Home tour features Southwestern style

This Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
By: Joyia Emard, Gold Country News Service
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Not many people can say they built 95 percent of their home with their own two hands. But George “Bernie” and Kim Hess can and Kim said she has the scars to prove it. Twenty years ago the couple bought a 1,220-square-foot, 50-year-old farm house on four acres in Loomis and transformed it into a true adobe-style Southwestern hacienda. Now, they’re ready to share their creation as a featured home on the Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour on Saturday, Dec. 6. Tour proceeds will benefit the children of the Loomis Union School District through the Loomis Basin Education Foundation. It took the couple 12 years and three phases of construction to get to the 4,200-square-foot stunning home they now have. The multi-leveled, multilayered home has been lovingly designed by the couple with special features built in to showcase their collection of Southwestern art, artifacts and furniture. Kim and Bernie have been together 32 years and Bernie has been involved in the building industry since he was 17. Kim is a design school graduate who designs the homes that Bernie builds. She has even made her own drapes and faux painted her entire house. Their love of the Southwest began 15 years ago when Bernie was chosen to build a Southwestern-style home for a client. The couple then took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico to research the architecture. Over the years, they designed and built four more homes in the same style. Those homes featured thick walls, kiva fireplaces exposed beams and timbers, clay tile roofs and rustic accessories. In fact, many of the beams and stones in the Hess home were brought in from the Southwest. Some of the couple’s favorite Southwestern pieces are the dining room light, hand painted by a Sedona artist, and two paintings they had commissioned. Their sitting room showcases a painting of an Indian camp that features their own two horses, Bubba and Rusty. Bernie’s favorite place in his home just may be the cave-like wine cellar he built. He hauled its heavy wood doors all the way from Taos, New Mexico. “I always dreamed of having an underground place to store wine,” Bernie said. The Hess hacienda project is not yet complete. Last winter a tree fell and destroyed their garage. So, one more addition will be made – a guest bedroom and new garage – bringing the square footage total to nearly 5,000. That next phase is slated to begin in spring 2009. On the holiday home tour, Kim will have decorated their home for the holidays. Three trees will grace the home including a “cowboy” themed tree bearing ornaments they collected from the Southwest and a collection of Kim’s lariats. Standing beside the tree will be Mobo the Wonderhorse, a bouncing toy horse just like the one Kim rode as a child. Six other custom homes will also be featured on the tour including a 1920s cottage, Tuscan Villa, executive country home, Colonial manor, Mediterranean villa and an Italian villa. Tour hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 each if purchased in advance and $30 on tour day. Advance ticket sales are available in Loomis at Blue Goose Produce, the Loomis Chamber of Commerce and Flower Farm Nursery, in Auburn at Eisley Nursery and the Christmas Village, Newcastle Produce, in Rocklin at Pottery World and in Roseville at La-Z-boy Furniture Galleries. Tour day ticket sales will be available at the Loomis Train Depot. Online tickets and more information are available at the foundation Web site at