The Herald Bulletin

May 3, 2014

Retirement living

Local dentist finds the right place for the next chapter

By Emma Bowen Meyer For The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON – When Dr. J. G. Pierce, a local dentist for 40 years, decided it was time to leave his home in favor of a retirement community, he set his eye on Primrose.

“It seemed like the best choice available,” said Pierce, seated comfortably in his two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath apartment. “I really like the people here. I read a lot and visit people and look around (the facility).”

Primrose Retirement Community has many areas to enjoy, including a billiard room, theatre room, 50’s diner, and even a tavern. Strolling through the halls, it is easy to strike up a conversation and make a new friend. The facility offers independent and assisted living apartments and villas.

As he transitioned from house to apartment, Pierce was very careful to create just the right, homey environment. With the help of decorator Joy Phelps – owner of Joy Phelps Interiors for 32 years – he has transformed the space to reflect his personality.

“I try to get to know my clients very well and understand their likes, dislikes and the way they live,” said Phelps. “I want their homes to look like them, not me.”

Without a word being spoken, guests can quickly surmise that Pierce loves to read, is a history buff and possesses some antiques that are close to his heart. Phelps communicates these personality traits through the displays she has carefully crafted.

“I designed these bookcases and Madison County Cabinets had them built,” she said before pointing to the focal point. “This area was created especially for these three pieces.”

A rifle rests on two hooks above artwork depicting the Civil War battle of Little Round Top. Hanging from one of the hooks is a power horn.

“The rifle belonged to my great-great-grandfather, who was in the War of 1812,” said Pierce. “He was one of Johnson’s Mounted Kentucky Rifles. He stood right by Colonel (Richard) Johnson when he killed (Indian war chief) Tecumseh in the Battle of the Thames.”

With that much history attached to the rifle, it is no wonder the piece takes center stage in the living room.

“I picked up the powder horn somewhere along the way,” added Pierce, who served in the Army Dental Corps in World War II. “And the Civil War picture – I just really like it.”

Surrounding his three special treasures are a wealth of books – many of them about military history.

“If we would have purchased small pieces to accommodate all the books he has, the rooms would have looked cluttered,” said Phelps. “Having these cabinets built enlarged the room, particularly because they were taken to the ceiling. Extending them to the ceiling helps them become one piece. I strived to have it look like it was part of the facility, but they can still be broken down if he ever decides to move.”

Almost all of his furniture is new. Leaving behind many of his old pieces, he only retained his bedroom furniture and one interesting antique table in the living room.

“We have both seen people move into a condo and take everything with them,” he said. “They look very cluttered and I didn’t want that.”

The antique table is a tavern card table with two levels. Players can keep their cards and money on the lower level so that the prying eyes of opponents are obstructed. The flat surface of the top level leaves plenty of space for laying down the winning card and keeping a frosty drink handy.

“This is something he’s had for so many years that I insisted he keep it,” said Phelps.

Phelps and Pierce had enjoyed a great working relationship. She reports that he was easy to please and he highly praises her results. In addition, they both mentioned how easy it was to work with the facility.

“They have been so accommodating,” said Phelps. “They even moved the sprinkler system for us. They were very, very nice.”

Which is exactly why Pierce likes living at Primrose Retirement Community. When asked about his favorite aspect of the facility, his answer was simple.

“The people are so nice to me.”

Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an e-mail to