Renovation project ends up wrecking Dooley's Athens home

Richard Hamm/ Morris News Service
Most of Vince and Barbara Dooley's Athens home had to be demolished after asbestos, mold and other problems turned up during a basic remodeling project. The couple plan to rebuild and are living in their pool house for now.

ATHENS, Ga. -- People driving by Vince and Barbara Dooley's home in Athens are doing double-takes these days.

A basic home renovation that the Dooleys started this fall got more complicated than planned and forced the couple to demolish most of their house so they can rebuild it.

Vince Dooley, the former University of Georgia head football coach and athletic director, and Barbara Dooley, a radio talk show host, author and public speaker, have been living in their pool house behind the main brick structure since the project began.

Rubble now is piled between the two wings of the house that workers were able to save, but the Dooleys' contractor had to level the white-pillared center portion of their home - a job that wasn't part of the original plan.

"(The main house) is gone, and it looks like a bomb hit," Barbara Dooley said. "We started a remodeling project about a month ago, but it has turned into a major demolition and renovation because once the work started, they began discovering the little secrets of a 1950s house."

Those "little secrets" included asbestos in the walls and mold, which compelled the Dooleys to raze the house and start over.

The wings - additions built in the mid- to late-1990s - don't have the same problems and were saved, Barbara Dooley said.

The remodeling was going to involve the entire house, but tearing down the main portion and rebuilding it turned out to be cheaper than trying to renovate it, she said.

The gaping space on the home site - the location of the Dooleys' home is well-known in and around Athens - has generated a big buzz in the community.

"It's caused a lot of conversation around the town," Dooley said.

Her husband joked that a "disgruntled UGA alumnus had finally found him," she said.

The Dooleys expect work to finish up next spring. In the meantime, they plan to enjoy a cozy Christmas in the pool house - or "the honeymoon cottage," as Dooley affectionately calls

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