Originally created 05/27/01

An artistic simplicity marks home's decor

Sherre Watwood remembers her grandfather Lee Garner's antique shop in Marietta, Ga., but the business was only a sideline. His first love was art.

Mr. Garner, a professional artist who died in December at age 92, could turn an old slab of wood or the top of a butter churn into a canvas. His subjects were simple, rural and warm; his colors, bold.

Mrs. Watwood keyed the color scheme of her four-bedroom, two-bath house in south Augusta to several of his works.

A vivid picture of a rooster hangs in the kitchen. She matched the wall color to the apple red and green acrylics her grandfather used to depict the rooster.

In the kitchen there's another of Mr. Garner's works: a painting of a wedge of watermelon on a wooden table. The table in the painting is actually the natural wood of the board showing through.

"He didn't paint the table - he painted around the table," said Mrs. Watwood.

Since he painted on boards, Mr. Garner also tooled the edges so that the picture and the frame were one. A knothole along the edge of the watermelon picture became the center of a flower he worked into the frame area.

Several of his farm scenes hang in the dining room and radiate gold and blue. The gold also turns up in the dining room walls and in curtain panels covering French doors that lead to a porch.

Mrs. Watwood enjoys mixing and matching prints, plaids and stripes. She uses color on walls, trim and furniture to tie a room together. "I have two weaknesses - paint and fabric," she said.

Red, her favorite color, is teamed with cream and a touch of blue in the den. Bold, cream-colored flowers on a colonial-red rug with a wide plaid border take center stage.

A white wicker side chair is cushioned in white fabric striped with red.

A red cabinet provides storage for a television. The cabinet was a flea market find several colors ago. Her husband, David, never minds if she decides to paint the furniture, she said. "We don't have really good furniture. We just have flea market stuff or stuff that has memories for us."

The den's antique heart pine flooring was salvaged from their former home in Martinez and holds many memories of their daughter Annie.

Annie, who was confined to a wheelchair, spent many hours with her mother in the kitchen and other areas of the Martinez house floored with the heart pine.

About two months after the Watwoods decided to move to south Augusta to be closer to family and friends, Annie suddenly died at age 8. "I had jokingly said to David if there was some way we could take this heart pine flooring with us, I would feel like I had a piece of Annie going with us to the new house," she said.

Of course, he told her she was crazy, she said.

But a week after they put the house on the market, a water leak soaked the kitchen floor. When the insurance adjuster said, cost aside, he wasn't sure the flooring could be matched, the Watwoods suggested that the company replace the pine with carpeting and linoleum and allow them to take what was left of the pine. The company agreed.

"I don't know if I prayed or anything. God just knew (having the flooring) was my heart's desire," said Mrs. Watwood, who moved to south Augusta about three years ago.

Enough of the wood remained to do the new den.

The den, dining room and living room open onto a covered porch that serves as a front entryway. The porch lends a sense of spaciousness to the 1,850-square-foot house.

The entryway, finished in olive siding, was created when the couple bumped the front of the red brick house out 10 feet and added a bedroom and second den. They plan to finish the upstairs portion of the addition, another 500 square feet of space, in about a year.

The house also seems spacious because the couple installed a window between the den and the dining room and left an existing window in a kitchen wall after adding a second den.

They found the large interior window that they added at a lumberyard warehouse sale along with molding, odd-size interior doors and pairs of French doors at bargain prices. They modified door openings to accommodate the doors and were also able to use much of the molding. A single French door now charmingly serves as the kitchen pantry door.

The center hallway that connects bedrooms and baths is a surprising 5 feet in width, another feature that adds a feeling of spaciousness. "I wanted it to be wide and airy," Mrs. Watwood said.

Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or vanorton@augustachronicle.com.


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