By Marla Caligaris • Photos by R. Caligaris
One would never guess that Betty and Gary Griffin’s two story Tudor hadn’t always been there. However, it’s brand new. In December of 2008, the family home, which was built in 1951 by Betty’s father T. Hicks Fort, was torn down, and the present day home was finished in time for the holiday the family loves the best—Christmas. The original home was bought by Gary and Betty from her father in 1973, and they have lived there ever since. The couple raised their children there and welcomed seven grandchildren. As the family expanded, the old house just didn’t work well for them anymore. Her sister Barbara, her husband Bobo and their two boys moved next door in 1977 and they became a crowd as everyone married and had children. They considered adding on to the house, but it still would have been an “old” house with new areas.
They never really considered moving away from this neighborhood because this was home. It was the anchor for the whole family. They loved being in the middle of the schools they went to and their children and grandchildren attended. They loved being within a stone’s throw of their children and their families. Fortunately, their youngest daughter, Christy, married architect Will Barnes, and because of that, they knew that a tear down and rebuild was a very viable option. The family worked with Will for over a year. He knew she loved the house her grandfather had built in the 1920’s, and Will designed the perfect exterior. Betty adds, “He designed some pretty good interiors, but none of them passed the ‘let your fingers do the walking test’ on the plans. So he just put all the rooms back where they were in the first place, except that the other three bedrooms are upstairs now.” svm
The well-decorated living room serves as a stage for good friends and lively conversation while gazing out to the pond. Work by local artists Teil Duncan, Helen Olnick and Alice Douglas punctuate the room with bursts of color. An iron table from Scotts in Atlanta cozies up to an elegant but comfortable sofa from Hinson Galleries. Other textures such as eyelash fabric on the club chairs, granite surrounding the firepace from MegaGranite, hardwood floors from The Floorman, and the wool area rug from Flooring and More round off this inviting space.
The library is the heart of Gary and Betty’s home. It is where they come to read, talk, watch TV or play games. The antique mantelpiece was restored by their son-in-law Wade White and the bookshelves which were custom-built by Andy Hall were stained to match it. If refreshments are needed, there is a bar in the corner that features a black granite from Countertop Solutions. The grass cloth on the wall from Warner Paint and Decorating and an oriental rug tie everything together.
The Griffins prefer traditional elements with a bit of surprise, so they updated what might be expected in such a room. The upholstered slipper chairs surrounding an expandable mahogany table over a Turkish Oushak rug set the stage for special family meals. A Veteran oil by Bruno Zupan is displayed prominently over the antique buffet. The china cabinet in the corner was a piece from the original home.
The kitchen is the hub of the house and the large island provides plenty of work and storage space. Son-in-law Wade White crafted the mahogany island using reclaimed lumber and inlaid wood. It is a beautiful “Old World piece” in an otherwise traditional kitchen. Andy Hall crafted the cabinetry, which gives the appliances from Ferguson’s a custom-built-in look. To ground the room, black granite countertops from MegaGranite are set against classic white subway tile.
Adjoining the kitchen is the breakfast room with a mahogany farm table, reproduction Windsor chairs, and a Heriz oriental rug. The back wall features local artists such as Eddie Norris, Sally Bradley, Bruno Zupan and Betty’s own sister, Barbara Morgan. All the artwork was framed by G&H.
A view from the covered porch overlooking the pond offers unobstructed views of the well-manicured gardens. The pond was designed and built by Jason Taft and is maintained by Lonnie Ward of Pond Keepers. Gary and Betty were especially happy with the way the backyard turned out, thanks to Pete Page. He was able to create a landscape plain incorporating the new pond with the mature plantings that were a special part of the former home.
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