara Solberg’s residence, Joseph and Carolyn Gerwin’s residence, Dan and Carrie Hobart’s residence and Louise Masching’s apartment at the Evenglow Lodge.