House expanded with family

Ann Marie and Gene McManus found a home to grow with when they moved into their Hillcrest Avenue house on Jan. 2, 1991. Their first child, Maureen, was born 13 days later, and four more children have since filled the home.


The white, two-story house didn't have all the perks Ann Marie looked for when searching for the couple's first home. The location in the historic Summerville neighborhood, however, sold it for the two.

"When I saw where it was, I called Gene up and said you have to get over here right now," Ann Marie said. "It was right where we wanted to be."

The five McManus children don't know what it is like to live anywhere else. They have always walked a few blocks to school and church at St. Mary on the Hill and to the Appleby Library. Now, Aquinas High School is just a short drive away for the teenagers.

Ann Marie, a Realtor, has seen many houses she would love to move the family into. Thankfully, Gene reminds her that the family never wants to leave the neighborhood where they see the same friendly runners greet them every day.

"It's people of all ages. There are no cookie-cutter houses. Every house is different," Ann Marie said.

The addition of a large breakfast and family room behind the kitchen, two more upstairs bedrooms and a bathroom alleviated growing pains when the second to youngest child, Catherine, was born in 1997.

The McManuses brought Catherine home from the hospital to a partial construction zone. They were still painting the house and furnishings weren't complete.

"The only thing in the family room was a rocking chair where I handed Catherine off to my mother," Ann Marie said.

Soft colors, light fabrics and comfortable sofas now decorate family space and the master bedroom suite. The peaceful décor offsets the loud voices of five children, Ann Marie said.

In the bedrooms of the three youngest girls, hot pink and green walls are accented with polka dot window treatments. Maureen said she chose more mature colors of teal and black to redo her bedroom when she was in high school.

Mac, the only McManus son, has displayed his father's collection of newspaper clippings from Clemson football's 1981 national championship year.

Throughout the home, family antiques and mementos from Ireland are mixed in with practical necessities for a big family home.

A hallway near the kitchen is lined with white cabinets that serve as lockers for each family member to store their belongings.

The dining room features a long, dark wood table Gene had built as a Christmas present for his wife.

The table seats a crowd as large as 14 for Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day and many birthdays in February and March.

An archway with recessed lighting over the kitchen sink and adjacent eating bar gives view of the family room.

Ann Marie said she cooks family dinners almost every night, occasionally using vegetables from Gene's backyard garden.

At home with

The McManus family (from left): Catherine, 14; Mac, 18; Ann Marie; Gene; Maureen, 20; Caroline, 16; and Cecilia, 12

Where: Hillcrest Avenue in the historic Summerville neighborhood

The house: Five bedrooms, three 1/2 baths