Heath Holiday Home Tour Features Estate That Rose From The Ashes

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The Shields family will open their Heath home for Friday’s Heath Holiday Home Tour. (Courtesy Photo)
People who open their doors for home tours are the most saintly homeowners among us. It takes a lot of fortitude and a near obsessive compulsion for neatness to really make home tour hosting work, and we’re excited to see the incredible estates on tour for the upcoming Heath Holiday Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.

Though sometimes there’s a story behind a home that you have to see to believe, like Sarah Shields’ impressive Heath home that was built on the lot of a home that burned to the ground. In fact, the ruins of the previous house were an eyesore to neighbors and nearby residents. That was, until Shields fell in love with Heath. The rest is history.

“The homeowner put the property up for sale and it sat there for several years as a vacant lot with a portion of the home remaining and the slab until we purchased it,” Shields said. “One day my husband and I were headed to East Texas and there was a wreck so we decided to cut through Heath. It never even crossed our mind to move there — I had barely heard of it.”
They drove past the property and Shields almost offhandedly remarked that it was a shame that the lot had gone unpurchased, as it could be a metaphorical phoenix rising from the ashes. “My husband, being supportive of my crazy ideas as he usually is, called the Realtor.”

The Shields family
They bought the land and then waited, wanting to find just the right builder for their vision — Rick Shipley Custom Homes.
“I chose Rick Shipley Custom Homes because he had built several homes in the area that I loved and he lived right around the corner from the property and would appreciate its history,” she said. “The build process went incredibly smooth and we were able to complete it without any hiccups.”
The process did have a side effect of reigniting Shields’ love for design.  
“I have loved to decorate and design since I was a young girl so I had the vision of what I wanted our home to look like long before we started on this property,” she said, which leans heavily toward clean monochrome palettes blending antique and modern elements.  “I scour flea market fields and never pass an estate sale to find unique pieces to mix in. I’m big on repurposing architectural pieces,” she said. “Some of those are my favorite, one-of-a-kind pieces in my home.”
The home is just as much for Sarah and her husband as it is for their four kids. “The second floor is centered around our children and designed to their individual personalities,” she said. “I wanted spaces they can enjoy and do the things they love.”
Of course, we had to ask: Why move to Heath?
“Most of our friends and family are still in Dallas and laugh at us for ‘moving to the country,’ ” she laughed. “Although there are times we miss the conveniences of the city, we enjoy what Heath has to offer much more. We have been blessed with a wonderful place to call home and look forward to sharing a glimpse inside to raise money for Rockwall-Heath High School.”
While home tours are a challenge, holiday home tours add another level of complexity with Christmas decorations being an absolute requirement. Though some homeowners struggle to deck their halls, Shields was already a lover of all things glittering and gilt when it comes to Christmas celebrations.
Sarah Shields’ Heath estate features a soft neutral palette with a mix of old and new.
“I have long been a huge decorator at Christmas — some years we have had up to nine fully decorated trees in our house!” Shields said. “This year I scaled back on the trees and focused on the downstairs areas to take those on the tour through a fully decorated entry, library, dining, living, kitchen, backyard, and laundry room.”
Wait, what? Perhaps she should call it her fa-la-la-la-laundry room … Still, her favorite is her family room, which sports a 12-foot tree, custom floral arrangements, and a mantlepiece. Sounds delightful and we can’t wait to see all of Shields’ hard work on display.
If you want to see this home and the others on this fabulous tour, you can purchase tickets in advance for $20 at the front desk of Rockwall-Heath High School, at Regal Realtors (3125 Ridge Road), or contact Tracee Lamberth at 214-663-4706. On the day of the tour, tickets can be purchased at any of the tour homes for $25. All tour proceeds benefit the Senior Class of 2018’s after prom party at Shenanigans in Rockwall. The party provides a safe and fun environment for the students to continue their celebration with food, activities and lots of great prizes from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
“I’m excited for the RHHS Holiday Home tour on Friday, when weeks of work will be worth it as I love to inspire other women to have the confidence to tackle decorating themselves,” Shields said. “Hopefully they can take some ideas back to their own homes!”
We know we will! 
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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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