“Householder” says, Cindy Householder, is one of those Dutch/German names that were once descriptive of a person’s occupation or place in society. The moniker she shares with husband, Joel, literally means “steward of the house,” and couldn’t be linked to a more appropriate couple.

The Lake Highlands homemaker and decorative arts painter will open her home, along with three others, to the public on Dec. 1 to raise for funds on behalf of the neighborhood Women’s League (see HAPPENINGS this issue).

“When I was asked … well, there’s so much time and effort in getting your home ready. But I called a friend of mine who had done the tour before,” says Cindy. “And she reminded me that it goes to such a great cause. And it does.

“We raise $50,000 for scholarships for Lake Highlands seniors every year. It’s worth it — there are a lot of great kids who would not be able to go on to school without this.”

Cindy and Joel have been “keepers of the home” in many ways throughout their marriage — and even before, as students at SMU in 1973 volunteering for the Young Life ministry that was to become so much a part of the fabric of the neighborhood. Joel, in fact, went on to join the ministry and lead the Young Life club for15 years.

“Consequently a lot of the families in the community now raising high school age children … we had them in our Young Life program, we’ve known them for years,” says Cindy. “Our own children were raised in the club in Lake Highlands.”

These days, Joel is the Dallas director of Search Ministries, which provides relational evangelism to adults in the marketplace. The Householders’ three children include Katy, a senior at A&M; Annie, a sophomore at Baylor; and David in the 9th grade at Dallas Academy.

Of the place where she and her husband spent the last 25 years, Cindy says: “This was a great place to raise our children in. We love it. Lake Highlands is very community oriented, a safe place.”

Through the years, Cindy has flexed her SMU art major muscles repainting and re-decorating her own home. “We put a lot of our own time and energy into it,” she says. “But the thing that stands out the most about it is that my ‘finds’ came from garage sales and flea markets — we got many things for nothing. I love doing it myself, it really energizes me.”

In time, Cindy went ahead and set up a decorating painting business, both for furniture and walls. “This is sort of my testing ground here,” she laughs, gesturing to a number of murals and finished pieces as well as a chest waiting patiently on newspaper out on the patio. “I try things here and then take it out to other people’s homes.”

The artist says that her decorating approach is eclectic, a sort of “formal country” that focuses on warmth, antiques, family keepsakes, objects collected over the years: “It’s ‘blending’ — there’s  real trick to it.”

The Householders’ den, Cindy’s favorite room, is flanked by a wall of ivory cabinets that house the family’s one and only television set. “We did that so that when our children wanted to watch TV, we’d be in here together,” Cindy says.

She laughs: “Our kids go: We’re the only family that has one television. But we didn’t want to disperse — teenagers will automatically take off for their own room, close their door … . But you have to learn how to get along with people, not be isolated.

“That’s how you learn to live life, right here in your own family.”