Ken Patisaul remembers his Aunt Maggie McPherson and the place she lived, Korea, seemed a long way off from his boyhood homes in North Carolina and Augusta.
But each Christmas a package arrived for him with a piece of Oriental pottery or brass. After he married, he and his wife, Barbara, received more pieces. Their collection swelled when another aunt passed on her "Maggie" collection to them.
Items include earth-tone batik drawings, cups, vases, plates and other pieces, about 90 percent from Korea, he said. Some pieces are 3,000 years old.
One cup - very thin, dark and unglazed - rests on a coffee table in the great room of their Martinez home. "It is common man's pottery," Mrs. Patisaul said.
Other items were used by emperors. The dynasty pieces surfaced in the post-World War II years when it wasn't expensive for his aunt to collect them, said Mr. Patisaul, national sales and marketing director for Powergroup International.
The Patisauls' fondness for collecting antiques is evident in the three-bedroom, three-bath home they purchased about eight years ago in Watervale subdivision. The 2,500-square-foot house is about 20 years old.
Mrs. Patisaul, the youngest in her family, missed out on most of her family's hand-me-downs, but her husband "was lucky to inherit some really beautiful pieces," she said.
Several came from a Mebane, N.C., dairy farm the McPherson family once owned.
One primitive table in the entry hall works as a bench when the tabletop is tilted on its side and secured with wooden pegs, exposing a box-like base. The base doubles as a seat and storage.
The table likely dates from pioneer days when household furniture had to be collapsible to travel in wagons, she said. "You could store most anything you wanted ... pots and pans and things of that nature. You can just imagine a one-room cabin with three little pieces of furniture that came on the wagon from one place to another."
The wooden chairs that came with the table also are joined with wooden pegs, a testimony to their age. The chairs now are in the kitchen, grouped around a heart-pine farm table the Patisauls found in Dublin, Ga.
Shopping in antiques stores "is one of the things we really love to do" together, she said.
They also share an appreciation for architectural styles from bygone eras. Mr. Patisaul recently paneled the walls and ceiling of the bath off the master bedroom with 1-by-4s. A coat of eggshell-tinted paint gave the paneling the look he remembers in his grandmother's bathroom, he said.
They installed a ventless gas log fireplace in the master bedroom. While the fireplace can warm the upstairs, a stove in the kitchen can do the same for downstairs.
The owners carried out a retro theme from the 1950s in their kitchen, with apple-green walls, white cabinets and black-and-white tiles on the floor. A bushel basket of cotton is stored below the worktable.
"We like our creature comforts as well, the microwave ... grills ... the dishwasher - especially the dishwasher," she said.
THE FAMILY: Ken and Barbara Patisaul
THE HOME: A saltbox in Martinez's Watervale subdivision
THE BASICS: 3 bedrooms and 3 baths
IT'S A FACT: Some Oriental art pieces in the Patisauls' collection are 3,000 years old.
Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or email@example.com.