Dave and Nancy Woodruff thought of everything, from space-saving doors to a dog wash room to a two-and-a-half story workshop, when planning their new Athens home.

Sliding glass doors by NanaWall allow for a seamless transition from living room to the outdoor living area, complete with its own fireplace and furniture. A plastic screen can be raised or lowered remotely to separate the area from the backyard and garden. The Woodruffs use this patio with its double-sided fireplace to entertain, especially when having people over for cocktail hour or a football game.

Dave Woodruff made this sliding barn door leading to the Woodruff’s pantry using his father’s stained glass. Brown woods and stained glass finishes are key features of the Craftsman interior style. (Photo/Avery Householder)

A set of barn doors slides over the railing in the upstairs loft to provide quiet and privacy from the first floor living room. On the other side of the house is Dave’s workshop, where everything from the equipment to the window height has been customized to meet his woodworking needs.

There are a variety of materials that Dave has sorted and labeled on a rack in his shop. He prefers making one of a kind pieces, rather than identical production items. Materials that he uses for his projects include magnolia, maple, hemlock, oak and pear. (Photo/Christa Bugg).

“Everything in here has an absolute purpose,” Dave said. “There is nothing that we didn’t think of that’s in here. If you see something, it’s purposeful.”


Nancy and Dave Woodruff and their English cream golden retriever, Molly

Nancy Woodruff stands in the living room of her spacious home on Aug. 31, 2022. She describes her decorating style as casual with pops of color. (Photo/Avery Householder)

Athens’ Five Points neighborhood


8,500 square feet on a .56 acre lot. It has four bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

Year built/bought

2018/2020. The Woodruffs began construction on their home in December 2018. It took about 18 months to complete, said builder Tyler Davis. 

Design team

Architect Richard Dooley, builder Tyler Davis of Athens Building Co., landscape designer Cecily Goosh and interior designer Katie Lloyd

Architectural style


Favorite architectural elements

Nancy appreciates the home’s openness and archways, which she said she feels gives delineation between the living room and kitchen. 

Interior design style

Nancy and Dave’s eclectic compromise mixes Old World decor with an early American style. Nancy said she aimed for simplicity, comfort and intentionality so that the home would be inviting to guests.

Many of the small trinkets used to decorate spaces around the home are from Dave and Nancy’s childhoods. (Photo/Lily Baldwin)
Favorite interior design elements

The Woodruffs incorporated family pieces, such as stained glass panels and a railing from Nancy’s parents’ house in Savannah, Georgia. Where she had more liberty in the design, Nancy chose neutral colors for the walls and incorporated pops of colors. The red knobs on the Wolf range, for example, contrast the dark counters and plain white kitchen walls. 

Favorite room or favorite item

Nancy calls their backyard garden her “happy space,” where she checks plants in the mornings and stays for a while.

The garage, dog room and woodworking shop extend beyond the main area of the house. Gable roofs, pictured here, are a common feature of Craftsman homes. (Photo/Ashley Balsavias)

Dave’s favorite place is his workshop, where he spends six to eight hours a day, depending on the project he’s completing. Each aspect of the shop was built to his specifications.

“This is a 26-foot ceiling so that I could have as much room as I want,” Dave said. “You’ll notice the windows are 8 feet off the ground, and the reason for it is I wanted the light but I didn’t want to lose the wall space.”

Dave Woodruff started woodworking at the age of 12. Now, his home features a three story woodworking shop with all the tools he’ll ever need. “There are no other tools,” he said. “I have everything I need.” (Photo/Ashley Balsavias)

Decorative pieces are from local shops, such as plates from R. Wood Studio, while other items are from Ikea. They also brought in some family pieces that they “really wanted a space for,” Nancy said, such as pottery by Dave’s sister. The flooring, comprised of mixed wood from old barns in Pennsylvania, came from a store in Monroe, Georgia.

Details of the home are sentimental and add to the woodsy, cabin-like comfort in every room. The floorboards are made of mixed hardwood from old barns in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and if you look closely, you can spot signs of life right under your feet. Small initials scratched into one of the floor panels could have easily been sanded out, but the family consciously decided to leave the sentiment. (Photo/Lily Baldwin)
Decor tip

Nancy encourages living with samples before committing to incorporate decor in the house. “Take your time,” she says. Hanging a paint swatch on the wall or leaving a carpet sample on the floor, for example, can allow a homeowner to see how the appearance may change throughout any given day. Changes in lighting or furniture arrangement can make a big difference in how a small house detail looks.

A queen size bed sits in the Five Points home’s downstairs guest bedroom on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Homeowner Nancy Woodruff said she loves the piece because it belonged to her great great grandmother. (Photo/Megan Fitzgerald)
Most unique element

The Woodruffs have a room for the family pet complete with beds and a dog wash that has a slanted floor with a drain in the middle to make dog bathing effortless. 

Molly, an English cream golden retriever, rests her senior bones on the rug in the foyer, as if built into the design of the home. Molly plays an important role by greeting the many visitors that pass through the Woodruffs’ front door. (Photo/Lily Baldwin)

Alden Lisse is a senior journalism major and religion minor at the University of Georgia. She wrote this story as part of Professor Lori Johnston’s home and garden writing class.



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