Friday, October 05, 2012

Working their way up

Dorothy and Bud Simmers' showcase home at SML is their second, but this time, the furnishings are not secondhand.

Dorothy Simmers stands before her Carrs Point home.

SHERESE GORE | Laker Weekly

Dorothy Simmers stands before her Carrs Point home.

Visitors to Dorothy and Bud Simmers' Carrs Point home in Moneta will be drawn to the decorative accent pieces sprinkled throughout.

The house, part of the Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour, sparkles with sweeping views of Smith Mountain Lake, travertine stone and granite countertops.

The home's five bedrooms each have their own stylistic themes such as the monkey, elephant and poppy rooms. Sizable mirrors, vases and art are a few items that add to

the decor.

Simmers, a diminutive woman in size, had a hand in bringing the pieces into the home. She and her husband, Bud, are owners of an office furniture company based out of Harrisonburg. Self-employed since the 1970s, she said she knows how to arrange 200-pound mirrors inside a vehicle, shroud them in bubble wrap and transport them hundreds of miles away.

"It worked; I had a lot of fun," she said.

The house itself is the reward for the many years of hard work.

In the 1960s, Simmers was employed in a Bridgewater sewing factory when her husband approached her about purchasing a business.

At the time, he was selling office equipment whose employer wanted out of the venture. Bud jumped on the opportunity to "go into business for himself," she said.

Two decades of unrelenting work followed. From the 1960s into the '70s, Simmers worked multiple jobs simultaneously to stay ahead - a full-time job coupled with a part-time job while helping Bud with the business.

"You knew what you had to do," she said.

In 1977, the couple came to Smith Mountain Lake at the invitation of friends who owned a mobile home on Carrs Point. Two years later, the Simmers purchased the lot next door, as well as construction materials for a two-story A-frame house.

"We hammered and nailed. Everything we could do," said Simmers. "We didn't have enough money at the time, and we didn't want to pay anyone else to do it," she said.

Interior design was somewhat limited; most of the furnishings were secondhand. A bedroom suite, a couple of chairs and the kitchen cabinets came from yard sales, Simmers said.

"There was absolutely nothing new."

That is a stark contrast to her current home.

By the mid-2000s, the Simmers decided the little house had outlived its practicality, and it was torn down in 2007.

"With all the kids and grandchildren, we outgrew it," said Simmers. "We were sitting in each other's laps."

Work on the new house, located on the same lot as the A-frame, was completed in 2009. There are no secondhand items in this home, Simmers reassured.

"You're always happy to go forward," said Simmers.

Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour

When: Today-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 7. Tickets are good for all three days, and allow one visit to each house per ticket holder. Five homes are in Franklin County, one in Bedford County and two in Pittsylvania County.

How much: $20 advance, may be purchased online by using PayPal at www.smlcharityhometour.com or at the Smith Mountain Lake Visitors' Center, Carter's Fine Jewelers in Rocky Mount, Arthur's Jewelry in Bedford and Amrhein's Fine Jewelers in Roanoke and Salem. $25 day of, available at the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center payable by cash or check only.

Note: Tours operate rain or shine. No children younger than 12, no babies in arms or carriers. Houses are not handicap accessible, though special-needs parking is available.