The annual Tour of Homes to benefit the Tullahoma Day Care Center has been set for 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.
This year’s tour will feature four unique Tullahoma homes. In addition, a silent auction will be held from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at the Tullahoma Art Center, which will also be open for touring. All proceeds from the tour benefit the nonprofit day care center, which serves at-risk area children.
Tickets are $15 in advance, or may be purchased for $20 on the day of the tour at any of the homes or at the Art Center, 401 S. Jackson St. In addition to the Art Center, tickets are available at the following locations: The Avenues at 115 N.W. Atlantic St.; Clayton’s at 108 W. Lincoln St.; Creation’s Hair Design at 105 W. Decherd St.; 1st Choice Realtor at 211 S. Jackson St.; The Flower Shoppe at 212 W. Blackwell St.; Hampton Creek LLC at 311 N Jackson St.; J J’s Salon at 605 Stuart St.; J P Designs at 1920 Country Club Dr.; T. Michelle Clothiers at 1409 N. Jackson St.; Smart Bank at 1400 N. Jackson St.; Scavengers The Hunt Stops Here at 330 W. Lincoln St., or Traders Bank at 120 N. Jackson St.
Homes on this year’s tour are located at 1907 Country Club Drive, 502 Lake Hills Road, 500 N.E. Atlantic St. and 209 Lakewood Drive.
1907 Country Club Drive
Tommy and Mel Dennis bought their mid-century ranch about 18 months ago, after moving to Tullahoma from Owensboro, Kentucky. Tommy works as a food service on-promise manager for Coca-Cola, is a golf enthusiast and board member at Lakewood Golf and Country Club. Mel, an “artist and stylist,” said she loves entertaining in the new kitchen and is thankful for friends she has met since moving to Tullahoma.
The 2,600-square-foot home, constructed is 1962, is a three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom brick ranch home located on the Lakewood Golf and Country club’s 1oth hole.
The home has been totally renovated, inside and out, according to Mel. Walls have been taken down to open up the space, and total renovations and bright colors give the home an updated-yet-mid-century feel.
“We did floors to ceiling and everything in between,” she said. “Now we are able to fully utilize the entire home.”
Mel said the location and community feel of the home is what drew them to the location.
“Tommy’s favorite part of the house is the fireplace,” she said. “It’s a great place for us to be together as a family. (The best part) for me is the art studio. Now all of my stuff is confined to one area instead of scattered throughout the house. Plus, it has great windows and lighting. We are so thankful for everything our designer and friend, Bita Jordan, did to help us make it through the renovation process.”
502 Lake Hills Road
Leslie Wurst and her late husband Doug Wurst bought their historic home in 1995.
Built around 1910 on three secluded acres, the house overlooks Ovoca Lake and is a combination of craftsman bungalow style and shingle style. The shingles and assortment of unusual windows add to the character of the house. The cut local stone foundation and stucco chimney are from another era. Every closet in the house has a small square window for ventilation.
“And nothing makes it as special as the beautiful setting overlooking Ovoca Lake,” Leslie said.
The house had suffered from years of neglect, Leslie added. The Wursts peeled away work from previous renovations that took away from the original home. Many original light fixtures and even some trim and other woodwork had been removed, so the Wursts replaced them with historically accurate pieces, some from their own families.
According to Leslie, they did not “gut” the house. The floors are original and could not be refinished due to poor refinishing over the years, but they loved the character and kept them. “The windows are original double-hung windows with weights and wavy glass. The carriage house garage and apartment also were renovated,” she said.
The Wurst house is thought to be the original home of the founder of the Ovoca Orphans Home. Walter Dennis Fox commissioned the home to be built for himself. Fox came to the area looking for a place to build a home for Knights of Pythias widows and orphans. Fox, who was Grand Keeper of Records and Seals for the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, discovered and fell in love with the area which he would call Ovoca, after the River Avoca in County Wicklow, Ireland.
In 1909, Fox began work on the Ovoca infrastructure and hired Frank Avant Gumm as secretary. Gumm later left the area and married and became the father of Judy Garland. Unfortunately, Fox died before the house was completed. According to Blanche Dossett Cook, the house sat empty and wasn’t completed until she and her husband, Sam Cook, bought it in 1934. The Preston family from Chicago purchased the house in the late 1950’s and owned it until the Wursts purchased it in 1995.
500 N.E. Atlantic St.
The home of Sonya and Marc McNabb was built around 1900 and was the original home of the Thoma family. It is a craftsman-style home and features six working fireplaces, with possibly a seventh hidden in the walls that would have been used in the kitchen.
According to Sonya, the home has many original features but also many updates.
“The upstairs bath features a clawfoot tub and a peek under a bench to some original brick chimney from the kitchen,” she said. “We were told the property once had a horse barn and large garden in the backyard. The large tree in the front side yard by the front porch was the Christmas tree of a family that lived here in the 1960s that they planted. We once heard that the front porch was a stopping place for soldiers on the train to be treated to a meal before they went off to war.”
The home was mostly renovated when the McNabbs moved in, but they have painted most of the rooms, are in the process of changing a few light fixtures and have plans to do some more updating in the kitchen.”
“We fell in love with this home the instant we saw it,” Sonya said. “I had come for a visit from South Carolina to visit my parents who live here and had seen the home online. It reminded us of some of the charming homes of South Carolina and we loved all the character and history of the old home, the large casings, the tall ceilings, the huge glass doors between the front rooms and the original wood floors.”
Sonya said her favorite part of the house is the front porch.
“We enjoy many evenings on our front porch swing watching the trains go by and enjoying a glass of tea and sometimes even a meal with family. We can even hear live music playing at the 41A Music Festival, live music from Frasier McEwen Park and even enjoy the city fireworks show on the Fourth of July.
“The house has been several businesses in the past but we have lovingly turned it into our home. It is my favorite house I've ever lived in.”
209 Lakewood Drive
Jack and Gail Dayton bought their home in 2018 and spent the next year renovating it. They have lived at the address since May.
The home is a mid-century modern brick ranch custom built by Charles and Millie Ellis in 1958. It features an open floor plan with great views of Lake Tullahoma and the golf course. It has two levels of living space with stucco fireplaces in each level, four bedrooms and three baths with a balcony at the rear.
The home has been completely renovated by the Daytons, who removed some walls to further enhance the openness of the home, rearranged the kitchen with new cabinetry and appliances, added hardwood and tile floors throughout plus a number of built-in cabinets with all new bathrooms. They also incorporated ship lap walls, tongue-in-groove ceilings and beams in the lower level.
“The favorite part of the house is the floor plan that provides different family needs, which include a home office, hobby room and a comfortable downstairs family room that looks out over the beautiful setting of the lake and golf course,” said Jack.
“It is a comfortable, light, cheery home that incorporates many contemporary features into a traditional, mid-century modern home.”