Peacewood, Washington Tour of Homes – Part 2

Washington, GA – Peacewood.   Touring this home was a highlight of last weekend’s tour.  Sitting way back from the road it impresses visitors the minute you see it. I couldn’t wait to check this house out – and the current owners have done major restoration work for over a decade here.


Walking up to the house it has it all – white picket fence? Check!  Columns? Check!  History? Check!  And what’s interesting – it’s actually an older home built in the 1790s (on the right), and then the big antebellum addition dates to 1833.  It was the seat of a plantation and has a lot of the old outbuildings still standing.

Bunny, one of the awesome volunteers,  greeted me on the front porch and showed how much work had been done restoring the columns(she had on a bunny rabbit cardigan, perfect for Easter weekend!). The columns were rotting and from looking at the pictures, this was a major undertaking to restore.  We went in the central hall downstairs, where she showed me the older part of the house and the newer part of the house.

If you look to the doorway on the right, that’s the older part of the house – you can tell as the molding around the doors is different on the right side of the hall than the left side of the hall.

Central Hallway Peacewood

I couldn’t wait to get in this quintessential Old Georgia Home and check it out.  On the left you go into a formal parlor, and the dining room is behind it.

Peacewood Front Parlor

The dining room – that table is from an English Country Home, and was made around 1800.

Peacewood Dining Room

The kitchen was part of an extension to the home that had to be completely rebuilt.  Listening to the homeowners, it was apparent how much effort they have made to preserve this structure – and it needed so much work!  Check out this cabinet, they had to remove 9 layers of paint to get to the original wood.

Peacewood Pantry

I had to skip photos in a couple of rooms, as there were lots of folks in the house.  So no kitchen photo this time.  Time to head upstairs and check out a couple of bedrooms up here.

Peacewood Upstairs Hallway

Peacewood Bedroom

Peacewood has quite the pedigree – land originally owned by George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  The house is also known as Wingfield-Cade-Saunders house, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I went digging and found some pictures of Peacewood from 1936, when it was a working dairy farm.  The 3 photos below are from the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Peacewood  Front 1936

Peacewood Side 1936

Peacewood Outbuildings 1936

Interestingly, many of the outbuildings have been preserved and restored – you don’t often see that!

Peacewood Restored Outbuilding

And here’s the surrounding property – just beautiful! This is the view off the front porch.

Front Approach to Peacewood

There were southern belles at each of the homes on the tour.  During a quiet moment, I looked up and saw them walking in front of the house – and just looked like a picture of days gone by.

Peacewood Front View 2

Thanks for coming along on this tour of Peacewood – appreciate you reading the blog!




The Penna Home, Washington Spring Tour – Part 1

Washington, GA – Saturday was the Washington-Wilkes Tour of Homes, and I’ve got several great homes to share with you.  The first one – The Penna Home, will amaze you.

The annual spring tour is sponsored by the Woman’s Club, Kiwanis Club and Historical Foundation.  Amazing things happen when these groups join forces. They flat out know how to run an event!  Courtesy cars take you from house to house, so much easier than trying to find a place to park.  Or, if you’re like me, and “directionally challenged” you don’t end up going in circles.

When I walked up to the Penna Home, I wasn’t sure what style to call it. Turns out this is a simplified second Empire style.  And it is BIG.  Real estate ads will say “bigger than it looks” – and that’s true here – at nearly 5,000 square feet with 13  rooms, and a bunch of cool nooks and crannies.  You don’t find nooks and crannies in new houses.  It was built in 1884 for the grandson of General Robert Toombs.  Toombs was the Secretary of State of the Confederacy, and his home is a museum in town.  Small Town, Big History.

Penna Home

Ellon Penna, the homeowner, owns a design firm.  She and her late husband bought the house 13 years ago and then went through restoration and remodeling the house.

Ellon was graciously answering questions that folks had about the house when I walked in.  People were asking such smart questions. Meanwhile I was walking around saying profound things like “WOW!”.  Ceilings are really high, 14 feet I think .

So this is really 2 houses put together.  A smaller house was moved here (rolled on logs to get here – this was in the pre “wide load” truck days) and added on.  That’s how you get nearly 5,000 SF in here.  You walk into a large central hall, turn to the right, and WOW.


So you turn around in here and you’re looking into the dining room.

Parlor Dining View

I headed right on into the dining room (actually, there are several dining spaces in this house, you’ll see).  And another room behind it.  So many rooms in here – this is about the time I realized how big this house is!


Tables were all set.  Umm, this puts my dishwasher-oven-microwave safe stuff to shame.


Walking back into the middle of the house there’s a nice area for relaxing and watching some TV.  Nice and casual!

family room

Then you walk into the casual dining area.  Nearly got whiplash, I was so busy looking around at everything in here and taking it all in.  Ellon described it as all just “falling into place”.

dining 2

Nice spring theme going on here.

table 2 setting

Kept walking and ended up in the kitchen.  Like how bright it is in here with the skylights.

Penna Kitchen

Finally, a couple of the bedrooms.

Penna House 4


Penna 5

I wish I’d thought to take some pictures on the porch, it was so pretty – but there were lots of folks around when I was here.

Thanks so much for touring The Penna Home with me today!  Several more homes from the tour on the way.




Victorian Homes in Washington, Ga

Washington, GA – Hope everyone had a good Easter! Spent a fun day in Washington on Saturday for their Spring Tour of Homes.  And wow have I got some beautiful homes to share with you over the next few posts that were on the tour.

So often we think about the white-columned, antebellum old homes.  One thing I noticed on Saturday was the sheer variety of old homes in Washington.  Small Town, Big history!  Lots more on the home tours coming up, but wanted to share a few of the houses I saw in town.  I think I said “Amazing” more than I heard it on an episode of “The Bachelor” or “Bachelorette”.

Fun to see such a great variety of Victorian homes – from cottages to those that are just Big Old Georgia Homes!  As soon as I got my tour ticket, I immediately had to look at this house right next to Tour Headquarters. See the one story part in the back?  That’s the original 1850 cottage.  The rest was added in 1877.


I decided to walk to the first house on the tour, and here are a couple that I saw along the way.  The red house got my attention right off the bat.  I wanted to move in. Right. That. Minute.


Across the street I saw the mustard colored house, which just happens to be for sale.  It’s huge!


And some of the Victorian cottages right along the way.  Just love the look of them!




Now after seeing a few homes on the tour (and I promise you, there are several posts on these coming!) I walked down another street and spied this 1908 house.  Got some of that Victorian detailing going on.  And that wrap around porch!



This cottage just caught my eye too, it was built in 1886. Isn’t this one great too?


Washington (population about 4,000) has some big history – one of the original counties when the state of Georgia was formed, there’s a Revolutionary War battlefield nearby, 3 separate house museums, a LOT of antebellum homes and Civil War history.  And Southern hospitality galore!

Thanks for looking at some beautiful Victorian Homes, and I’m going through lots of inside pics from the home tour – posting those here soon!





Hey from the Hay House!

Macon, GA – Have I got a house for you!  It’s huge, it has a secret room, missing gold, and numerous people say it’s haunted.  Thought we’d head to Middle Georgia and go check out the Hay House, another property run by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. We are going on their behind the scenes tour that is offered once a month, which ends waaay up on top of the house outside that cupola.  This one took 5 years to build, and is considered Italian Renaissance Style.  Not your normal white columned mansion.  Believe me this is one big old mansion, with around 24 rooms and it’s a total of 3 stories!  Yes, really!  And this house has a secret room too.

And high tech (for it’s day) – they had a very early form of central heating, a 20,000 gallon water tank  in the attic that had spring water pumped into it.  That means running water!  In the 1850s! And let me tell you, it’s one opulent house too.

Of course it’s an unusual design for Georgia, especially at that time.  Turns out the original owners of the house, William and Ann Tracy Johnston had just returned from their honeymoon in Italy in the 1850s.  I’m sure however they got to Italy was more comfortable than economy seats on Delta, huh?  He was in several different businesses, banking and manufacturing – then during the Civil War he was in charge of the gold depository here.  It had over $15 million in gold at one point (wonder if it was in that hidden room?)


Front Doors


You get an idea how big this place walking up to the massive front doors.  They’re several inches thick and weigh over 500 lbs each – yet they are effortless  to open and close.  Things aren’t built like that these days!

left side

Luckily it was a beautiful morning when I toured this place.  You get an idea of how big it is with the side view.  The large stained glass window in the center is in the dining room.

Hay House Dining Room

So the dining room – check out that stained glass huh?  It’s an enormous room, as you can tell.  What surprised me in here?  The rug!  It’s not a rug!  It’s a painted cloth.  I haven’t seen that anywhere else that I’ve toured.  That Eastlake dining table with 14 chairs?  It’s original to the house.

The music room is 50 feet long as was recently restored.  The ceiling is 30 feet high in here.  Very opulent. The only thing I could relate to were the white floor fans.



Heading up the stairs another great stained glass window…and we’re really close to the secret room too!  So, this thing about folks saying it’s haunted.  First, really glad I didn’t read up on that until AFTER I went to the house.  People say they’ve seen an elderly lady in 1800s nightclothes roaming the hallways, felt cool spots in the house, and felt something breathing on their shoulder.  Had I experienced any of these, I promise y’all I would’ve run like the wind right out of this place!



Here’s where I can appreciate this is a house under restoration.  Once you get upstairs you can tell there’s still much more work to be done.  The bedrooms are nice enough, but a stark contrast from the fully restored first floor.  I think they have spent over $8 Million restoring this house so far.


So of course I was not really thinking much about going up to the octagonal cupola.  Looking down the winding staircase up there I started thinking “hey this is pretty high up here!”

cupola stairs


But once you get to the top and walk around outside, you are treated to phenomenal views of Macon!!!  Great panorama of the city.

Cupola View 1

Cupola View 2 More great views….


If you happen to be anywhere near Macon, this is a really interesting tour!  And an unusual style of home for the antebellum south.

Thanks so much for coming along to see the Hay House, I appreciate it!

May Patterson Goodrum House – Part 2

WP_20150311_088 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta – Alright, time to see more of this house!  And yes, the pic above is the back of the house, which kinda looks like the front of a house.  That’s how Shutze, the architect, built houses.  Another one he built just down the street is the Swan House, part of Atlanta History Center.  Same thing – is it the front or back of the house?

So I saved the most surprising downstairs room for y’all.  As we were touring, I heard someone ask in hushed tones “Are we going in the Menaboni Room?”.  Huh?  What’s a Menaboni room?  Picture me with a blank look.  But it turned out to be the biggest surprise on the tour.  It’s an octagonal breakfast room and you think you’re in a birdcage when you’re in it.



Of course this is not a large room and I try really hard not to get people in pictures on these tours, but look at these details in this room!  This is an old photo from when the house was staged…and looking in the kitchen you can see the old floor tile colors in there, those have been changed to original green color now.

WP_20150311_053That ceiling!  But wait, that’s not all!  Didn’t expect to see an elevator built into this room (think 1930s elevator, aka TINY!).  That door opens the elevator.



So who is Menaboni?  Think of him as Atlanta’s very own Audubon.  Athos Menaboni, an Italian immigrant, painted many, many birds in and around Atlanta.  He lived to be 90 and worked right up to the end!

From here we headed upstairs (this house has 5 bedrooms total).  As with many old homes, maximum detail and expense goes into the public rooms, so the floors are a different wood than the walnut floors on the first floor.  Impressive to see the original 1930s bathrooms (and hey, subway tile is back in a big way these days!).



The master bedroom is huge, but May Goodrum slept on the sleeping porch that was adjacent to it instead.  Here’s a look at the master bedroom.



See there’s some furniture in here?  The Watson Brown Foundation has been able to acquire quite a few of the original pieces of furniture in the house, so visitors will get to see what this place looked like in the 1930s.

Master bathroom:


The main landing upstairs had great arched doorways, this one is visible from the first floor too.


This place was originally a 5 acre parcel, though over the years a couple of acres have been sold.  Looking out in front, see all the boxwoods?



Well, here’s a funny story about the boxwoods out front.  In 1936, Mrs Goodrum had these planted in the shape of her initials.  Pretty cool idea huh?  She remarried in 1938 (and nope, he wasn’t a “G”, it was Francis Abreu) – and had the plants redone to reflect her updated initials!

The back gardens – I’d call this a bowling lawn – was really impressed by the curved walls, and at the very back, we’ll see the Watson Brown Foundation’s next big renovation here.



Yep – the pavilion is next up to renovate, and like most anything to do with an old house, nothing is ever as simple as it looks.  There are numerous city code requirements now on these things.


Standing in the back garden (oh you know it’s about to rain, don’t you?).



Last stop – a side garden and pond, that was set up as an outdoor theater back in the old days.


As we were wrapping up outside, the rain finally let loose in those huge raindrops that are the beginning of a 5 minute shower outside.  I think it lasted about as long as it took all of us to run back to our cars, which were parked off the property.  Got in the car, and voila, the rain stopped!  How does that happen like that?  Grrr!

Wrapping up the May Patterson Goodrum House – WOW.  It’s amazing that so much of the original detail in the house remained after years of benign neglect – like the mural in the dining room, the Menaboni painting, the original bath fixtures and things like that.  And while I promise you this is one big house, and has very formal spaces, it still feels comfortable inside.  Maybe it was not having furniture and paintings around everywhere, but all in all just an amazing property.  As I did my research and learned more about May Patterson Goodrum Abreu, it just reinforced how much that the people make a house a home.  Their stories are what makes history so interesting!

Thanks so much for coming along on this 2 part tour!  I appreciate you!