Originally created 09/08/02

Built with love



The steep street on a large hill off Sybil Lever's driveway would deter most new home buyers.

But for Mrs. Lever and her husband, the late Charles Lever Jr., the house in Bedford Heights subdivision off Washington Road felt just like home.

"The hills remind me of the (hills) back home where I'm from in Athens, Ga.," Mrs. Lever said. "I just knew this was it."

But that didn't mean that they were completely satisfied with the five-room house.

Almost from the day in the mid-1950s when they moved in, the Levers began the transformation. It began with the addition of a room on the front of the house, which is now used as a bedroom when Mrs. Lever's granddaughter visits.

The next project was knocking down walls in the living room to create an arched entrance to the dining room. A mantel-to-ceiling mirror was added over the fireplace to make the room seem larger. A sun porch was added off to the side of the room and Mr. Lever crafted iron railing to give it a more formal look.

"I did all the decorating myself," Mrs. Lever said. "In the kitchen, because it's so small I thought that the wood paneling and white appliances would make it seem larger."

The master bedroom, a recent addition, is easily accessible from the stairs leading from the U-shaped den that the Levers converted from their daughter's bedroom.

"I asked (the builders) which way was cheaper, up or down," Mrs. Lever said. "They said down and I told them to start digging."

The small, dark space that was the laundry room was turned into a breakfast nook when walls were torn down and sliding glass doors were added. The space has a spectacular view of the gated courtyard beside the house. The washer and dryer were moved to the garage.

"We are outside people," Mrs. Lever said. "We really tried to bring the outdoors in. I spend a lot of time in the (breakfast nook)."

Floral patterns in the bedroom, flower arrangements and little touches throughout the house, including a makeshift birdbath in the kitchen, keep the outdoors in.

But even though her house includes touches of nature, Mrs. Lever's favorite part of the house is outside.

She loves the courtyard, which includes several statues from the couple's travels, a stone waterfall and an iron gate that her late husband crafted. She also enjoys sitting in the swing in the front of the house.

"I'm telling you this whole house was built with love," she said. "We would travel around and when we would come home we would sit in that swing and I would tell (my husband) there's no place like home."

AT HOME WITH ...

OWNER: Sybil Lever

LOCATION: Bedford Heights, off Washington Road

AGE AND STYLE: The Levers bought the house in the mid-'50s and renovations lasted until Mr. Lever's death two years ago

THE ESSENTIALS: The house was transformed from five rooms to eight and a gated courtyard was added on the side of the house

WHY THIS HOUSE? The rolling hills of the neighborhood reminded Mrs. Lever of her home in Athens, Ga.

Reach Jennifer Hilliard at (706) 823-3223 or jennifer.hilliard@augustachronicle.com.