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Take a peek inside Homes at the Lake

LAKE WYLIE -- Far East flavor, African themes, lake views and four-wheeled Americana. Saturday's 2009 River Hills Homes Tour promises it all.

Again this year, some of the most interesting homes in River Hills will be on display for the tour, sponsored by the Clover/Lake Wylie Republican Women. The annual event raises money for scholarships awarded to Clover students through the group's Clover High School Scholarship program. The show generally draws up to 400 guests.

"Quite a few come out from Charlotte, and also Clover, Rock Hill," said organizer Katzy Nager. "We've had people come down from Gastonia, York--all over."

This year features five homes, from long-time vacation homes to homes not a year old. Chris and Jack Leff, who bought their home at 5 Sunrise Point Lane 13 years ago and moved there full-time in 2007, will show off their peninsula view in the 2009 show in part for the fun of it, but mostly for the cause.

"It's a great charity," Jack Leff said. "We felt like it's important for us to do our part."

The home withstood two additions since its purchase and now totals 4,500 square feet of Japanese-inspired, feng shui design from the roof and materials to a Japanese garden outside and various pieces of art. This year is the first time on tour for the Leffs, despite previous inquiries from planners.

"We've been approached a number of times, but we weren't here full-time," Jack Leff said. "This was our vacation home for the first 10 years."

The couple considered participating last year, but were concerned with the drought-induced water use restrictions and the impact they would have on preparing for the event. Able to pressure wash and tidy any way they like this year, the Leffs are happy to share the home with water views from every room, one they knew they would call home from the first step inside.

"We knew back in '96 when we drove in for the first time," Jack Leff said. "When we drove through that main gate we knew. It was just meant to be."

For visitors hoping to stay a little further west of the far east, the Krewson home offers a taste of vintage America--1940, to be exact--even before the door opens. Dick Krewson will have his mint condition 1940 Buick parked in the driveway.

"I'm going to be sitting out front with the doors open, the hood up and the trunk up so people can see it," he said of the car with 59,000 miles, originally sold in 1939 for $969 and just like the one Krewson's father drove. "I grew up with this car. I baby the thing."

Inside, Pat Krewson went "room by room" for the show, preparing to present the home she and her husband bought 27 years ago. Most every room in the home is larger now, thanks to the additions of a master bedroom wing, porches, hardwood floors and an enclosed eating area off the kitchen. The home knows as much change in the past three decades as its owners, who moved here with one child and now are preparing to welcome their seventh grandchild.

"It's just a good family house," Pat Krewson said. "It's a very livable, family home."

The 2009 tour is a good mix of newly built homes, newly redone homes and long-time residences, Nager said. The event will take place rain or shine, especially given that the last time it did rain during the show attendance actually increased.

"A lot of people came out," Nager said. "I don't know if they were planning on playing golf that day or doing something else outside. They just came anyway."

WANT TO GO? Tickets for the 2009 River Hills Home Tour cost $10 and may be purchased in advance at Jac-Lyn's Hallmark in Lake Wylie Plaza, or at the River Hills main gate day of the event. A luncheon buffet will be served 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at River Hills Country Club for $14, which includes tax and tip. New for 2009 is the River Hills Tour Gift Shop at the country club open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Items will include costume jewelry, unique birdhouses, china tea sets and porcelain dolls. For more information about the event, call 803-831-0689 or 803-831-9995.