Christmas Tour of Historic Homes

Barksdale Thomas Wagner House

Washington, GA – Wilkes County.  Last weekend was the Christmas Tour of Homes in Washington, which is run by the Washington-Wilkes Historical Foundation.   They know how to do a tour of homes in Washington!  There are several homes from their Spring Tour of Homes I’ve put at the end of this post.  Always enjoy seeing how people decorate their homes for Christmas.

One of the most popular posts of the year on the blog is from Washington, Victorian Homes in Washington.

Time to Tour!

This is the Barksdale-Thomas-Wagner House, which was originally built back in 1838 in more of a saltbox style, a simple 4 over 4 room house.  The house was remodeled first into a Victorian style around 1900, then into the Greek Revival that we see today back in 1909.  It stayed in the same family until 2005!

There are double front parlors in the house, originally thought to have a ladies parlor, and a mens parlor.  I enjoyed learning about some of the old family pieces, and seeing some of the old family portraits on the left side over the desk.

Living Room 1

Another view of the parlor, looking into the dining room.

Living Room 2

The rooms are large with high ceilings, and walking in the dining room gives a sense of how big this home is.  That wallpaper?  It’s actually from the 1950s, and they decided to keep it.  Goes with the vintage feel of the home.  Big dining room table all set for Christmas!  The bay window and side porch were part of the earlier remodeling in this home.

Dining Room 2

Here’s another view of the dining room, looking back into the center hall of the house.

Dining Room 1

The master bedroom is downstairs as well, and has a door onto one of the side porches.  It’s actually the old big window with a door frame at the bottom (I know there’s a technical term, but I can’t remember it!).  One thing I love about old homes – fireplaces in all the rooms!

Master Bedroom

Heading back to the center hall…the red, white, and blue Christmas tree!  Just beyond the doorway is where a previous owner, an avid gardener, did a lot of potting.  They restored the original sink in this area.  This home is known for its gardens.


Heading upstairs there are 4 additional bedrooms. The big center hallway and landing is below.

Upstairs Landing

All in all, this is one amazing home.  And some really interesting vintage Christmas decorations.  These below are from the 1950s, and still have their 15 cent price tags on them!

Vintage Ornaments

Outside, there are several great outbuildings – the original well and carriage house are still on the property.  And old spring house has been moved to the property and is used as a playhouse!

Here’s another view of the front of the house – you can see the cobalt blue glass around the front door.  With the sun streaming in while I was there, amazing to see them from inside this home (and naturally, I forgot to take a picture of that inside!).

Front Wagner House

Christmas Tour of Historic Homes is an annual event in Washington, and a great way to spend the day.  They even have a dinner and tour more homes in the evening.  Washington is a small town with big history, and I look forward to Spring Tour of Homes there.  If you missed the tour this year, here are some of the homes that were featured on the blog (just click on the name and it will take you to that post):

Peacewood Plantation – Washington, GA

Petersilie Home – Washington, GA

Penna Home – Washington, GA

As always, thanks so much for coming on the Christmas Tour of Historic Homes, and taking time to read the blog.  Merry Christmas!  Appreciate your interest in Old Georgia Homes!







Victorian House Tour – The Wrens Nest

Wrens Nest Front View

Historic West End, Atlanta – Fulton County.  I always enjoy Victorian homes, and had the chance to visit The Wren’s Nest – the long time home of Joel Chandler Harris, who is best known as the author of the Uncle Remus children’s stories (Br’er Rabbit!).  Now a house museum, this home has been preserved in the early 1900s.  Many original pieces remain, which always makes for an interesting visit.  Jeri was my tour guide here, and she is one of those gifted guides who can bring a house to life as you walk through it.

The Historic West End in Atlanta was not even a part of Atlanta than when the family moved to this 5 acre farm around 1880.  It was a rural area, and one of the first integrated areas around Atlanta.  The Harris family had 9 children (6 survived to adulthood), and the property was originally known as Snap Bean Farm.  While I knew about the children’s stories, it was fascinating to learn about the family and the history in this home.


Front Porch

First off, the front porch!  Loved the Victorian details on it.  Joel Chandler Harris often did his writing out on the porch.  Granted, it was much quieter in the 1800s without cars driving by and planes flying overhead.  After admiring the porch, I was ready to go in and see this place!

Front Room

The photo above shows an editor’s desk from The Atlanta Constitution (he worked there for 24 years), but over the mantle – that’s how the house got it’s name. The Wren’s Nest.  That’s the old mailbox up on the left of the mantle, and around 1900 wrens were building a nest in there, and the house became known as The Wren’s Nest.  There’s a replica of it on the front porch and sure enough, wrens have built a nest in it too!  The kids put up a second mailbox so the birds would not be disturbed.

The living room is probably the most grand room in the house, with 6 stained glass windows in it.  I loved seeing it decorated for Christmas, and those wreathes in the windows.  What a great room.  You get a sense too of how Victorian this house is inside.  Wallpapers in every room, etc.  The chandeliers are what I call “duel fuel” – they have a couple of electrified lights, and then a couple of gas lights all on the same fixture.

Living Room

This is the family room, with many family photos.  One thing I learned, Joel Chandler Harris was friends with Theodore Roosevelt and went to the White House.  And the house has been in a movie!  Walt Disney filmed “Song of the South” there in 1946.

Family Room

The large center hall in the house contains some of the family’s books.  Who knew that Br’er Rabbit had been published in 29 languages?  I stopped to look at this piano, the candles on it caught my attention.  Then again, you’d need them in the pre-electricity days!


This bedroom is known as the girls’ room.  They used the window to the left of the bed to walk out on the wraparound porch in order to get to the outhouse!

Girls room

The Joel Chandler Harris bedroom has been left exactly as it was when he passed away in 1908.  This was one of the stipulations of the house being turned into a museum, and there’s no entry into this bedroom.  He did not like the addition of the bathroom to the house, and preferred the outhouse!  The crib was used by several generations of the family.  Neat to see a 1908 time capsule of a room!

Joel Chandler Harris Bedroom

The dining room was an addition to the house.  See that big table and chairs?  They’re from Sears, and originally purchased for $25.  Yes, $25!

dining room

The oil cloth floor covering in the dining room – I’ve only seen one other one in my house tours so far.  This was a popular type floor covering in the 19th century.

Oil Cloth Floor Cover

The Wren’s Nest is a great opportunity to learn more about Joel Chandler Harris, and to get a look inside a Victorian house.  It’s open Tuesday thru Saturday, and there’s children’s storytelling on Saturdays.

Thanks so much for coming along on the tour, I really appreciate your reading the blog!














Christmas at Callanwolde House Tour


Atlanta, GA –  Christmas at Callanwolde a holiday tradition, what a place to tour each year.  The house – mansion – is huge, about 27,000 square feet.  There are a total of 24 rooms in here.  Each year, Christmas at Callanwolde has a different designer do each of the main rooms in the house.  It’s always jaw-dropping to see what they come up with.  The Candler Family (founders of Coca-Cola) built Callanwolde in 1920.  They lived in the house until 1959.  Luckily this home was saved in the ’70s and is now home to the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.

As often with pictures, it’s hard to get a sense of how large the rooms are in here.  I will just say this – when I got back home from here, my house felt like a shoebox!  Started out first in the dining room.

Dining Room

You can see the big tree out in the great hall of the house through the doorway.  One thing I found interesting in here, the fireplace.  Being a Carrera marble fireplace it was never actually used! It’s really just decorative.


Walking through the formal rooms downstairs, fun to see how differently each designer approached their room.  The fresh greenery in here smelled fantastic.  Found out the designer had been up on a ladder putting new greenery in the chandelier that very morning.


Out in the grand hall, the huge Christmas tree….and I couldn’t get a decent picture of it!  But looking closely at it, you know it’s the Candler family, aka a Coca-Cola tree.  And those cans on here are practically the 12 oz size!

Candler Coca Cola Tree

Continuing on in the downstairs, another grand room – the music room!


The family dining room was one room that felt “normal” sized in this super sized home.  I had a chance to chat with Beth Kiel, who designed this room. Got tickled and had  take a picture of this on the sideboard, apparently folks were eating the candy.  OK, I totally would have grabbed a Hershey’s Kiss! There’s no decorative candy in our house!



The original billiard room of Callanwolde was more of a family space, and it was decorated in a contemporary style. There are built in cabinets on both sides of the fireplace, which originally held the cue sticks!

Billard Room

Another neat feature in the house is the Aeolian organ.  Original to the house, it cost almost $50,000 back in 1920.  It’s pretty amazing to think the house was built with the pipes to this organ all through the house.  3,742 pipes were built into the walls of the mansion when it was first built.

Aeolian Organ

Heading to the grand staircase in this house, you get a feel for how big it is in here.

Grand Staircase

And the ceiling over the staircase gives you an idea that no expense was spared building Callanwolde.

Ceiling over staircase

Upstairs there are a total of 7 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms.  A couple have been decorated this year, and walking into the master bedroom saw a very up to date room.

Master bedroom

The original master bathroom is intact in this house (what a rarity).  Pretty swank for 1920! I still can’t figure out what that little sink is for, and I know I’ve been told every year.

Master bath

There are still 12 acres with the property, and there are formal, terraced gardens that are beautiful any time of year.  The original tennis court has now become an amphitheater outside.  Quite a fantastic property.


Funny to think this home is sitting on busy Briarcliff Road in Atlanta, yet you drive down the long driveway and feel as if you are in the country.  Thanks so much for taking this tour with me, really appreciate it!

Candler Family Crest





Inside A Big Druid Hills House

Druid Hills Neighborhood, Atlanta – I’ve always been curious about this house, I drive by it daily and have been watching the renovation for ages.  So when I saw the “open house” sign last Sunday, just had to check it out.   The realtor, Hal Freeman, provided me with some fun facts about the house and family.  Thanks Hal!

This is the Hagan family home, built in 1920.  This  7,000 square foot hilltop home has an acre lot.  After touring a big Druid Hills House like this, you feel like your own home is a shoebox!

This house was designed by a native Atlantan (yes, there are a few of us!) architect, Arthur Neal Robinson.  He graduated from UGA (Go Dawgs!). Not as well known as other architects, but did some really interesting work.  He was the primary architect for the City of Avondale Estates, a planned community  he designed in the 1920s based on Stratford-On-Avon with Tudor style businesses and homes.  His own house is next door to the one we are touring today.

I wasn't sure what style of house to call this.
This is one Big Druid Hills House!

Walking up to this house, wasn’t sure what style to call it.  Kinda Mediterranean, kinda Renaissance or Moorish or something?  These styles were popular in the 1920s, and it’s fun to see a one-of-a-kind house. It was purchased a couple of years ago and added on to, but you can’t tell that from the street.  And I like how the builder treated this house – preserving the original details, and the addition to the house feels right in here.

As soon as you walk in, you’re in the living room – it’s much too big to just be called a foyer.  Even though the house isn’t furnished, I liked that because I could get a sense of all the details in here and how well it had been restored.

Living Room

The living room is open to the library.  The fireplace in here is enormous, and love all the French doors.  I think there’s 11 pair of these throughout the first floor of this house.


Next you are in the solarium, conservatory or something – I just think it would be the best room to hang out in here.

From Real Estate Listing
From Real Estate Listing
Calling it a Sun Room - love these windows!
Calling it a Sun Room – love these windows!

Now we’ll head on into the dining room. Using the listing photo as it turned out much better than the one I took with my phone!

Dining Room (from listing)
Dining Room (from listing)

The kitchen is just huge and you can tell you are in a modern build at this point.  But wow, what a kitchen!  It’s a little blurry photo, but I was trying to take pics when no one was in here.  And this is a room you want to hang out in!


Now I mentioned this home was built for Lee Hagan and family.  He founded Red Rock Cola, which was pretty popular through about the 1950s or so.  It’s still produced, and I think you can get it at Fresh Market.

Found on eBay
Found on eBay

Another interesting thing I learned about the Hagan family.  The son was an owner of the Pig’n Whistle Restaurant – as soon as I heard this it triggered a memory!  My grandparents used to go on dates there back in the late 1930s!  My grandmother (who will tell all of you she is 92!) talks about going to the Pig’n Whistle and then going to the Fox Theatre when they’d go on dates.  And how they’d do all of this for $5.  I did a little digging online, and found this 1947 menu on eBay.  Look at those prices!

Picture from eBay
Picture from eBay

OK, so back to our house tour….heading upstairs, I was so impressed that they saved and restored the original doors, windows, and hardware.  Those are the details that give old homes so much character.  The sleeping porch was converted into a bathroom for one of the 5 bedrooms upstairs.

1 of 5 bedrooms
1 of 5 bedrooms
Original Doors & Windows Preserved
Original Doors & Windows Preserved

Vintage Hardware

The master suite is in the new addition to the house…that’s a pretty cool master bath – love that tub!

Master Bath
Master Bath

This rooftop terrace – now this just looks like it would be great to hang out here on those crisp fall nights.


There are some great outside spaces around the house, using another listing photo to show this area downstairs.

Cool outside area
Cool outside area

This is one special home…and I know the question already.  How much is this listed for?  It’s $3.4 Million!  Maybe if we all went in on it together???  As always, thanks so much for reading the blog, and appreciate you coming along for this house tour!









Great Cottages and Bungalows

Candler Park Bungalow
Candler Park Bungalow

As much as I enjoy looking at the big old houses around Georgia, the cottage and bungalow is another form of house I really like.  And I’m a sucker for a great front porch!  Be it a raised cottage, craftsman bungalows, etc – I love the variety!  Here are some that I particularly enjoyed over the last few months, and several photos I haven’t had a chance to publish before.  It’s hard to find one particular style that I like best, I can appreciate them all.

Great front porch on this Greenville bungalow
Great front porch on this Greenville bungalow

Now the Victorian Cottage – and the many varieties of it, are always favorites to see.

Victorian in Washington, GA
Victorian in Washington, GA

Another great one in Candler Park, check out that porch.  So much potential here.

Check out that porch!
Check out that porch!
Raised cottage style near Eatonton
Raised cottage style near Eatonton

Even famous cottages, like FDR’s Little White House at Warm Springs are a treat to see.  You can check out the previous post on this for a full tour of the property and grounds.

Little White House in Warm Springs
Little White House in Warm Springs

Circa 1840
Circa 1840 in Madison, GA

And of course summertime means beach time for many folks, and the beach cottage style is always a favorite!

Tybee Island
Tybee Island
This may be my favorite beach cottage ever...
This may be my favorite beach cottage ever…

The variety of old cottages and bungalows around Georgia is just amazing.

Now that's a serious front porch!
Now that’s a serious front porch!
Great Victorian Cottage in Madison
Great Victorian Cottage in Madison

One of the trends in the 1920s-1940s was to build much smaller homes than in the past.  The Tudor style cottage below isn’t large, but has some big curb appeal!

Tudor Cottage near Emory University
Tudor Cottage near Emory University

Hope you enjoyed taking a look at some different bungalows and cottages that I’ve seen around Georgia.  Thanks so much for checking out the site – I appreciate it!