Log in Newsletter

Cottage Charm

When Debbie and Terry Williams bought their house in the heart of Haymount in 2004, they did not intend for it to be their permanent home. They had been living at Woodlake and were tired of the 28-mile drive each way to their business, Williams Printing and Office Supply, on Bragg Boulevard.

“We were just looking for the closest house to work,” said Debbie.

It happened to be a house on Forest Road that had recently gone on the market. It was an attractive, well-maintained home with a nice yard, but more important to them, it was convenient to their company. A three-bedroom, two-bath house built in 1948, it would be fine until they could build, they thought. Plans for their future home already had been drawn.

The couple had a warm connection to the Forest Road house. Terry had been a friend since childhood of Johnny Barbour, whose mother, Mrs. Eris Barbour, owned the house. In fact, Terry had helped his friend and his family move into the house.

“Little did Terry know that 25 years later he would be moving into the house himself,” said Debbie.

“We thought the neighborhood was charming and unique,” she said. “Each house has its own character. …We liked the people and the warmness of the neighbors, and I was impressed with how well-kept the yards were.”

The decision was made to renovate and stay. And Debbie knew exactly the look she wanted to achieve.

“Once we got started with the work and saw the potential, I wanted to transform it into a little cottage – I liked a cottage character.”

From approximately 1800 square feet, the house has been expanded to 2250 square feet with the addition blending so well that it seems to always have been a part of the house.

Debbie did the design herself, drawing it out on grid paper. Charlie Averitte, who has done a number of renovations in the Haymount neighborhood, was hired to do the work. Averitte is known for his attention to detail and fine workmanship, Debbie said, and brought some good ideas to the project.

Basic updates included new wiring and double-pane windows throughout the house. Carpet was removed to reveal beautiful hardwood floors, which were refinished and are a perfect blend with the new flooring.

In the original part of the house, crown molding was applied around the ceilings of the living and dining rooms, and the high baseboards were replaced with replicas of the original. In the living room, fluted trim was added around the fireplace, and matching trim was used to frame the wide doorway into the dining room.

The floor plan is open with an easy flow from the living room through the dining room into the kitchen, which opens into the space Debbie calls the “keeping room.” It is part of the addition.

Debbie had pored over magazines and saved pictures of rooms and furnishings that she liked in designing and furnishing the house. She also had help from designer Wanda Cockrell of The Stedman House in planning the décor. Throughout the house, old family pieces are used with new pieces for the cottage feeling that Debbie wanted.

“I wanted everything to be warm and cozy,” she said.

The living room and formal dining room are painted in Navaho white, a shade or two darker than the woodwork. Plantation shutters are used at the windows. Oriental rugs in a blend of wool and silk accent the polished oak floors. A focal point in the dining room is the crystal chandelier.

The kitchen, opened up and expanded, reflects the owners’ love of cooking. A professional-grade Viking stainless steel stovetop, which has a matching hood, rests on a custom-made base stained in cinnamon, a striking contrast to the antique white cabinets and a complement to the granite countertop. Double ovens stand where there was once a chimney. Appliances are stainless steel, and glass pulls are used on the cabinets. Glass doors on the upper cabinets add to the open feel of the space.

The couple enjoys dining at the breakfast table in the sun-filled keeping room, which has a French country air. It also includes a small sitting area, where the couple’s two pet miniature Doberman pinschers, Jesse and Ruby, like to lounge. The keeping room opens to a small screened-in porch. Beyond that is a deck where French doors lead from the master bedroom.

The large master suite encompasses part original house, part addition. It includes a walk-in closet and spacious bathroom.

Two of the original bedrooms are used as “his and her” dens. The guest bedroom bespeaks cottage charm with its pink and white décor, antique lamps and prints. The guest bathroom is part of the original space but has been updated.

On the exterior of the house, Hardie board siding has replaced the original Masonite siding and is painted in a custom-mixed shade of khaki. Debbie copied it from a house she had admired in Pinehurst. She describes her front door as craftsman style, made of oak with beveled glass inserts.

Behind the house is a structure that serves a three-fold purpose: carport, air-conditioned crafts and storage room, and covered patio where Debbie and Terry enjoy cook-outs and entertaining. Here, Debbie – a self-described country girl – freezes and cans vegetables. On this day, it was dozens of jars of green beans. The area is equipped with sinks and refrigerators. Lattice trim and decorative woodwork on the structure keep it from having a utilitarian appearance.

It is the yard that adds the final cottage charm to the Williams home. While the front yard is more formal with its green lawn and plants, the back yard is filled with flowers, yard ornaments, bird houses and the sound of water trickling in fountains. Fragrant roses line the driveway. Terry and Debbie both enjoy gardening and planted most of the flowers and pots, but had help from J.F. Dunn in the landscaping. There are pleasant reminders of the former owners in the irises that come up in the springtime and a deep pink crepe myrtle blooming near the back deck.

For Terry and Debbie Williams, the house intended to be only a temporary residence is now home. Permanently.