After more than a dozen years in their River Island home, this Evans family keeps making it better with improvements inside and out
Four years ago Lynn and Marcus Thompson of Evans were about to put their River Island home, where they have lived for 12 1/2 years, on the market. They painted the interior rooms neutral colors to ready it for sale, but then they reconsidered.
This was the house where they raised their children, Abigail, 24, and Andrew, 17, and at that time, their son was a year away from entering high school.
After all, Lynn and Marcus, who have been married for 27 years, know as well as anyone about the lasting effect those years can have on a teenager. These high school sweethearts met at Augusta Christian when she was 14 and he was 16, so staying in their home felt like the right thing to do.
“We’ve never lived anywhere this long before,” says Lynn. “If we ever move, we would probably stay in River Island and get a lot with a water view.”
In the meantime, though, they have a nice water view at their own house. Once the Thompsons decided they were going to stay put awhile, they started making more home improvements. One of their first orders of business was to call on Pete Alewine Pool & Spa a couple of years ago to build a kidney-shaped gunite pool in their backyard.
The pool, which features a tanning shelf, is heated so the Thompsons can use it year-round, and two waterfalls spill from a stacked stone wall into the pool.
“When we added the pool, there wasn’t a neighborhood pool yet,” says Lynn.
To enhance their outdoor entertainment amenities, the Thompsons also added an A-framed pavilion in the backyard last fall. Constructed by carpenter Steve Darr, who did all of the trim work in the house, the pavilion features a ceiling fan, wood beams on the reclaimed pine wood ceiling, a wood-burning brick fireplace with a raised hearth built by brick mason Steve Dye, concrete flooring topped by an area rug, wicker furnishings and a TV hidden behind a pair of barn doors.
“The barn doors are 400 years old, and they came from the bottom of a river,” says Marcus.
Two lanterns of different sizes sit on one side of the hearth, and a set of fireplace tools occupies the other side. A lantern is mounted on the two front columns of the pavilion, and a black Adirondack chair is stationed by the brick base of each column.
“We like to build fires when we sit outside and watch movies and football,” says Lynn. “We like for the kids to stay home and have their friends come here.”
Abigail and her friends enjoy watching movies outside, while Andrew and his football teammates at Augusta Christian like to jump in the pool after spring practice.
They also built a third driveway of brick and recycled concrete on the side of the house to provide ample parking.
“Under the driveways and porches, we used recycled concrete rather than sand or natural stone to create the base and compact it,” Marcus says.
Their home improvements have not been confined to the outdoors, however. In the foyer they added a statement-making brick wall that separates the entryway from the great room.
The wall complements other interior features of the home. The Thompsons used antique brick throughout the house as well as reclaimed heart pine wood flooring in the foyer, great room, kitchen, breakfast area and keeping room.
Marcus works for the family business, Thompson Building Wrecking Co., Inc., and the antique brick and heart pine in the house came from a demolished 1881 railroad depot warehouse that the company purchased in downtown Augusta.
The great room features a vaulted ceiling, gas brick fireplace and an overlook from the second story. Built-in bookcases flank either side of the fireplace, and the back walls of the bookcases, which once were highlighted by a red faux finish, are now a neutral color.
The kitchen includes granite countertops, a noche tumbled stone tile backsplash and recessed lighting. A trio of rectangular pendant lights with a single Edison lightbulb in each one hangs above the peninsula, and another rectangular pendant light with three Edison lightbulbs hangs above the island.
In the adjoining breakfast area, more Edison lightbulbs illuminate the chandelier with rectangular and square shapes above the distressed white trestle farmhouse table. Four distressed white wood vertical slat back chairs – one at each end and two on one side – provide seating, along with a distressed white trestle bench, for the table.
Tucked in a corner of the keeping room, a distressed white, glass-front display cabinet ties this space to the breakfast area. The keeping room also includes a vaulted ceiling and overlook from the second story.
Wall sconces on an upper part of the wall add a decorative touch to the room. A round mirror with a circular wood frame hangs on a wall above a demi-lune chest.
The antique brick fireplace features an aged crackle finish on the mantel and surround, and a TV is placed on the wall above the fireplace.
“We put the TV in the keeping room about a year ago, and it has become our favorite place to hang out,” says Lynn. “If we’re cooking or eating, it’s more convenient for us to be together in the keeping room.”
In the Thompson household, “together” is the operative word. That’s the main place they like to be – together.
By Sarah James