Photos Cinema Olvera
Charles and Annette Cook were not looking for a 100-year-old fixer-upper as they drove to church on a February Sunday a little over a year ago. The couple had spent nine years building and shaping their house in Emerson, Ga., and they finally felt they had completed the project.
And yet as they passed through the Old Town Historic District of Cartersville, there it stood: A slightly-tired, 1914 Craftsman style bungalow, painted a dismal off-gray color. A for sale sign in the front yard caught their eye.
“I said, ‘that’s a cute house. It’s an ugly color, but it’s a cute house,’” laughs Annette. “We started looking at what it could be…so between Sunday and Wednesday, we had a house!”
With the purchase of this property, the Cooks knew they were in for another project but they were up for the challenge. “Charles brought construction and physical vision to the renovation project, and I brought a love of art and unleashed creativity. It was a marriage of the best of all possibilities,” explains Annette.
“I was retiring and Annette said I needed something to do!” jokes Charles.
But with such a big undertaking, the Cooks also knew they were going to need professional help, and that is why they called upon contractor Jeff Glover and designer Carol Youd, Lead Designer for Furniture of Dalton.
Youd was a part of the restoration process from the beginning, bringing her decades’ worth of design expertise to the table, as well as her eye for merging the historic with the contemporary. “I love to express my client’s total taste and design,” says Youd. “The home is definitely eclectic; different styles, different time periods; but it all works together beautifully.”
Thankfully, Youd’s ability as a designer goes far beyond mere decoration. She was able to help the Cooks imagine a full reconstruction of their bungalow to make it more updated and functional.
“We added about eight feet onto the kitchen…which allowed us to put in a proper laundry room and a usable kitchen,” explains Charles. “Over the years, there had been some renovation done. An upstairs addition was added back in the early 2000s. [But] there were wiring issues.” This prompted the entire re-wiring of the house, so that the Cooks could feel at ease and safe.
Overall, the structure of the house is very sound. And with 104 years of history within its walls, the house had some surprises in store for its new owners.
“They started taking down some of the walls to achieve the addition, and when they began the demolition process, they started peeling off what was under the paint…and there was all this old wallpaper,” shares Annette. “And there were several layers to it, so I put some of that together for a collage just to keep the integrity of the old part of the house.”
Another special find includes an old newspaper tucked away inside a wall. “We found an intact 1925 Atlanta Journal. It was an entertainment section, which made it a wonderful find. So, I’m including that in the collage,” says Annette.
“But I think the most spectacular find of all was in the master bedroom. When we got the house, there was a hole in the wall that…you would just think a photograph had been hanging. So I tried to look into that hole, but I couldn’t see anything…then I got a coat hanger and when I stuck it in there, I could feel that it went far back, and that it was hard, like brick. So we had the contractor take the wall down, and it was a fireplace. So it is the original 1914 bricks, with a hearth and the face of the chimney showing.”
Both Annette and Charles love that this piece of history can serve as the focal point of the master bedroom.
While keeping with the old, the Cooks are also excited to add their own personalities to the home. “In the half bath, we bought an old chest from someone in Rome, and I put it back together from pieces,” says Charles, who is a craftsman. “And we put a vessel sink on top of it and painted it an orange color,” he says, explaining how he built the custom vanity.
Annette is an artist, who enjoys everything from folk to modern art. She made a beautiful stained-glass for one of the interior doors and is also in the process of selecting different pieces of art, including her own and her father’s photography, to be featured in the house. “That’s where Carol came in. She’s been able to help me blend [different styles]. She’s given me a lot of advice about things I would have never thought of.”
“It has been so wonderful to work with people who are not only talented in their own right, but are willing to look at different types of interior design and have open horizons, as far as what they’re able to put into the house and be open minded,” smiles Youd. “And so that’s been great fun.”
The drab exterior gray is no more. A new exterior color, selected by Youd, is the perfect outward expression of love for the old and new. Though the bluish hue is a “historic color,” says Annette, “it seems vibrant against the accented pure white trim.”
With the pristine landscaping provided by Watters & Associates Landscape from Rome, the Cooks are finally ready to settle into their historic home that is brimming with new beginnings. And they could not be happier to be a part of the Old Town neighborhood.
“We love Cartersville for a lot of reasons. It feels like a small town, and it has every advantage of that. To be able to walk to church, to go into town, take our dogs for a walk all under the big trees makes us feel that everything we need is right in Cartersville.”
Carol Youd is the Lead Designer in the Interior Design Studio at Furniture of Dalton. For Carol Youd’s Design Services, please call her at 770-876-293. To reach Jeff Glover who is the contractor for this project visit www.jcgllcgc.com.