The Herald Bulletin

January 25, 2014

Back yard dream

Mixture of nature, colorand creativity makesfor special environment

By Emma Bowen Meyer For The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON -- Often people are swept away by the house of their dreams, but Lisa Pay was swept away by the back yard of her dreams. Hailing from Colorado, Lisa knew an expansive yard was on the must-have list, but she never expected to find one with a winding creek and a backdrop of the woods.

“How many people get to have a creek and fire pit in their back yard?” asked Lisa, professor of social work at Anderson University for 14 years. “I looked out back and that was it. Growing up, the girls were in the creek all the time. Only in the last couple of years have we been free of frogs or lizards or other animals they found.”

Morgan, 20, and Maddie, 17, have thoroughly enjoyed the space for the last 12 years. In addition to reptiles, they have often been the haven of dogs, cats and even a bird.

“The neighbors have been a blessing,” said Lisa. “The girls were outside constantly and I always felt they were safe. Help is always nearby in our neighborhood. We look out for one another.”

While the land was the deciding factor, Lisa loves the Tudor-style home as well. Over the years she has redecorated almost every room.

“I call it decorating on a budget,” she said. “My friend, Gina Stuckey, is a decorator who does a lot of work with the Gaithers. She helps me a lot. She is able to shop the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby and strip and repaint items to make them perfect.”

One room at a time, Lisa has stripped floor-to-ceiling wallpaper and added paint to stamp her own style on the space.

“I like deep, rich, warm colors,” she said, pointing to the comfortable hues in the living room. “My favorite color is purple, so we painted the entryway a deep shade and have tied the color into the main floor.”

White carpet creates a perfect backdrop for the mustard textured walls, red curtains and red furniture of the living room. A glowing fire creates a warm, cozy feel even when the temperatures drop below zero outside.

In the master bedroom, Lisa has made great use of the angled ceilings usually seen in historic homes. By painting the alcove area a deep maroon and other walls beige, she has dramatically highlighted this outstanding feature. Now the space not only feels like a bedroom, but a sitting room as well – and a perfect spot to enjoy a great novel.

Adding panache to the room is the unusual headboard. Gina and Lisa covered a porch door with plenty of padding and added three rows of buttons.

“That was really fun,” she said. “I love this room.”

Not only has Lisa received assistance from Gina, but her daughters have pitched in with their ideas as well. Maddie used her talents to create a classic look with sharp lines in her bedroom. Black and white create a fantastic contrast while two walls sport a faux silver texture. Taking notes from her mother’s playbook, she crafted her head board from two doors found in the attic.

Morgan prefers the girlie-girl choice of pink walls and had a friend, Kylee Larson, paint whimsical flowers, grass, trees and butterflies onto the walls. Morgan also benefits from alcoves and angled ceilings that make any room more interesting.

But the best part of the home is the opportunity to entertain.

“I have student groups over all the time,” said Lisa. “Some gather around the fire pit, some pile in the hot tub, some gather around the pool table. This is really a good house to entertain in. The girls love to have friends over and they sit around my grandmother’s piano and sing.”

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

Rolling in art A friend created this beautiful accent piece from empty toilet paper rolls. Rolls were cut to the proper size and gently crushed to form a pleasing shape. Then they were painted to match the living room colors and accented with tiny beads. Delighted, Lisa quickly found a prominent location for the treasure.