Judith Aughtry’s taste runs to the eclectic: whimsical art, bold color, and offbeat accents. Her husband Bo leans toward the classic: heart-pine floors, landscape paintings, and trophies from his hunting adventures.
The key to their success in furnishing their Alta Vista home is respecting each other’s styles, and bringing both together to create the perfect spot for relaxation, entertaining, and raising their two sons.
The unique interiors of their historic home will be on display this fall as part of the 2017 Tour of Homes organized by the Guild of the Greenville Symphony. The theme for the annual fundraiser, set for Sept. 29-Oct. 1, is Classics on Crescent and McDaniel.
The Aughtry home certainly fits the bill. Dr. William Williams built the home in 1863, and after it was purchased by T.Q. Donaldson in 1868, it remained in the same family until 1987. Though a new kitchen, den, and master suite were added in the 1980s, by the time the Aughtrys purchased it in 2005, there were only a few small updates to be made.
The couple loved the 12-foot ceilings—ideal for displaying hunting trophies—as well as the carefully maintained history, including original windows and fireplaces and even original doorknobs and intricately etched hinges. The previous owners, the Wallaces, went to historic Williamsburg, Virginia, to have missing hinges and knobs matched with exacting precision.
“Their attention to detail was amazing,” Judith says.
The Aughtrys first put their own stamp on the place by removing a more formal English garden in back. “It was cool, but it wasn’t practical for us,” she says. “Between our kids kicking balls and running through, we knew we wanted a low-maintenance yard.”
Now 17 and 18, sons Robert and David are more likely to be relaxing by the firepit. “It’s a major hangout,” she offers.
The Aughtrys are also avid art collectors, and each room offers a mix of landscapes and quirky portraits, created by local and international artists, as well as items picked up on their travels to Africa, Brazil, Italy, and more. Judith combines anything that speaks to her, she says laughing, “for better or for worse. I love doing it, but couldn’t do it for anyone else.”
The entryway encapsulates the eclectic blend of Bo and Judith’s styles as much as any spot in the house, home both to trophies from his African adventures and her art exploits—including various paintings such as a large abstract by local artist Katie Walker and a watercolor by Stephanie Shuptrine.
The room to the right is the boys’ favorite, with two pool tables and more than 20 animal heads, including kudu, waterbuck, impala, warthogs, and wildebeest. (Many of these sought-after trophy animals are maintained in large numbers across Africa specifically for hunting purposes. A giraffe Bo shot in Africa that provided meat for an entire village.) An August Vernon painting of Bo’s father, Paul Aughtry, is nestled within the space.
On the other side of the entry is a small living room with Asian furnishings and Judith’s creature craving: gorilla likenesses carved from the root of palm trees. She discovered the first one in a cigar store on Main Street and had to have it.
The library is where Judith, who loves arts, crafts, and projects, can really express herself. “It’s my office, my workroom, and it’s just got a bunch of eclectic, wacko stuff in it,” she said. A painting by her son is in progress, as is a slipcover for a chair from Hampton Inn, which Bo and his partners at Windsor Aughtry developed. “I said, ‘I’ll slipcover those,” but now I’m getting tired of sewing,” she says.
The fireplace is original, though the built-ins had to be replaced; an old sofa she painted and recovered shows a modern mix of three fabrics. A floor-to-ceiling art display includes a painting by her son Robert, a whimsical portrait by Anna Feil of San Diego, and a piece by South Carolina artist Ernest Lee. “You’ve got to have the Chicken Man in here,” she says. A nearby print shows a woman in a fur coat alongside the phrase, “Natalie used to be vegan.”
The small sunroom is almost filled by a grand piano, while the spacious, bright kitchen is home to pieces by local notables including Joseph Bradley, Diane Kilgore Condon, and Judy Verhoeven.
The breakfast room is “the room we live in all the time,” Judith says. The previous owners had updated the French doors and ceilings, so all the Aughtrys did was remove awnings to bring in additional light. Another piece by August Vernon—the artist now working on the rooftop mural at another Windsor Aughtry property, the Embassy Suites—depicts Annie, a longtime Aughtry employee and friend who retired at age 92.
Upstairs, a photo-filled landing showcases childhood art by her sons, as well as a unique portrait by local artist Ric Standridge, featuring Judith with Robert and David. A pinball machine, a gift for Bo, is still operating and popular with guests.
David keeps his room simple, Judith explains, but Robert’s “shows his personality,” with a large Brian Olsen painting of Marilyn Monroe created at Artisphere, where Judith has served on the board for many years. Guitars are also featured prominently. “He does everything,” she says. “When he was 13, he built a forge and does blacksmithing. He’s a trip.”
While the location and bones of this home are classic Crescent Avenue, in the Aughtry home, attendees at the Tour of Homes should expect something unique and even surprising around every corner.