How Do You Get Ready For a Home Tour? Cassie Evans Preps Her Pad And Runs Into a Few (Hilarious) Snags

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(Editor’s Note: Cassie Evans, Candy’s amazing animal-loving daughter, will be sharing a few posts from her new blog on how she’s getting her adorable home ready for the annual Hollywood Santa Monica Neighborhood Association 2014 Hollywood Home Tour. Interior Design by Bernadette Schaeffler. Enjoy!)

If you ever need to get several items accomplished around the house, perhaps a mini renovation, little organizational projects, or take that baby down to the studs and build it back up, having your home asked to be part of a HOME TOUR is the fire under your fanny that will get all of those things done.

Hollywood Heights is a historical conservation district. The story of Hollywood/Santa Monica begins in the 1920s when J.B. Salmon acquired this former dairy farm and formed the Hollywood Company to subdivide and improve the land. Also known as the developer of Kessler Highlands in Oak Cliff, Mr. Salmon was exceedingly careful in the planning of his property. So thoughtfully conceived was his development that he could allow other developers to build in diverse styles as long as they stayed within the deed restrictions. These styles include the predominant Tudor Cottage, as well as Spanish Eclectic, French Eclectic, Minimal Traditional, Craftsman, Monterrey, and two rare examples of the flatroofed Pueblo Revival style. We may suppose that Mr. Salmon was pleased by the outcome because he made his home within the development. Much has been said of the architecture to be found in Hollywood and Santa Monica, and the neighborhood may well be the largest collection of stone-embellished Tudor cottages in the nation. Indeed, it’s because of the attention paid to the aesthetic beauty of the area and its historical significance that in 1989 the neighborhood association succeeded in having Hollywood/Santa Monica declared a local Conservation District. This classification is shared by only a few other neighborhoods in the Dallas area.

We were very excited when we checked the mail and found a letter stating that the HSMNA (Hollywood Heights Santa Monica Neighborhood Association, Inc.) would like to consider our home to be part of the 23rd Annual Hollywood Home Tour. If you haven’t heard me screaming from our little rooftop about it – I’m that smitten – we live in Hollywood Heights on the most quaint, quiet, darling street in Dallas. It’s called Patricia, and us Patricians refer to ourselves as the Patricia Militia. Ain’t nothing getting past us. Our ultimate goal is to gate in little Patricia and have Tolltags open the gates. Unlikely to happen now, but once the home tour is over and I have some spare time, well… you never know! Our street is like a movie set – everyone says “hi” when out in their yard, everyone knows everyone’s pets and kids (and their kids can say your pets and your name no matter how young they are), and we look out for each other when someone is out of town. (Jake is not afraid to use night vision goggles and a shotgun…).

This wasn’t just like “oh great, sure we’ll be in the home tour.” A “walk through” was set up wherein the committee came over and toured our home, looking at all the details and definitely taking mental notes of what needed to be accomplished/changed stat. When you have two working attorneys and 6-7 animals at any given time, plus Board duties and Junior League, who do you think is going to meet the ________ workman between 9am and 12pm, to which he likely won’t show, and then make sure he does his job, doesn’t destroy anything else that will require another workman, doesn’t steal, and doesn’t let a cat or dog out of the house or yard? Yeah, it doesn’t happen.

Cat LadyI was a little nervous after the walk through. These people, whom I had never met before, likely think I am an animal hoarder. When they entered the house, there were 3 animals in small crates, and one HUGE crate (Bitsy). It was VERY loud and I had to bribe everyone with Greenies. Our grass was dead (so was everyone’s – it was winter and we’d had 3 freezes) but add that to the animal hoarding, absurd tee shirt and shampoo collection, and my love of reusing large Sonic styrofoam cups, and these people may start a separate, one-home tour called “what the hell is going on in this house?”

Shockingly, we received a letter a few weeks later. I was sure it was the “we’ve contacted the City about you. We think you have a problem and you need help” letter from HSMNA.

Instead, it was “you’re home has been selected for the 23rd Annual Hollywood Home Tour. What I read in between the lines was “now get your ass to work on that house.” Well, that’s just what I needed!

Due to some other factors as well, I took time off from working and decided to hit the home organization/project ground running. (Lent is such a great time to give up nuisances). I inventoried our home, made a list of everything that needed to be done in my mind, checked those items against a reasonable budget, tailored the list, found qualified workmen for each project (joining Angie’s List was really helpful – reviews are essential when quality, punctuality, and price are critical), and scheduled them all, and got to work.

The urine colored marble fireplace sans mantle HAD TO BE OVERHAULED. Here’s a before pic:

Fireplace Before

So I decided on travertine to go with my country french furniture and to complement the black mantle that is being made by a carpenter I found to match the home’s fabulous, detailed moulding.


Progress pics:

Fireplace Progress Fireplace Tile Fireplace Tile Grout

Huge difference, no?! [Ignore the row of yellow on top – that will be completely covered by the mantle!] If you need a tile/stone worker, my guy is AMAZING. He hand chipped the side of the pieces that had to be cut to make them look perfect. I heart him. Next stop – a chimney sweep to teach me how to use this bad boy and what type of gas logs I need to invest in. Again, there are usually great deals on Angie’s List for chimney sweeps, especially now when they are out of season.

I also had an electronics man come out and mount the ridiculously large television on the wall and run the wires through the wall to a box near the floor so you don’t see any hint of wires.

Wall Mount TV

I actually had to leave him at the house while I ran my bleeding cat to the vet one day. When I returned, covered in blood and fur, stressed, and worried, he nervously informed me that when he went to drill a hold for the wires through the fire wall in the wall, there was a random pier at a 45 degree angle that his drill hit and it came flying out the wall. And yes, it put a hole in the wall precisely where we did not want one. “I’m so sorry, are you mad?” I told him, “Randall, I’m covered in cat blood, I have cat blood all over my house and back steps, and they don’t know if they can fix his leg at this point. This hole is the least of my concerns and I am not mad at you at all.” I’ve never seen such relief on a man’s face. Apparently, some homeowners’ are real assholesjerks; he was expecting me to fly off the handle. He had his dry wall guy come out with him the next time, of course did not charge me for the mistake, and all is ok in the world!

He also installed a small tv in our bathroom. The previous owner has mirrors all over the walls to make the space appear bigger and brighter, and it turns out that ordering a tv from is much cheaper than replacing a custom mirror with a space for a tv mount with another custom mirror without said space. So, looks like my showers will be as long as Naked & Afraid from now on…

Bath TV


Cassie Evans, J.D.

Cassie Evans, J.D. is an Associate Attorney with the law firm of Scheef & Stone in Dallas and Frisco. Her practice focuses on real estate, business transactions, compliance, ownership and governance of corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, other entities, and business law as well as litigation. She can be contacted at

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