Bella Rose, the beautiful historic Queen Anne Victorian home of Patrick and LeeAnne Sharpe, can trace its roots to 1899. The house was originally a one-story structure that sat very close to the road, but in the 1980s long-time owners Jim and Dorothy Slayton had it moved back from the road and added a second story. The property had once housed a dairy farm, as well as a horse-and-buggy "racetrack." Patrick and LeeAnne bought it in 2015 with plans to use it as a venue for parties and special events, and as they were working on leveling and resodding, they found a deep pit that had been dug for debris disposal. They decided to transform the pit into an outdoor fountain, adding a peaceful water feature to all the other beautiful outdoor features of the property-the pool, gazebo, firepit, greenhouse, barn, wooden bridge, and working water well with its diminutive well house.
After a few years, the Sharpes decided to sell their home and move into the Bella Rose to live. They completely renovated the kitchen, leaving the original kitchen fireplace and the high, hinged stained glass window that it shares with an upstairs room. Some of the original wood floors in the home had to be repaired or replaced, but the original tin ceilings in parts of the downstairs remained completely intact. They were also able to refurbish and save the front door that was original to the house. The narrow doorways between the three large rooms on the first floor had already been widened to open the space for entertaining when the home was being prepared as a venue, and all of the many original wood details throughout the home, as well as the original doors (many with beautiful leaded glass) remain. Many of the large pieces of antique furniture are legacies from Mr. Slayton, who had a great passion for going to antique sales and bringing home amazing pieces.
While Bella Rose is an exquisite showplace all the time, it is especially spectacular at Christmas. It is a wonderland, with every corner, wall, shelf, and surface filled with Christmas, inside and out. The front porch is decorated with greenery and lights, and in the entryway the family's stockings are hung on the stair banisters. Also featured are a huge Santa and a tree with traditional gold decorations. In the dining area is the family's main large tree, filled with gold decorations and Old World Santas. A small room with a game table between the main living and dining areas is decorated with elves. The main living room features a big tree full of Grinch and elf decorations, as well as an animated Santa that stands swaying and singing next to the antique piano, and an enormous display cabinet with an extensive Christmas Village and Nutcracker collection.
The sunroom houses a Disney/Universal Studios tree and collectibles, including a huge Mickey Mouse and all the ornaments the Sharpe family has collected as they have been to Disney/Universal every other year since the children were little.Family photos taken on the trips sit under the tree. On the kitchen mantle is a set of all 12 Coca-Cola Santa plates, a gift from LeeAnne's dad, and a life-size Santa stands beside the fireplace. The tree is decorated with all the past photos of the kids' visits with Santa, as well as the ornaments they made in school. The mudroom has a dog tree decorated with dog-related items in honor of all the dogs the family has loved over the years. The master bedroom features a Memory Tree, filled with angels and small empty chairs in memory of loved ones the family has lost, and a cabinet with the extensive angel collection that belonged to Patrick's mother. Upstairs is a sitting area on the landing featuring a huge Santa picture and a small tree. All of the upstairs bedrooms are also decorated for Christmas and have trees of different themes. "I know I go a little crazy at Christmas," says LeeAnne, "but I love it!"
Bella Rose is located at 441 Forsythe Street. From the square, take Highway 79N and turn right on FM 699, which is also Forsythe. The home is on the left.
The large, impressive stone home of Bryan and LeeAnn Hogge is situated on a beautiful 50-acre parcel of fenced and gated property, much of which is beyond the magnificent tree line that can be seen in the distance. Bryan and LeeAnn are California natives who have joyfully transplanted to Carthage. They have owned the home for about two years but have been commuting back and forth because they own a real estate brokerage in California that they are still actively running, as well as selling commercial real estate here. They are grateful that they have been able to hire the right people to assist in the management of the company so that they can finally spend most of their time in Carthage.
The Hogges have five children, and all of them have left California as well. Their oldest son is recently married, living and working in Lindale; the other graduated from high school last year and is attending Panola College. One daughter is a nursing student in Las Vegas, another a student at the University of Alabama, and the youngest a fifth grader at Baker-Koonce.
The beautiful open concept home features a great room and large kitchen area with a glass wall of windows and doors leading to the pool. A large pool house in the same stone as the main house is situated close by, and next to that a large shop that the couple built primarily as a venue for their son's recent wedding, but also for RV and boat storage, and they are considering at some point making it an event venue.
For Christmas, most of the decorations are downstairs, with the upstairs game room the notable exception. Wreaths will adorn the front gate, front door, and garage doors, and from the dramatic front entrance, two trees with traditional ornaments and decorations can be seen in the main living and dining area, one near the entrance and the other closer to the doors leading to the pool. A wall of built-in bookshelves surrounding the fireplace will feature "traditional but leaning toward rustic" Christmas decorations of all kinds. The dining table, kitchen island, and coffee table feature favorite Christmas memorabilia, Nativities, and other seasonal decorations, and the banisters leading upstairs feature lighted garlands of greenery. In addition to the Christmas décor in the upstairs game room, guests will enjoy seeing the antique slot machines and gasoline pump that belonged to LeeAnn's father.
The family has plans to build a barn soon and begin adding cattle, goats, and horses. "We are 'animal people,'" says LeeAnn. "We already have dogs and are eager to add the other animals. Our 10-year-old has been competing in riding competitions for about a year and a half, and we are all especially eager to get everything ready for her horse to be moved here. The horse is currently stabled in Stonewall, Louisiana, with our trainer. We also want to get a few trail horses so that the family can all ride together here at home. We are just so excited to be here and are looking forward to becoming more and more involved in the community that we are enjoying so much!"
The Hogge home is located at 2296 FM 10. From the square take West Panola to Market Street (FM 10). Turn left and follow the road across the Loop. Turn right at the stop sign where the road T's, and the home is on the right, about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile.
The stately two-story home of Matthew and Skylar Ayres was built in 1990 by the Herb Hudson family, and the Ayres family moved into the home in October of 2021. When entering the front door, guests can step down to the left into a sitting room that was once a formal dining room, or straight ahead into the family room, which also opens into a large kitchen and dining area. A Nativity from Skylar's collection stands in the entry way as well.
The main family Christmas tree is found in the sitting room; it is a green tree whose very festive décor is reminiscent of the "Whoville" tree from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It features white lights and mini-gift boxes and printed signs for Santa to read, as well as shiny, curly decorations in red, white, and green. The tree is topped with a large black top hat, and the Grinch and other characters are standing nearby. The swag that adorns the front door matches the décor of the tree.
The family room features a green tree with the same traditional colors, decorated with elf figurines in and around the tree. Inset bookshelves in the room hold several more Nativities from Skylar's collection. The family's stockings are hung on the mantle, which is decorated with garlands and ornaments, and the hearth has a Christmas theme as well. In the kitchen, a lighted tin Santa and coordinating snowman are tucked into the kitchen island below the granite bar top.
In the master bedroom is a lightly flocked green pencil tree with navy and orange ornaments, as well as live magnolia leaves and flowers. The navy and orange color scheme is repeated in the room's Christmas bedspread. In the adjoining master bath, a slender shiny silver foil tree rests on the corner of the large garden tub and features traditional ornaments. The banister leading upstairs is decorated with garlands featuring large twinkling red, white, and green lights that match the exterior lighting. On the upstairs landing is a white tree decorated in black and white sitting in front of a large, very creative Dalmation painting. Nearby is a decorative shelf holding a plush Hallmark tree filled with ornaments that daughter Korbynn's grandmother gives her every Christmas.
Korbynn's playroom features a "Memory Tree" filled with all the ornaments she has made in school and daycare through the years. She also purchases an ornament each year for this tree that she feels represents the year or something special about the year. In the guest room is the Book Tree, filled with favorite Christmas books; the tree is unlighted, but candlesticks are situated around the bottom so that "you can read by candlelight." Also in the room is a vintage Santa with his own book and another that has been passed for generations through Skylar's family. Korbynn's bathroom features her collection of "Dolly Mama" tin dolls sitting and standing around the large garden tub. Guests will enjoy the festive feel of Christmas and lots of joyful personality throughout the home!
The Ayres home is located at 105 North Hampton Spur. From the square take Panola Street west and turn right on North Adams. Turn left on Lexington, and the home is just to the right of the covered bridge.
George Hooker says he has never experienced more joy than in the labor of love in which he immersed himself to restore his childhood home, a wonderful farmhouse that has been in the Hooker family for four generations. His own amazing creativity can be seen in every detail of the design and execution of this dream home that he named Farmhaüs.
And it is a very literal "dream home." He dreamed of all the countless details that make the home unique. The library wall with the hidden door. The 1930s speakeasy bar hidden behind an old-fashioned Union Station wooden telephone booth. The tiny little mouse door in the floor molding of the master bedroom. The mock men's store (named Ben Hooker Clothiers in honor of his great grandfather) that serves as his own clothes closet in the room that had been his childhood bedroom. The movie theatre and adjoining large professional kitchen with original brick chimney and a nine-foot granite island. A guest suite (named the Empire Suite in homage to his "Star Wars" memorabilia), complete with a massive tiled wet room with claw foot tub and rain shower. A grand shower in the master bath area that also includes a soaker tub which gets filled with water falling from the ceiling. A computer desk made from a restored antique bicycle that divides the master bed and bath areas. Distinctive doors, plumbing fixtures, woodwork, hardware, and artwork. New brick steps and landscaping leading to the front porch, where the original wooden swing still hangs and an original claw foot tub from the home sits. And a few thousand other details that make every square inch of the home special and meaningful, both inside the house and in the fabulous outdoor features.
For Christmas, the home is filled with whimsical decorations reflecting George's childhood from the 1970s and 80s. Characters from the Rankin and Bass television specials featuring Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and others can be found everywhere, as well as toys and other pieces that reflect the era. See how many Christmas hats you can find, from the tiniest to quite large ones, and how many Christmas movies. Look for elves that have dived into the Christmas tree. An electric train that belonged to George's father when he was a boy chugs around the base of the large tree in the library, and his mother's Christmas dolls that she made by hand are there as well. The tree is filled with ornaments from throughout George's childhood. Several smaller trees are scattered throughout the house, also decorated with ornaments from the 70s and 80s. Stuffed gorillas with Santa suits and hats hand from the kitchen light fixture, and all the tables and mantles and shelves in the house are filled with Christmas décor, too. Just like the home does, George's Christmas décor reflects perfectly his personality, creativity, and love of family, traditions, fun, and whimsy.
The Hooker home is located at 161 CR 425, Gary. From the square, drive south on Hwy. 59S. About 10 miles past the loop, turn left on CR 425, and the house is the first one on the left, across the road from Woods New Hope Baptist Church. (Note: It can be confusing because you will see CR 430 before you come to 425.)
Paula Jamerson's beautiful, eclectically-decorated home reflects the personality of its vivacious, creative, colorful owner perfectly all the time, but even moreso at Christmas. Paula is both a watercolor artist and a craftsperson and seamstress who creates lines of jewelry, coffee mugs, note cards, every kind of textile/fabric artistry, and just about any other artistic endeavor one could dream up, and they can be seen throughout her home.
With the open floor plan on the first floor, visitors will see Christmas everywhere from the moment they enter the home. On the black leather-finished granite kitchen island stands a large mercury glass tree, and between the kitchen and dining area is a black metal tree with ornamental arms/branches filled with Christmas ball ornaments of all kinds. A large cabinet in the dining area houses a collection of hand-made and hand-painted Santas made by a woodcarver friend in Kilgore, as well as one of his large wooden Nativities, and a large gold Nativity as well. Paula has also painted a collection of watercolor Nativities, and she creates cards, coffee mugs, shirts, sweaters, and other items with prints from these designs. Also on display is her large collection of Christmas pillows scattered on all of the comfortable furniture in the home. Framing the fireplace in the living room are an exquisite antique 1800s English Oak mantle and fireplace tender, and the home's primary Christmas tree is close by. It is heavily flocked and covered with felt garlands and all kinds of ornaments in pinks, reds, and teals. A textured black crocodile-embossed wall of framed mirrors of all shapes leads to the staircase. "I'm not a 'less is more' person," she says. "I never stop where other people would." As a result, there are unexpected and delightful details in every square inch of her house that Paula describes as "sensory overload for some people."
The living room opens to a screened-in porch behind the house that is home to a trundle bed where she sometimes sleeps in nice weather and can also serve as an additional bed for guests when necessary. A side door from the porch leads to an outdoor patio with an arbor, comfortable wicker furniture (including a table and chairs for dining), a fire pit, and many beautiful plants, as well as "lots of family things," including the metal headboard and footboard of her parents' bed, powder-coated in bright colors and hanging as decorations on the wooden fence. She created a rock garden on which to place her enormous variety of potted plants of every size, and plans are in the works for an additional patio space whose floor will be a mosaic made with stones and rocks.
The other downstairs rooms-master bedroom, powder room, and laundry room-also feature Paula's unique Christmas décor. The tree in the master bedroom is blush pink and heavily ornamented with large and small pink balls, small framed family photos, and other ornaments, and draped in large pink mesh ribbon.
The landing at the top of the stairs also serves as her grandchildren's tv room. It features a hot pink tree with turquoise and chartreuse whimsical ornaments, with a matching wreath on the wall. The area is filled with furnishings in bright vivid colors, including a bench upholstered in colorful silk strips, and the adjoining bathroom is decorated in similar colors. Paula's art studio and work space area, which also adjoin the tv area, feature a turquoise "partner tree" to the hot pink tree, decorated in the same colors and style. The upstairs guest bedroom features a flocked tree with red, green, and blue ornaments that include cardinals and Santas and serves as a memorial tree to loved ones who have passed away.
Paula says that most of the Christmas ornaments she uses now are not the old sentimental ones she has had for years because she gave most of those to her daughter for her own tree. "But just like I combine traditional and non-traditional eclectic things all over the house," she says, "I like to combine old, new, sentimental, and 'just ones I find that I like' in all of the decorations. I have always enjoyed creating things and decorating for the holidays. My mother, who unfortunately died very young, was a home economics major who could make absolutely anything, She has always been my 'inspiration in creativity,' and I am so blessed to have had her for a role model."
The Jamerson home is located at 259 Stonegate Drive. From the square take Sabine Street west and turn left on Stonegate Drive. The house is on the second corner.