Originally created 02/23/03

Home reflects teacher's love for painting and antiques



During breaks from painting florals or landscapes in her second-story studio, Sue Powell can look out to the tree-lined street below.

The "little square house" she bought last summer in the Summerville community had everything she wanted: An older home with a silvery-gray tin roof, space for a studio and big windows that let in light.

"The first day I walked in, it was bright," Ms. Powell said.

Though the 1,960-square-foot, two-bedroom house was built in 1913, previous owners had added 21/2 baths and a laundry room. They also gave it new wiring and plumbing, tore out plaster walls and installed drywall. It was "done the way I would have done it," she said. "That is why it was just so charming to me."

The former owners' paint choices in golds, creams and blues also agreed with her, so she was able to move right in.

Orange-colored Mexican tile warms up the kitchen floor, and original heart pine flooring adds a mellow red to the rest of the house. The original windows, some with wavy panes, also remain, covered by wide-slatted, wooden blinds.

A self-taught artist, Ms. Powell studied and read extensively about painting before walking into an art supply store some 10 years ago and buying her first paints and brushes. She found a painting to copy, "and I just did it," said Ms. Powell, a social studies teacher at Columbia County's Crossroads Alternative School. "All of a sudden, it came together. It was just thrilling."

Her copies hang throughout the house. She favors works of Impressionists such as Monet and Renoir, and contemporary artists such as Ray Ellis, whose depictions of the environs of Savannah, Ga., bring back memories of her childhood.

"That is another thing I liked about this house," she said. "It reminded me of a house in Savannah."

Her hometown is also represented in an original oil of hers now hanging above an antique English pie table in the kitchen. The painting, based on a photograph she snapped on her way to the coast, is in an old frame she found while scouting out antiques.

A collection of platters and tureens in creamy white are tucked above the white kitchen cabinets. The collection was assembled over several years, and pieces were purchased in shops and at fairs in Europe and Georgia.

In the dining room, silver teapots are displayed on a buffet from her grandmother's house in Savannah. Inlay veneer enhances the dining room's 19th-century cellarette -- a table with drawers deep enough to accommodate wine bottles upright.

Her favorite spot is the living room. An antique hutch with burled veneer and leaded glass doors holds platters in the Blue Willow pattern. Ms. Powell uses them every chance she gets.

Ms. Powell likes the look of toile fabrics, such as the red on a couch in the family room and a duvet cover in the master bedroom, which is painted a soft teal. A footed tub stands on black and white tile in the bath adjacent to the master bedroom.

A diminutive 19th-century French manikin with a bustle was a find in a European flea market. Ms. Powell has adorned it with old broaches and pins and has it displayed in the bedroom.

The second bedroom, large enough to accommodate two double beds, is for guests. The walls are gold. An antique oak mantel frames the fireplace, one of four in the house.

Free-form flowerbeds lead to a small backyard patio. Each bed is edged with a single row of fist-size rocks. A potting shed stands a short distance away.

"Somebody who lived here before was a good gardener," said Ms. Powell, who wants to put in flowers this spring. "I'm going to try to get with it."

AT HOME WITH . . .

THE OWNER: Sue Powell

THE HOME: A 1913 cottage in The Hill area; 1,960 square feet, two bedrooms, 21/2 baths

IT'S A FACT: Ms. Powell wanted a house to express her hobbies, painting and antiques collecting.

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