If you’ve ever wanted to look inside some of the beautiful homes around Gainesville, now is your chance.
The first-ever Gainesville Tour of Homes is coming to town from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 13. The event, benefiting Sacred Roots Farm, will give attendees the chance to tour nine different homes in the city, taking in each home’s unique architecture and design. Tickets are $30.
“We wanted to have a mix of architectural styles and design taste,” said Maggie Griffin, organizer for the event. “We started asking people if they’d be willing and we had the most generous response.”
Griffin, owner of Maggie Griffin Design in Gainesville, has been in many of the homes on the tour. She’s helped design and redesign them and has long wished others who aren’t in the same business could look around the properties.
The thought has been in the back of her mind for years, but she was waiting for the perfect time to pitch the idea.
It finally came when the owners of Sacred Roots Farm, a long-term recovery home for women rescued from sex trafficking, asked Maggie Griffin Design to help “feminize” the home it had for the women and their children.
Gainesville Tour of Homes
What: Tour of area homes with proceeds benefiting Sacred Roots Farm
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 13
How much: $30
More info: Online
Oftentimes, when women are freed from sex trafficking, acclimating to life is difficult. Sacred Roots is trying to help that process with a three- to seven-year recovery program that offers housing and emotional healing.
The nonprofit is fairly new, receiving its first participant in November 2018, but is hoping the Gainesville Tour of Homes will help it get its name out into the community to fix what it believes is a community problem.
After redesigning the cabin-style home for the nonprofit and its clients, Griffin wanted to do her part as a member of the community.
“As females, we’re born nurturers, and the idea of home is really important,” Griffin said. “When we left that house, I just had this compelling feeling of wanting to do more for these women. So the idea of home really was just stuck with me.”
Griffin said the women at her office usually go along with her “crazy ideas.” She texted the group and they immediately responded, agreeing the Gainesville Tour of Homes event was a good idea.
“It’s amazing when you put your mind to work, with the generosity that God provides, things just fall into place,” Griffin said. “It’s really awesome and we’re so grateful for it and we are thrilled to be a part of that amazing ministry and just want to continue doing everything we can to support them.”
Those who purchase a ticket will be able to drive to and tour the homes at their own pace. Griffin said they’re all within the Gainesville city limits, with a handful near the Chattahoochee Country Club.
One of those city homes belongs to Elizabeth Thompson. She and her husband, Ryan, had been on the market looking for a home for a couple years and he convinced her to check out a mid-century modern home on Dixon Drive.
“My husband had to really convince me to go look at it because I’m a more traditional gal at heart,” Thompson said. “He convinced me to go inside and look at it and it had a lot of great charm. Just the architecture of it was very appealing. The aesthetics, not so much. It was very dated.”
There was dark paneling all over and Thompson said it looked like it hadn’t been touched or updated in two or three decades. Once she got her hands on it, though, her vision became reality.
“I love the kitchen and all of the windows,” Thompson said. “It has huge windows all across the back of the house, and the natural light just won me over instantly.”
Having her house on the tour was an easy decision since it’s for a good cause and she gets requests for it pretty frequently.
Although she said it’s a little odd to have strangers walking through her home, the tour gave Thompson a chance to finish up some projects — like landscaping and finally finding a chandelier for the dining room — that she hadn’t gotten to yet.
“I hope nobody goes through our drawers or anything,” Thompson said, laughing.
Other homes on the tour range through many types of design: From an old 1925 cottage to a newer, larger modern farmhouse to a more typical brick home. Griffin said there’s a home to fit everyone’s taste.
“There’s one house that’s completely done in very muted tones of white and cream and blue. It’s a beautiful space that’s very light and bright and airy,” Griffin said. “And then there’s your more eclectic houses that have a variety of furnishings and design styles.”
Griffin said she’s encouraging some of her friends and clients who are looking to renovate their homes soon to come out to the tour so they can get ideas and see what people have done differently over the years.
Apart from finding ideas for their own properties, the one thing Griffin hopes people leave the event with is a sense of home. That’s where the idea came for the event came from and what she hopes the funds from the event can create for the women and children at Sacred Roots.
“We are all blessed beyond measure in ways we probably don't even think about sometimes,” Griffin said. “And when we were tasked with creating a home for these women who have been through atrocities that we can’t even imagine, it felt like we needed to bring more awareness to it and really celebrate our lives and the blessings we have and what we can do to give back, especially to these women and children who have been through a lot.”