Highland Lakes Holiday Home Tour 2019 a success

Published 5:24 pm Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Dec. 14 marked the fourth annual HLWC Holiday Home Tour in the Highland Lakes neighborhood atop Double Oak Mountain. Hosted by the Highland Lakes Women’s Club, this event has served as a charity fundraiser for several organizations. Proceeds from this 2019 event have been earmarked to benefit the Shelby County Mental Health Court in Columbiana.

On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, tour-goers were welcomed into four, lovely homes. “The House of Christmas Trees” was a fitting name for the home on Blue Heron, owned by Ray and Dawn Reeves with daughter, Carson.  Stories from the lives of their owners were told by the ornaments on the 24 trees discovered throughout the house, 19 of which ranged in height from 7 to 15 feet. The storyline told by each tree spilled into each room. The “chandelier tree” was perfect in the master bedroom, while an elegant appointed dining room with silver and crystal accents was absolutely stunning. Surrounding the base of a “Disney tree” were toys from favorite Disney movies. And the “rose gold tree” emanated a soft rose gold hue into the owner’s guest room. The owners stated it takes about two, full weeks to decorate for Christmas.  This commitment to celebrating the family’s journey invited visitors to do the same.

The home near the Cove, owned by Charlene Van Hoy, conveyed an inviting warmth one might experience in a serene, spa-like setting. A fire crackled in the fireplace and the smell of the fresh Christmas tree harkened feelings of nostalgia. Greenery with flowing ribbon donned the white and gray hues throughout the home. An open patio under an expansive arbor with pillowed seating beckoned guests to stay outdoors listening to the trickling of the waterfall into the koi pond below. The homeowner’s taste was exquisite, while classic; imaginative, and interesting. The blend of antiques and family heirloom art, with the perfect amount of holiday sparkle, created a light airy atmosphere.

A “must-see” was the huge, beautifully-appointed flat owned by Ron and Tricia Stanfa, filled with treasures from family vacations through the years. A soothing, turquoise ambiance from the tree at the entry welcomed guests into a home where words such as “majestic” and “grand” came to mind. But then there were zany touches in the modern kitchen and even moose hanging from on a ski lift on the screen porch adjacent to the stone, outdoor kitchen. The feature of this home was the owner herself who enthusiastically greeted her guests, sometimes with red licorice and soda pop, and eagerly told stories of places and people loved by her and her family.  The Stanfa home was decorated by Shelayne Thompson, from Shelayne’s Botanicals and Holiday Décor, who beautifully blended Tricia’s marvelous style with classic and playful decorative accents.

And high on the ridge overlooking Dunnavant Valley sits the stately home of Don and Diona Walters. Their lovely staircase was adorned with fresh greenery and gorgeous ribbon.  A fresh sparkling Christmas tree was visible through the entryway where red velvet stockings hung above the fireplace in the living room. A gorgeous formal dining room boasted beautiful china and a sideboard filled with holiday treats.  Just off the kitchen, an intimate grouping of the sofa, chairs and ottoman featured another beautifully decorated tree warmed by the sunlight streaming through the wall of windows. Step out onto the patio from this room to experience the scenic view of rolling hills and tree skyline.  The elegantly festive home provided a lovely backdrop for the celebration of beauty on display in the lives of two young women who have been recognized for their achievements, community service, and beauty in various regional and state pageants.  Ava Walters, the reigning Miss Cinderella Teen, posed in her Cinderella-themed room with the Pageant’s regal blue robe. Sewn into the train of the robe are the names of each Miss Cinderella Teen since 1977, including Hannah Brown, the most recent winner of Dancing with the Stars. For the first time in the pageant’s history, a sister crowned a sister when last year’s Miss Cinderella Teen, Emma Walters, crowned her sister, Ava. This year, Emma, a lover of ballet with a Nutcracker Suite-themed room, now reigns as Miss Birmingham Teen. Lisa Lester of Lisa Lester Interiors did a beautiful job of featuring holiday with the daughter’s achievements.

After touring the four homes, a visitor declared, “I just want to stay in each one!” Such a compliment spoke not only of the skill of the decorators and creativity experienced but also of the kindness and warmth shown by those opening their homes for a most worthy cause.

The Highland Lakes Women’s Club expresses a special thanks to Laura English, a freelance artist, photographer and writer, for donating her time and talent to photograph these beautiful homes.

The event would not be possible without the club members who volunteer at this event each year and our community service volunteers.   Thank you to the 2019 Home Tour Chair Coordinators, Sherri Thomas Mauter and Sheila Dowd.  Appreciation goes out to Officers of the HLWC – Terry Marlowe, president; Angelia Sprayberry, first vice president; Diane Caldwell, second vice president; Louise Sepulveda, secretary; and Charlene Van Hoy, treasurer.

Our appreciation to members of the Shelby County Mental Health Court who embraced this opportunity for their Program to be the recipient of the donated funds.  They were all very active in selling tickets and had many attendees touring the homes in support of their program.  Members include:  Julius Cook, executive director of Mental Health Court; Kate Varner, public defender;  Jeff Bradley, District Attorney; Deputy Darrenkamp, community liaison team;  Kandra Williamson, case manager; Corey B. Moore, Circuit Judge; and a host of other team members.