Couple's loft will be a stop on Historic Augusta's tour

Robin Cowman was unsure whether she was going to like living in a loft apartment in downtown Augusta after living on more than four acres in Pennsylvania.


"We like it better than we thought we would," said Mrs. Cowman, who moved to Augusta about a year ago with her husband, Ron, who works for Westinghouse Electric at Plant Vogtle.

Their apartment will be a stop Friday and Saturday in the annual Historic Augusta Downtown Loft Tour.

The Cowmans' loft is in the Sylvester Building, which was built after the fire of 1916. The building was designed by Lloyd Preacher (who also designed the Imperial and Modjeska theaters) and was originally a dry-goods store.

The loft is about 1,600 feet of open space. By positioning their furniture, the Cowmans have created the impression of separate rooms in the loft. There is a dining area, a bedroom area and two separate places for watching television in case of conflicting shows, said Mr. Cowman.

The loft is decorated with items the Cowmans have collected on their many travels. They like to purchase things such as pottery, paintings and plates, which are displayed throughout the apartment and rekindle memories of their trips.

Items on display include a teapot that almost landed them in hot water with Scotland Yard because of some missing paperwork, and a piece of pottery bought in Todos Santos, Mexico, the reputed site of The Eagles' Hotel California .

Other pieces include a plate from Paris, a vase from Liechtenstein, a quilt from an Irish castle and paintings from Sonoma Valley, Calif.

Mrs. Cowman said adjusting to the loft apartment hasn't been difficult at all.

"At our house, every weekend, we'd mow, then mulch, then weed," said Mrs. Cowman, who added that mowing their land took several hours. Now, if the couple wants to take off for a weekend, it's easy. They just lock the door and leave.

Downtown offers a lot of things that living in the country didn't. The two enjoy the variety of the downtown restaurants, and Mrs. Cowman spends a lot of time walking their collie-Lab mix, Shelby, on Riverwalk Augusta.

Though they don't know how much longer his job will keep him in the area, the Cowmans are content in their loft and don't plan to move anytime soon.

"We love the lifestyle," said Mr. Cowman.

Reach Charmain Brackett at


WHAT: The Historic Augusta Downtown Loft Tour

WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday

STOPS: The Johnson Building, 756 Broad St.; the Sylvester Building, 812 Broad St.; Cotton Exchange, 32 Eighth St.; The White's Building, 936 Broad St.; an Italianate townhouse, 1028 Reynolds St.; the Goldberg Building, 1044 Broad St.; and the Brislen Building, 1168 Broad St., will be open both days.

The Leonard Building, on Broad Street, will be open Friday only, and the Sutherland Mill on Cottage Street and Enterprise Mill, 1450 Greene St., will be part of the tour on Saturday only.

COST: $15 in advance or $20 on the days of the tour, available at Historic Augusta, 415 Seventh St., Mellow Mushroom, 1167 Broad St., Metro Spirit, 700 Broad St. or the Blue Magnolia, 1124 Broad St.

LEARN MORE: (706) 724-0436 or



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