By Mary L. Kirby
A couple of miles behind the Rosewood Baptist Church complex at 1398 Nutmeg Road resides Kelli and Mark Richins and their three daughters. This year their home will be open Dec. 7 for the Twentieth Century Club’s Annual Tour of Homes from 3-7 p.m.
The theme this year is “Let the Snowflakes Fall.” Tickets for the tour are available at the Gilmer Area Chamber of Commerce or from members of the Twentieth Century Club for $10. They will also be sold at the door the day of the tour.
Also on the tour will be the new home of Barbara Williams at 808 WestHarrison Street and Matthew and Morgan Roberts home in the Grice community, about 17 miles from Gilmer on FM 852, 1.7 miles north of the intersection with FM 1002.
An unusual feature in the Richins home are the two offices off the front door. In his office, Mark works on the materials he uses to train Sunday school teachers for Churches of the Latter Day Saints in The Tyler, Longview, Shreveport and Gilmer areas. Originally from the Denver area, he went on a mission to Kiev, Ukraine.
Kelli in her office conducts online classes for Washington County in St. George, Utah. She has students from all over Utah. After graduating from Brigham Young University and going on a mission in California, she went to work teaching in Utah. By teaching online she can continue to build on the 17 years experience she had in Utah before the family moved to the Dallas area.
Kelli is originally from Hallsville and she was not sure how the family would adapt to living in a rural environment. To her delight, she says her three daughters and her husband have taken to life in the country.
After they moved to Upshur County into their home with matching office space, the Covid shutdown hit, making the offices even more useful.
In the open space area which combines cooking, dining and living spaces, there stand a slim tree bedecked with signs saying “Believe” along with red and gold balls and red and gold streamers and bows. A tall Father Christmas stands by the tree near the fireplace, and Joy, Peace, and Family add sparkle to the bookshelves.
The large, rustic wooden dining table is stained gray and will be adorned with refreshments the day of the tour.
Nearby is the island topped with gray granite with sprinkles of black where a handy sink helps prepare the food. The eastern wall next to the walk-in pantry likewise has a gray granite top. Above are open shelves with the glasses, mugs and dishes for family use.
On the southern wall is more granite countertop and the cooking area and cabinets.
The refrigerator flanks the island on the western side completing the compact three sided kitchen area. Large clear windows connect the eating and living areas of the room with the pool and hot tub outside.
Past the kitchen and the laundry room one reaches daughter Rachel’s room. A dedicated fan of Harry Potter, Rachel has a tree which reflects that interest. While a test they got last year at Universal Studio’s world of Harry Potter identified Rachel as a Slytherin, she has a Griffindor blanket on her bed.
As with all but one tree in the house, in the master bedroom, Jaime Picher designed and decorated all the trees. For Rachel, the tree is topped by a Sorting Hat and has Helwig, Harry’s snowy owl, his stag petronus, and other elements of the world described in the books. Rachel also has a Marauder’s map from her trip.
Emma, the oldest daughter has a vintage Christmas tree decorated with sayings from “It’s A Wonderful Life,” a movie the family watches each Yule season. The tree also has bell and angel wing.
Ellie is a fan of the Grinch of Dr. Seuss fame. The evergreen tree is loaded with red and white candy stripes, red and white polkadots, and lime green balls galore to go with the lime green ribbons.
The master bedroom has an all white tree with crystal temples, doves, white peacocks, white lights and blue and silver ribbon as a nod to Brigham Young University which the parents attended. This tree was developed and donated by her mother.
In addition to refreshment, there will be a raffle item at $5 a ticket for the raffle.
Matthew and Morgan Roberts and their children live in the Grice community, about 16 miles from Gilmer, north of the intersection of FM 1002 and FM852 by 1.7 miles.
To reach their new home, one travels PR 4351 past one house to a fork in the lane where to the left is the gate with a wreath around a big initial R, the entrance to the Roberts property.
Two silver wreaths on the front door, trees of various sizes, ornamental boxes with bows, and pillows on the swing saying “ho, ho, ho” and “fa la la” welcome you to enter their Christmas realm.
The combined open space living-dining-kitchen area combines red brick walls in the kitchen and fireplace areas muted by splashes of white on the bricks. Off-white and beige are the dominant colors of the walls, couch, dining table and the book cases on either side of the fireplace. A large screen hangs above the fireplace where the family group can gather on the couch to watch the programing.
The Christmas tree to the left of the fireplace is a flocked evergreen with white balls and lights, and white stockings hung by the chimney with care, as swags of flocked evergreen boughs drape the mantel. Scattered throughout the bookcases are various season slogans and symbols including bells, trees, angels, reindeer, balls, creche and a Gothic window encased in a green wreath.
Near the front door entrance is an office with barn doors for the entry.
The wall opposite the front entrance is mostly clear glass windows looking out on the swimming pool, an outdoor fireplace seating area, and an outdoor dining area.
Balancing the outdoor table is the indoor seating echoing the bone and beige of the room with a seasonal runner down the middle and formal place setting at each seat. In the corner, a narrow tree is decorated with white lights, a cross, and other items timely to the season.
The island is covered by black granite which is accented with veins of light gray mica and feldspar, while the side counters are of a lighter granite which complements the off-white cabinets and the brick wall. In one overhead opening over the double door refrigerator is a manger scene. In another opening a ribbon tree accents the space while in yet another an antique electric mixer recalls many recipes of the past.
To the left of the kitchen is a steep stairway to a bedroom and the game room which is decorated in blues and greens with a green tree. Large portraits of the three children line the stairwell.
To the right of the kitchen, is a guest bath and then a turn to reach the master bedroom with its beige and bone bedspread. The tree in the corner is decorated with white balls, bows and brances. A portrait of Matthew and Morgan by saguaro was made in the Phoenix area when they were on a trip. Other pictures in the house, including ones with the children, reflect this same photo session.
Continue through the double doors to the bath with its large, deep tub and to the left is the master closet, a walk-in with full length outfits on one side, and a double arragement of shirts and pants or skirts on the other.
The children’s rooms are past the living room and the fireplace. Noah’s Dino Cave has a dark wall where silhouettes of dinosaurs march. In the corner by the closet is a green tree decorated with numerous small multicolored balls, white lights and a tiny star on top. Stuffed animals including a dino and a wolf fill the top of his bed and beyond.
Bailee’s room is a study in light gray, silver and aqua, as is the tree. In addition to white, silver and light aqua balls, there are sliver branches, shells, trees and other items creating a personal touch. A bulletin board with photos of friends and family by her bed and pillows galore complete the scene where starfish, shells and turtle cutouts dance above the bed.
The oldest daughter, Alayna, is 20 and only occasionally at home. Her room is a study in cheeta patters, pink and old white. A map of the world in cheeta patterns hangs near the flocked tree decorated in cheeta patterns, pink and silver balls and silver branches with balls.
A ticket for $10 will give admission to this home and to the other two homes: Mrs. Barbara Williams at 808 West Harrison Street in Gilmer and Mark and Kelli Richins, 1398 Nutmeg Road, Big Sandy, Texas.
Refreshments will be served from the Island and a raffle will be available at $5 a chance.
Barbara Williams moved from the big house at 809 West Tyler Street in January, 2023, to her new home at 808 West Harrison, directly behind the home built by Pack and Myrtle Williams.
Her new home perfectly accomodates her new life style: all on one floor, easily accessible if need be by walker or wheelchair, and furnished with almost all new furnishings. It could be described as three room, two bath, with attached two vehicle garage. However, one room, the large central family room incorporates the modern concept of an open space for living, dining and cooking.
The skills of her son Brian Williams shine in this composite room. Beams at either end of the room are stained and exposed. In the kitchen area, on the west wall, the overhead work was done with no nails exposed to marr its smooth, stained dark wood appearance. All assembly work was done from behind and the unit raised as one piece.
The cabinets on the west wall are topped by an almost pure white granite countertop with a sink interupting the flow in the middle.
Critical for Barbara’s entertaining is the large island with its built in gas grills varying in size from very small circle about two inches in diameter to melt butter without burning to the largest double ring burner for fast heating. The counter top is another tribute to Brian’s skills in cabinetry. She can look out on the guests seated on the opposite side of the island or in the living area while she cooks.
Either side of the island are two areas of storage inside doors with stained glass windows. One serves as a pantry and the other for party dishes. In the pantry is an electrical outlet for the rumba which Barbara loves. It can easily come out of hiding and wander about the room, sweeping away the mess of the day.
By the opposite cabinet is the inset stove and microwave.
There is no dining room nor dining table. She does have one table which can open out to serve six, but she plans most often to serve anyone around the island. On this table, a woodland Father Christmas is dressed in brown and white with a squirrel on his arm and a deer at his feet in the midst of greenry, white balls, and branches tipped with gold and silver balls.
The living area and much of the house is decorated with a frosty woodland feel with pine cones, Bells of Ireland, Christmas balls, Pheasant feathers and sprays of branches blend whites, gold, and muted browns. Sprinkled about are birds in every nook and cranny whether on the coffee table, the mantel, or the Christmas trees which flank the gentleman’s chest.
Amari plates and Father Christmas figures fill the shelves above the chest. By the left side tree stands a deer from Austria made with leather legs and antlers and wool. All the grandchildren were quickly taught never to climb on the deer.
The “coffee table” is a hope chest by a bride in 1897. It and the many French doors and furnishing are a result of Barbara’s many trips to England with a side trip to France. On the coffee table are two doves acquired in France where after enough time has passed, the sell cemetary markers and decorations.
Her master bedroom is a study in antique whites, beige and grays, with two pillows reading “Joy” completing the cascade of pillows. Adding color to the room is a deep blue settee’ in the corner, a mahogony dropleaf table, and a stately evergreen tree decked with white lights, multliple sizes and shapes of gold ball, topped by a huge gold bow with streamers extending downward. Interspersed in the tree are Wallace silver balls, each with the date of issue.
A French cabinet opposite her bed supports the large television. Two French doors from a tailor’s shop enclose the room. On their reverse side is yardstick measure. A French cabinet and a tin top table are found between the French doors and the bathroom entrance.
Off her bedroom is her master bath with a tub and a walk in shower with a low entry. Having once fallen off the roof of the “big house” and hurt her back and hip which required four months of surgery and rehab, this home owner has built so that should she ever require a wheelchair or walker again, the house will not inhibit her.
For that same reason, the children convinced her to add another bedroom which might serve a care giver in the future. It is the one room decorated in reds and greens. The tall, narrow evergreen tree is loaded with red balls and red ribbon streamers. Over the headboard which is covered in evergreen branches is a wreath with an elf on the wreath instead of a shelf. A red throw on the chair and a red pillow with horizontal white stripes completes the picture.