Brighten your holiday spirits by strolling the glimmering streets of Waxahachie – one of the most charming, historic cities in Texas! The annual Candlelight Tour of Homes will feature seven unique homes, spanning from the Victorian era to the 21st century 2-8 p.m. for two consecutive weekends, starting Dec. 6-7.
The event continues this weekend Dec. 13-14 with the homes of Marsha and Larry Shaefer, Mary and John Wedel, Amy Waters, and Beth Young.
Tickets can be purchased at the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, 1002 YMCA Dr.; the Ellis County Museum, 201 S. College St; the Waxahachie Daily Light, 200 W. Marvin Ave.; and select downtown merchants.
Marsha & Larry Schaefer — 311 Lakewood Drive
The grey and white brick two-story home of Marsha and Larry Schaefer is one of the newer homes on the Candlelight Tour of Homes, but its charm and elegance are superb. Located on Lake Waxahachie at 311 Lakewood Drive, this 2,800-square-foot home was built in 1987. The Schaefer’s have lived there since 1991. The theme or feel throughout the home is French Country, which ultimately comes from the couple being antique dealers and estate appraisers.
“Larry gave me my first antique when I was 16, and we’ve been married 50 years,” Marsha said. “We met when I was a freshman and he was a senior in high school, and it has been a great journey to collect the wonderful antiques we have.”
And, that’s part of what inspired the couple to open their house on the Candlelight Tour of Homes. One of the highlights immediately experienced is the 12-foot Christmas tree positioned in the entryway.
“We have a themed tree in each room, and I’ve really enjoyed putting all of these ideas together,” Marsha said. “You’ll also notice several nativity scenes throughout our home, too. My daughter, Lisa, helped me with this decorating process, and as you’ll see she has quite an eye for designing.”
The charming kitchen is a mix of English and French Country, and Marsha explains this room is the heart of the home.
“I also display one of my favorite collections here, which includes Paper Punch Mottos,” Marsha said. “These pieces are a lot like needlepoint, and they were from the Victorian era. Pretty soon, they’ll be a thing of the past, so I love that we are able to display this kind of art.”
Another area of the house that’s eye-catching is the sun porch. A long, narrow table is pushed up against windows facing the lake. Soda fountain chairs with heart-shaped backs are there for seating, and the table’s place settings are again excellent examples of the French Country feel.
Larry’s haven is his office, which features an amazing collection of Native American pieces adorning the walls.
“I’ve enjoyed collecting these,” Larry said. “I never get tired of finding these great finds.”
Upstairs there’s a sitting area, which features a tree decorated with quaint gingerbread men. Another gorgeous tree is found in what’s called the “red room,” and it features bears of all sizes and shapes.
More one-of-a-kind antiques are found in the master bedroom, and one piece that Marsha is especially proud of is the wedding dome.
“This piece is from France, and it features a bride’s head dress, and family heirlooms are pinned to the velvet cushion under the glass dome,” Marsha said. “It’s like we have a little piece of France and our family’s history preserved under glass.”
As the couple readies for the crowd that will tour their home, they’re proud of the various collections they have acquired and are looking forward to sharing these with others.
Mary & John Wedel — 417 W. Jefferson
The Wedel house, located at 417 W. Jefferson, is an Italianate design painted with Queen Anne Pink. Surrounded by a 100-year old rod iron fence that was once in a cemetery, the Wedels are proud of all the Victorian features that can be found in their home.
“One of the first things you’ll see when you pull up to our house are steps used when carriages pulled up during the Victorian times,” Mary said. “They weren’t originally here, but I can picture how this same idea was in place back then.”
Donning gorgeous bay windows on both floors with wispy cream colored lace curtains add that elegant touch. The front porch features the first Christmas tree, and it’s surrounded by big red presents with large bows.
“Before we moved here, we lived in Plano, and our patio was tiny,” Mary said. “I love the fact that I have room to enjoy my house in this way. You know, I fell in love with this house on the internet. I knew it was mine the first time I saw it.”
Another favorite part of the house is the elegant staircase that is seen once inside the front doorway.
“We will not open the second floor, but we are really looking forward to sharing the first floor with our visitors,” John said. “One of the first rooms folks will see is the formal parlor also known as the living room.”
The Wedels also call it the “peacock room,” because it features a mural of the feathered bird on the ceiling. There’s also a chandelier with engraved peacocks on it, and Mary has added a Victorian touch there.
“I’ve taken ribbons and tied them to the chandelier and then taken them down to a round table below and attached them to small presents,” Mary said. “This idea enables people back then to give smaller presents in a fun and creative way.”
Across the entryway is another parlor for the family. Past the stairway near the back of the house is their kitchen. Modernized in some ways, the Victorian flair is still evident, and the rich colors add a welcoming feeling.
“Our house was built in 1883 by Oscar Benedict Sims, and then in the 1940s it was a boarding house,” John said. “We were drawn to how people before us restored this house, and it was a perfect fit for what we were wanting.”
The Wedels are supporters of Waxahachie — eating and shopping downtown, so being a part of the tour was a natural fit.
Amy Waters — 315 W. Main
Amy Waters calls Main Place Lofts home, which is located at 315 W. Main in Waxahachie. She explained the building was originally built in the 1900’s as a car dealership. Her loft is 2,000 square feet and is the perfect layout for her. With two bedrooms and two baths, she has enjoyed adding her designing touch, which includes collections of pottery, china and pine antique furniture.
“I’ve enjoyed bringing pieces together that give my loft a casual, rustic feel,” Waters said. “It’s not western, but has more of a natural and fiber feeling to it. In many ways I like the subdued feeling I’ve created, and I’ve enjoyed adding Christmas to it.”
Featuring two trees standing at nine feet and a dozen smaller trees, Waters adds there is a low key feeling with her decor. The living room tree is adorned with silver ornaments and silver painted sprigs along with berries and white lights.
“My other tree is really beautiful, too.” Waters added. “I found gorgeous bird ornaments at The Dove’s Nest downtown, and they have real feathered tails. I absolutely fell in love with these, and I also added pine cones, berries and greenery to the tree.”
Many of the colors featured with Waters holiday designs include pale green, silver and gold. Hailing from Louisiana, she enjoys lighter colors and the elegance they bring.
“These are such cool apartments to live in, and it’s cool for people to get to see them,” Waters said. “That’s one of the reasons I’ve opened my home for the tour. I also knew if I volunteered to do this, I’d have to finalize some of my decorating. I’ve lived in this particular loft since June, and it’s great to bring things together decorating wise.”
Waters added she was approached by friends who love her place to be a part of this Waxahachie Candlelight Tour of Homes.
“I’ve had my home on other home tours, so I know how much fun it is to get a glimpse into how others decorate,” Waters said. “I am all about supporting this wonderful community, and I hope others will come out to enjoy it, too.”
Beth Young — 503 N. College
Eclectic collections of folk art and other unique pieces are part of what makes Beth Young’s home stand out. Located at 503 N. College, she’s passionate about her latest place she calls home. Young has owned two other historic homes, so when she moved into this 900 square foot duplex, she was excited about this new chapter in her life.
“I want to continue traveling, and this is one way I can do it,” Young said. “This decision has made me downsize and pick out what I like best about what I’ve collected through the years. I’ve lived here a year and a couple of months, and I wouldn’t trade it.”
It’s this enthusiasm that’s immediately noted when walking into the first room of Young’s 1920’s duplex. Reproductions of colorful game boards line the walls, while an unusual collection of what’s called Block People are also part of the décor. About 4 inches tall, the square-shaped creations have a definite uniqueness about them.
“I started this collection in the early 1990’s, and I absolutely love them,” Young said. “It’s pieces like this that I enjoy sharing with the folks who will come through my home for the tour. I love living here in Waxahachie, and I’m proud to be a part of an event like this.”
There is a Christmas tree featured in each room, and in the dining room, a five foot tree made out of foam board graces the wall. Its decorations consist of family pictures from years past, which Young stresses is a great reminder of memories made.
Down the short hallway the kitchen is on the left, and even though it’s not a large space, it’s impeccably decorated. One of the highlights is the shelf perched above the doorway holding Young’s cookbooks.
“This shelf was leftover from my Dad’s old Spanish furniture, and I added folk art painting to it,” Young said. “I like being different, and it’s fun because in order to get one of the recipes, I have to hope someone tall comes along.”
Back in the hallway, a garland from a Christmas market in Austria lines the wall. It was purchased five years ago, and the Santa’s look much like punch out paper dolls many played with as kids.
At the end of the hallway, Young’s bedroom once again has a cozy and folk art feeling to it.
“You know even though I don’t have the room I had in my other homes, and this can be a challenge when entertaining, I truly love this place,” Young said. “I’m looking forward to sharing my quaint quarters on the tour this weekend. And, don’t forget, I’ll have a batch of freshly baked gingerbread cookies waiting to share, too.”