BALLINGER- The Carnegie Library is sponsoring the 2011 annual Christmas Tour of Homes on December 18 from 2-4 p.m. Each home is unique and is sure to please.

Visitors are welcome to visit each one of the houses and get an isight of five remarkable homes in our community. Tickets are $10 and can be picked up at the Carnegie at 204 North Eighth during operation hours or from any member of the Library Board before the tour. On December 18, tickets may be purchased at any of the homes listed on the tour.

The Art Guild, located at 108 South Ninth across the street from Kit's Body Shop, will offer refreshments and a tour of the art studio from 2-4 during the Home Tour. The Guild formed in 1999 and currently has 17 members. In addition to working on various personal projects, the members sponsor a summer art camp and numerous workshops. So stop by for a look at their works and a sample of their holiday goodies.

The 2011 Home Tour featured homes are:

Kohler home

On March 16, 2008, Mike and Christine Kohler, their daughter Jennifer Bradshaw, and her four children, moved to Ballinger, because they wanted to live in a nice community near San Angelo and Abilene. The Kohlers' home, 301 N. 12th Street, was built in 1910 by Judge Willingham. Recently the Kohlers have learned their home may be from the George Barber collection of Victorian homes.

The Kohlers have been grateful to have found some wonderful workmen in and around the area, who have all done work in the house, such as AirTite Windows, Agriplex, Johnny at Jones Plumbing, electrician Lynn Smith, and Don Lieber Painting. They are also thankful to Bob Wright for his knowledge of the house and the area, and to Mrs. Miller for bringing over the glass shades for the fireplace. The project next on the Kohlers' list is to fix the porch. They also plan on removing carpet from the upstairs bathroom, installed by previous tenants, and redoing the kitchen floors.

"We are excited that our home will be included in the Tour of Homes," said Christine Kohler. "We love the Carnegie Library and are honored to be included in this charity event to aid the library."

Clinton home

Crystal and Jason Clinton and their two boys, Briley and Brady, love living in their home on Highway 158 just one mile west of Ballinger on the Bronte Highway. The Clintons purchased their home in April, 2011 and almost immediately started renovating. Their four bedroom, three bath home has new interior walls, new flooring throughout and an efficiently redesigned kitchen complete with granite counter tops and custom cabinetry. Briley is proud of his bedroom, which he shares with his brother, and the play room just across the hall. Crystal and Jason changed a game room into their master bedroom and added closets and a bathroom. The guest bedroom is spacious and inviting. In the dining room, they also installed large French doors that open to a patio and a native stone outdoor kitchen.

Drop by and welcome this wonderful family to Ballinger. Crystal is a fifth grade teacher and Jason works at SKG Engineering in San Angelo. They would love to see you.

Trent's Retreat

Trent's Retreat: a tribute from a community to people struggling with unknown futures, devastating illness, and compounded pressures; a beautiful native stone two bedroom, one bath home ready to comfort and soothe hurting families, even if only for a short time.

Take FM 2887 out of Ballinger, drive past Rattlesnake Creek and turn right at the entrance sign. Meander up the driveway to the oasis perched on a bluff above Elm Creek. Misty, David and Allie Ueckert imagined this home after Trent's battle with a rare, aggressive cancer. The dream became reality. The house is handicap accessible. A vaulted wooden ceiling spans the kitchen, living and dining rooms. The bedrooms are ready for guests. Down the bluff, a 9 hole miniature golf course and play fort await eager young adventurers. Behind the house, a biking/walking trail beckons. By the house, another play area has been donated for those not so eager to stray far.

Inside, the stained glass window represents Trent and family, fighting together, in a community of support. Those who enter the house will not be alone. For awhile, the company of wild turkeys and deer will provide a breather from reality. Please stop by. You will feel a little bit of the peace that resides there.

Busenlehner home

Is It Fredericksburg? No, it is 409 N 6th but Fallen and Justin Busenlehner wanted this 90+ year old home to have that Fredericksburg feel. High ceilings, wood floors and crown moldings mark each room. Some of the features were built by Mr. and Mrs. Cotelle in 1917 and then some added by its 3 owners since. The kitchen with its large, tiled bar and work space naturally becomes the central meeting place for the home. The front dining room and living room, although modern, have an easy elegance for all who enter.

So...stop by and chat with the Busenlehner's about the changes the house has seen in its lifetime. Browse through the 3 bedrooms and baths and enjoy this spacious home. And while you are there, you might want to ask Justin about his Christmas eggnog!

Dunn home

Eddie and Alvin Dunn's home provides a beautiful spot for their inherited antiques and country charm. The home, finished in January, 2011, sits just outside Ballinger and offers a view that is unsurpassed.

The front entry opens into a central living area, kitchen and dining room. Custom tile, hand made needlepoint and beautiful cabinetry make that first glance breathtaking. To the left of this area are a 22'x32' game room, two bedrooms and a bath. To the right lie an office, master bedroom & bath, laundry room and mud room. Comfort and easy living echo in the arrangement.

The Dunn's home relies on rainwater throughout with a filtering system set-up in the adjacent shed. Tankless water heaters provide economical, efficient hot water. Pella windows and two porches on the east and west sides of the house offer heat and cold protection.

For Alvin and Eddie, this house is a three generation dream come true. Visit, spend a little time and just enjoy a touch of country and a truck load of comfort.