Margaret Alligood was so impressed with Hidden Lakes Townhomes off Columbia Road that when a unit became available, she bought it -- sight unseen.
Five years ago, she had driven through the development and loved the location.
"I drove through every month, and there was never anything for sale," said Mrs. Alligood, who recently started a second career working for Columbia County after leaving BellSouth, where she worked for 30 years.
Two weeks into the new job, she overheard a co-worker talking about a Hidden Lakes house that would be coming on the market.
"I was so sure it's what I wanted, I bought it," Mrs. Alligood said.
The 1,000-square-foot house was smaller than the North Augusta cottage she previously owned. The move forced her to downsize and clear her home of "knickknacks and clutter."
"With the world economies the way they are, I'm glad I'm learning to live with less," she said. "I want to live within my means and treasure the things I've got that really matter."
The white walls show off artwork, much of it created by Mrs. Alligood's 90-year-old mother, Peggy.
The living room offers a view of a pond that edges up to the backyard.
"It feels like a vacation home in the city," she said. "I always feel like I'm on a cruise ship, because any time I look out the window, there's water there."
The living room also features a fireplace, and a Victrola passed down by her father.
The room is open to the dining area and leads to a kitchen decorated in bright shades of green and yellow.
"Having people over for dinner is sort of a lost art," she said. "We use this space a lot."
Mrs. Alligood sets the table with specific themes, inviting her guests to dress to match. A dozen or more guests gather around the table every week for Bible study.
"To me, that's what a home should be," Mrs. Alligood said. "A place where we can serve the Lord ... no matter how big or small."
Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At home with
WHO: Larry and Margaret Alligood and their cat, Dylan, named for Bob Dylan
THE HOME: Two-bedroom, two-bath townhouse in Hidden Lake Townhomes off Columbia Road
IT'S A FACT: "One of my guests dozed off in the chair in front of the fireplace while watching the pond after dinner,'' Mrs. Alligood said. ''To me, that was the biggest compliment anyone could give. I want my home to be that peaceful."