When Nita and Dennis Zachow were designing their retirement home, two priorities topped the list: entertaining and grandchildren.
They have been living in their 5,100-square-foot home for three years, and it has proven to have plenty of room for both.
The house is in North Augusta's Cannon Mill subdivision.
The center of the home has an open design, with the great room, kitchen and the dining room all open to one another. During the holidays, their 10-foot Christmas tree can be seen from any of the three rooms.
The 18-foot ceilings in the great room and the dining room provide extra wall space for windows, allowing sunlight to illuminate the three rooms.
Oak hardwood floors also lighten area.
"The wood just goes better with this kind of house," Mrs. Zachow said. In contrast, dark cherry wood dresses up the gas fireplace and the cabinetry in the kitchen, including a countertop that separates the kitchen from the living area.
"This is a great counter for entertaining, too," Mrs. Zachow said.
The table in the formal dining room can seat 10, but the 18-by-20-foot room can accommodate many more. That comes in handy when the Zachows are entertaining church or golf groups.
"With the size of the dining room, we can add more tables as needed," Mrs. Zachow said. "We could probably seat 40."
The Zachows will enjoy their third Christmas in the house with their children and grandchildren this year.
There are four bedrooms, including the master suite.
In the master bedroom, the Zachows planned a sitting area with a private porch. This is Mrs. Zachow's favorite part of the house, and is where she spends her mornings reading the Bible.
"I love the privacy and the view," she said.
For the holidays, Mrs. Zachow has a special tree in the bedroom covered with ornaments for each of her grandchildren. Each guest bedroom has a theme. The first has a golf theme in honor of the game she and her husband love.
She selected a dramatic color for the walls - a bright Burgundy that contrasts sharply with the muted yellows and sand tones of the rest of the house. Mrs. Zachow hung golf photos and prints on the dark walls of the room, including one of her and Arnold Palmer.
In the second guest room, angels cover the bed, windows and walls. In the center of it all is a portrait of granddaughter Sarah, wearing angel wings on her back.
"This is her room; that's why it's an angel theme," said Mrs. Zachow, who selected the motif after baby Sarah nearly drowned in a swimming pool.
It was a miracle that she survived, so this is her room, Mrs. Zachow said.
More angels can be found throughout the home, including the ornate figures that grace the kitchen counter. Mrs. Zachow uses an angel theme on the main Christmas tree. And angels top two other Christmas trees in the house.
"Sharing the birth of Jesus and his love with others, that's what Christmas means," Mrs. Zachow said.
The third guest room is where Mrs. Zachow keeps much of her doll collection.
Downstairs is Mr. Zachow's favorite part of the house: a large recreation room that was not part of the original house plans. Because the house sits on a hill, there was much more extra space in the back than in the front.
"This would have been all crawl space," he said. "We're tickled to death with it."
Mr. Zachow has a 9-foot pool table in the center of the room. A Lionel train set and New England village are permanent fixtures in the room. And in one corner sits a large-screen TV.
For any member of the family who doesn't enjoy those amusements, the French doors that lead outside overlook a picturesque path down to Cannon Mill Lake.
"We thoroughly love this. I'd just as soon be here as somewhere in the mountains," Mrs. Zachow said.
Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org