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.”

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It’s an annual holiday tradition that shows off some of the truly stunning estates in Heath, all while benefiting a great cause: keeping kids sober and off the road on prom night. And this year’s Heath Holiday Home Tour doesn’t disappoint, with five fabulous estates sure to impress on Dec. 1.

“We are very excited about the array of homes on this year’s tour,” said Tour Co-Chair Tracee Lamberth. “It’s a great reflection of our community, and we really appreciate the support of each homeowner.”

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There are some amazing homes with incredible views in Heath, folks! The annual Heath Holiday Tour of Homes, which benefits the 2013 senior class at Rockwall Heath High School,  lets you check out some amazing homes in this spectacular small town.

The tour is today (Nov. 30), so if you want to attend, head over to Rockwall Heath High School to pick up your tickets. Want to go for free? The first person to shoot me an email gets two passes on the house!

Kristi Horton’s home is on this year’s tour schedule, and she graciously answered a few questions for CandysDirt.com.

CandysDirt.com: Hosting a home tour sometimes requires ample preparation. What did you do to get your home ready?

Kristi: I’m an interior decorator and my mother is a decorator for my parents’ furniture store in Louisiana. We love decorating and I love hosting friends at the house.  This presented a perfect opportunity to apply those decorating skills and resources and to prod my husband, Garon, into doing needed home maintenance!

CD: What is the most defining feature about the home? What do you love most?

Kristi: We were both raised in 100-year-old homes and specifically designed the house with that architecture in mind, which includes painted siding and antique brick, wood-trimmed and divided-pane windows, country simple interior trim and spacious porches.  Consistent with the historical home design, salvaged building materials were used wherever possible, including wood flooring salvaged from Buckner’s children’s home and antique dressers converted for a bathroom vanity. The doors and hardware were salvaged from old homes to give the house a historic appeal. We love the simple country feel of the place and hope that it conveys a warm and inviting feel to those who visit.

CD: I hear your home has a pretty interesting story about how it was built. Care to share it with our readers?

Kristi: When we purchased the place, there was a 40-year-old, 1,500-square-foot old farm home in the middle of 15 acres.  We renovated the farm house and lived there for four years (while our three kids were young) while saving money to add on. Wanting to be good stewards (others might translate that as just being cheap!), we couldn’t bring ourselves to destroy all of the old house.  So, in 2000 we added on the majority of the “new” house (including the two-story portion) with a portion of the old house still standing and attached.  New rooflines and creative design fairly disguise the “addition” and create a combination of old and new! (CD: And there’s a barn, too! CUTE!)

CD: Heath is a unique community. Did you choose to move to Heath for a particular reason?

Kristi: As our oldest was reaching school age, we prayed for God to guide us in making a home where we could best raise a healthy family in a community that reflected our values.  We believe that God led us to this community and we are blessed by the people, the size of the community, our church, the beautiful hills and pond near our house, the lake, the schools and the opportunity to work with and for our friends in a local business.

It is a rare quality to live in a small community of good people near a lake and big-city amenities with the beauty of rolling hills and combination of rural feel in an urban setting.  Heath is that unique place of rare quality!

CD: So, why should people purchase a ticket to this year’s home tour?

Kristi: Living in a time when it is rare to stop by and sit on a neighbor’s front porch and chat, the Heath Holiday Tour of Homes gives a neat opportunity to look inside and see how and where people live in our community.  The variety of styles of homes and decor is entertaining.  And, the proceeds benefit a great cause — the Heath Hawks Senior Class!  Go Hawks!

Heath Mayor Lorne Liechty is opening his lake front home for the Heath Holday Home Tour on Nov. 30. Want to see inside? Buy a ticket!

It’s a rare opportunity to walk in the shoes of a city’s leader, which is why you definitely shouldn’t pass up this year’s Heath Holiday Home Tour. Mayor Lorne Liechty has opened up his gorgeous lakefront home to anyone who buys a ticket to the Nov. 30 tour benefiting Rockwall Heath High School’s class of 2013.

We’ll be interviewing all of the homeowners for this year’s tour, and Mayor Liechty and his amazing wife, Mary, helped us kick things off:

Candy’s Dirt: Hosting a home tour sometimes requires ample preparation. What did you do to get your home ready?

Lorne: I turned it over to my wife. (CD: Smart man!)

Mary: Lorne and I have done a large holiday party for many years. It is one of our favorite nights of the year. We stuff our house full of honored family, dear friends and great food knowing that with this never-fail combination everyone will have a wonderful time. This year we were honored to be asked to be part of the tour of homes which will have the added benefit of introducing us to a whole new group of people.

As to the preparation, I love to dress the house for Christmas. It is a tradition that I shared with my dad when I was young and was always a special time for us both. I can’t remember a time that getting out boxes of decorations didn’t make me feel loved, appreciated and affirmed. So, I guess you can say that I get to do something I love, enjoy meeting new people, and be blessed while doing it — I’m looking forward to all of it.

Candy’s Dirt: What is the most defining feature about your home? What do you love most?

Lorne: The defining feature of our home is our lot. When we first viewed our property in 1986, we immediately fell in love with the large trees, the spacious area for our children to play, and of course, the lake view. We’ve grown to love sunsets looking over the water more than anything.

Mary: I agree with Lorne, it is a lovely view. I hope that the weather is nice on Nov. 30 so that folks can go out to view it and enjoy.

Candy’s Dirt: Mayor Liechty, what makes Heath especially attractive to people looking to purchase a home? Are there great locations for second homes?

Lorne: Heath has many wonderful characteristics and features, which make it a great place to live. We have great recrational features such as sailing and other water sports, golf, parks and miles of hike and bike trails. We have excellent, high-quality schools both public and private, and we have beautiful residential developments that take advantage of the city’s natural beauty. But, most importantly, we are a community where people care enough to get to know their neighbors and work to make their hometown a better place.

Candy’s Dirt: Why should people purchase a ticket to this year’s home tour?

Lorne: To support the senior class and to get to see some of the many wonderful homes in our city.

Mary: It is always fun to see how people decorate for the holidays. If we can help the Seniors at the same time that is even better. What a wonderful way to start this very special season of the year.

Tickets to this year’s Heath Holiday Home Tour go on sale tomorrow. You can get them for $15 ($20 on the day of the tour) at Rockwall Heath High School, the Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce, Bella’s House, Heath Hair, and American National Bank. For more information, contact home tour co-chairs Holly Ford at 972-672-4823 or Liz Beauchamp at 214-543-2723.