Approach Dixie Grants home and you know youre someplace special. The entryway sparkles under a large branchelier (a chandelier made of branches) glowing with lights and dripping with silvery shimmer.
Inside, you find garlands, ornaments, lights, candles, silk arrangements, a charming array of penguins, an incredible view, glitter and more glitter that fills its rooms with festive holiday magic. But the magic comes not only from the spectacular decorations created by designers Sandie Maggio and Beth Bindner of Villa Lifestyles in Eagle. In Grants home, decking the halls creates the perfect backdrop for a partnership that lets these three women use bells, baubles and boughs of holly as a way to help others.
Grant regularly invites community groups and individuals who need a spectacular venue for a good cause into her home. Whether its a fundraiser for the Northwest Childrens Home Syringa House in Nampa, a recognition reception for the Ada County sheriffs Heroes Among Heroes program, or a wedding for a couple who cant afford a hall, all she asks in return is that people pay it forward.
Its for whatever touches my heart. Every event is either a fundraiser, or its something to inspire people to give back to the community, Grant says.
Grant, a retired Hewlett-Packard program coordinator and Realtor, first enlisted Maggio and Bindner to decorate her home for a Republican Party fundraiser in 2007, shortly after she purchased the home.
The three women clicked and found the power to use their talents to help others.
(At the time, this designing duos business was focused on interior style as Villa Decor and Design. In the past year, they changed their focus to collegiate feminine fashion, carrying licenses for BSU, U of I, other sports teams, and sororities and fraternities.)
Grants house now ends up in live auctions for groups such as the Boise State University Foundation and Boise Philharmonic, and she invites organizations she supports to use it as a venue. She schedules the events around the Bronco football game schedule. This Caldwell native is a BSU grad and avid fan. Since they started in 2007, Grant estimates theyve helped different nonprofits collectively raise about $250,000.
I could never do this on my own, Grant says. What goes on in this house is such a community effort.
They co-host a popular event they call the Cookies and Martinis Party, which Bindner and Maggio started as a much smaller affair. Since holding it at Grants home, it has grown each year. Now, about 200 women each bring three dozen cookies, have a martini and compete for awards. When attending, they also make a financial donation to a good cause and learn about it by meeting and hearing from those the group benefits, such as Camp Rainbow Gold.
What makes the event work, Bindner says, is that its not only about raising money. Its about showing people that they can contribute.
Its about networking and supporting each other in the business and social world, Bindner says. Yes, we want to give back, and this is the way were going to do it all together.
Grant bought the 8,000-square-foot house in 2007, thinking her ailing mother and caregivers would move in. When that didnt happen, she did some soul searching at a time when the struggles of Hurricane Katrina victims still sparked deep emotions in her.
I didnt know exactly how I was going to give back, Grant says. I clearly did not need a house this big and I almost couldnt go through with the transaction because I knew there are all these people who didnt even have a cardboard box. How can I possibly justify this?
Thats when she knew how best to use her real estate.
So now this is what I do, Grant says.
Grant is an inspiration, Maggio says.
Were so connected to her, Maggio says. We take pride in not only who she is, but in what we can help her accomplish in the community.