Remodeling a Home and Preserving It’s History

I sat down with the former owner of our home to understand the history and memories behind “Bea’s Hill” in Thomaston, Georgia.

We got a chance to sit down with Mrs. Beatrice, the original owner of our new home! She had so many memories to share and neat things about the house that we wanted to share with you all! We knew that we wanted an older home and not a newer home, because of the history that came along with it. Quite often older buildings are destroyed in the process of progress, but we want to restore life into things that once were! We also believe that every home should have a name, it helps to endear it to us and give it greater personality! So, we want to share with you all where the inspiration for our home’s name came from, it’s previous owner Beatrice Dallas.

Carmen: I want to know about when y’all built the house and when ya’ll purchased the land!

Bea: We originally lived on Garden Terrace where we had a small three-bedroom home. Then our youngest arrived we just knew it was time for us to find a bigger space! My husband was the only surgeon in town at the time, so he often had to come home and sleep during the day.

Carmen: The neighborhood is called Johnston Heights, and my husband’s family are the ones who developed the area many years ago! And the road, Joyner Road, was named after a family friend.

Bea: When we moved in, the top of the road had a sign that spelled it J-o-i but the bottom of the road spelled it J-o-y. But I think that J-o-y looks prettier than J-o-i so I always wrote it Joyner!

Carmen: Do you remember when you guys had the plans drawn up?

Bea: So, we were popping at the seams of the little house when some close friends of ours bought these lots that the house is now on. They had an architect design them a home and it was incredibly elaborate. They finally got the bid and said no way! So, they sold us the lot and gave us the plans. We thought we could just pull all the basics out of the plans and build it from there, but it was still an astronomical cost. So, we found the existing plans in the Atlanta Paper. It was so close to what we wanted so we bought the plans.

Carmen: So, you found the plans in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution? Wow! If you look here at the plans, you can see all the changes that were made. Did you and your husband pick out the changes to be made.

Bea: No, our builder told us what changes could be made! He was quite an authority, so he said how we could have it. But, I insisted on having the door to section off the lobby! My husband would come home during the day from surgery and would need to rest undisturbed, but I would have my bridge club there or my kids would be running around, so he needed some space.

Carmen: Now what did you all use that large bonus room for?

Bea: That was the pool room! We had a large pool table and I had leaves fitted to turn it into a dining table and we would entertain. We would feed the world! On Christmas Eve my husband would go to the hospital and find anyone who didn’t have a place to be and bring them home for dinner. The Oxfords, who live across the street, and our family would host Christmas Eve dinner. We would have at least 25 people almost every Christmas and most of the time I would meet many of them until that night! My husband just loved to talk and once everyone was around that table they couldn’t get up until dinner was over so he could sit and talk to his heart’s content! But he was very interesting and smart and had lots to say!

Carmen: Well it really is a small world; I was speaking at a Garden Club in Atlanta recently and I shared that we had bought a house in Thomaston. Afterwards, this lady came and told me her husband was from Thomaston. It turns out that her husband’s family are the ones who originally bought this plot of land before they sold it to you! She called her husband, who was performing surgery and said, you have to hear this story!

Carmen: Bea was telling me earlier about the plants around the house, the clippings in the yard is a podocarpus and came from her husband’s parent’s original home and they have been growing for decades! The camellias outside came from John Holloman, and they were always very close to Bea’s family. The purple dawn camellia was from some friends over in Alabama.

Of course, we won’t be digging up any of these legacy plants and can’t wait to incorporate them into the new gardens we are installing! We are so thankful to carry on the legacy of the Dallas Family and have actually decided to name the home Bea’s Hill after Bea’s many years here. Stay tuned for more details about our adventure!