DIY Homeowners to Debut ‘New Do’ at Gingerbread Trail Home Tour

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Sam and Laura Beth Anderson aren’t just one of five homeowners in the 51st Annual Gingerbread Trail Historic Home Tour in Waxahachie. They’re also historic renovation pros and preservation junkies who saved their home from becoming toothpicks and restored it to its original splendor.

Though the circa 1920 Bungalow has lived many lives in nearly a century, its most recent life was housing the offices of St. Joseph Catholic Church. But after the parish built a new sanctuary and no longer needed the house, church leaders just wanted it out of the way.

“They gave us the house in exchange for moving it off of their property,” Laura Beth said. “There was a vacant lot on the street behind the church where an old Victorian home had burned. We were able to purchase that lot [at 610 Kaufman Street] and move the house there.”

History Repeats Itself

The roles that Laura Beth and Sam play in the restoration processes are embedded in each one’s DNA. While Laura Beth is the creative half of the team, Sam is the analytical number cruncher.

Between Laura Beth’s great-grandfather and father who were both carpenters and her mother, an artist, she inherited a creative blend of carpentry and inventive pizzazz, which enrich her passion for historic restoration.

Restored antique light fixtures

“I guess I have sawdust in my veins,” said Laura Beth who minored in art in college. “I [also] love designing and creating things. I can’t really explain it. It’s just something that is in me.”

In addition to managing subcontractors and the day-to-day project, Laura Beth personally draws the architectural plans “the old-fashion way with a pencil and paper” and reimagines the restoration. Whether she’s designing, restoring antique fixtures and finishes, creating mosaic tile patterns for one-of-a-kind flooring, or installing cabinet hardware, she’s in her happy place.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree with Sam either. His grandfather founded B.J. Anderson and Associates in Mesquite, a commercial real estate firm that Sam’s father and uncles now own. His father likewise has a background in custom home building.

Sam’s ‘day job’ is also commercial construction and real estate. Though Laura Beth has free reign of restoring their personal home, he lends his expertise in budgeting, scheduling, lining up subcontractors, and ordering building materials as well as handling any concrete, dirt, and drainage issues.

But moving a house was a new experience. Until this restoration, the only link Sam had to house moving was his maternal great-grandfather, Sam Rutherford, who owned a house moving company in the 1950s before Sam was born.

Nevertheless, perhaps his first name isn’t the only thing Sam inherited from his great-grandfather.

The Move and Redo

“In order to move the house, we had to remove the fireplace, chimney, the entire porch, and roof,” Laura Beth said. “Once the house was moved, we built a new porch exactly like the one that was there, right down to salvage antique pine porch boards.”

The Andersons rebuilt the fireplace from original bricks. Besides restoring doors and windows and saving and refinishing the original pine flooring, they installed matching antique pine flooring to add consistency throughout the house, which significantly reflects the original floorplan.

The couple built a small addition in the back of the home for a kitchen, breakfast area, and laundry room along with a large back porch, and they converted the mammoth attic space into a media room, small office, and additional bedroom and bathroom.

“[The home] will be 95 percent finished [when the Trail begins], and we will be working on it right up until the first people arrive,” Laura Beth said.

In order to show tour goers what a difference historic home restoration makes, ‘before’ pictures will be on display during the tour. Visitors can watch a video of the restoration – shot by Sam’s aunt Sue Davidson – as they walk through the home, and Sam and Laura Beth will be on-hand to answer questions.

“People will get a chance to see what the process is really like, not what they see on TV,” Laura Beth concluded. “A 30-minute DIY show sometimes makes things look so easy when that just isn’t reality.”

The Gingerbread Trail Home Tour

Slated for Saturday June 1 and Sunday June 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the 51st Annual Gingerbread Trail Historic Home Tour will spotlight Queen Anne Victorian, Gothic Revival, Bungalow, Romanesque, and Greek Revival styles.

The five private homes on the tour are the newly renovated Anderson home at 610 Kaufman Street; the Bailey Home at 513 North Rogers Street; the Cole Home at 115 Kaufman Street; the Lynn Home at 313 Harbin Street; and the Yates home at 626 Kaufman Street.

Tickets can be purchased the day of the Trail at tour homes and the Ellis County Museum. Prices are $25 for adults and $7 for children ages five to 12, and proceeds from the Gingerbread Trail benefit the museum.

Click here and see all the activities scheduled for the two-day event. Stay tuned for a ticket giveaway next week to snag your passes to the Gingerbread Trail Home Tour for FREE!

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Deb R. Brimer

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