Private Quarters: Inside Vince and Barbara Dooley's renovated Athens home

Barbara Dooley had issues with her Athens home for years. Among the problems: The 8-foot ceilings were too low and the kitchen was too small and out of the way.

“I really did not like my house for so long. Everything I did to make it work didn’t work,” she said.

So when Barbara and husband Vince Dooley, the former football coach and athletic director at the University of Georgia, decided to renovate their longtime home, surrounded by Vince’s beloved gardens, Barbara told their architect she had three musts: 10-foot ceilings, heavy moldings and an elevator.

Vince wanted the floor plan designed so that they could see through the front of the house into his garden, which shifted the staircase to the back of the home.

The renovation took 13 months, with the couple living in their one-bedroom pool house in the interim.

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“It’s like a dream that has finally happened,” Barbara said.

Vince said he’s pleased with the outcome -- and that Barbara’s wishes were fulfilled in the design.

“I was happy the way it was. But there is no question that it’s so much better,” he said. “And she’s happy with it.”


Residents: Vince and Barbara Dooley. Vince is the former football coach and athletic director at the University of Georgia; Barbara is a public speaker and real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Upchurch Realty in Athens

Location: Athens

Size: About 6,000 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 full and two half baths (plus a bedroom and full bath in the pool house)

Year built: 1950s

Renovations: The renovation, which gutted the two wings and expanded the size of the home, was completed in November 2010. The style of the home was changed, the 8-foot ceilings were replaced with 10-foot ceilings and the kitchen was moved to a more central point, along with changes to the walls, floors and porches.

Architect: David Matheny of Armentrout Matheny Thurmond in Athens

Renovation company: Bona Fide Construction and Renovation, Athens

Architectural style: Greek Revival

Favorite architectural feature: Extensive moldings throughout the home, such as 12-inch moldings in the kitchen and other rooms.

Interior designer: Kate Lynch

Interior design style: Traditional, but quirky. The home reflects items the couple has purchased over the past 40 years (Barbara did not want to get rid of any furniture or accessories), and an estimated 150 photos and pieces of art, including their collections by Georgia artists Steve Penley and Lamar Dodd, namesake of the University of Georgia School of Art.

Favorite kitchen appliances: The microwave drawer oven by Sharp, refrigerated drawers by Viking and two dishwashers in the kitchen. “It is fabulous. If you have a party you can fill both of them up, and it’s over,” Barbara said.

Favorite outdoor feature: The porch, which was enlarged from a “little bitty” walkway into an expansive space for entertaining, with ceiling fans. “I love, love, love, love the extension of the back porch because now we can eat out there, and it’s covered, so if it’s raining, it doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s really kind of neat to sit out there in the rain,” Barbara said.

Renovation tip: Have access to your clothes. Access to her master closet, which was left intact on one wing of the home, was crucial, Barbara said. She used a ramp to reach the closet, through a window. “I would shower in the pool house and then wrap up and run down to the window and get in the closet.”

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