This Briar Creek couple has different ideas for home design — one wants it to stay the same, the other keeps it fresh with constant changes. With flea market bargains and refinishing projects on a previously very dated house, Bob and Patti Bryan show CharlotteFive how they get the best of both worlds in this CharlotteFive Home Tour.

In Patti’s words:

How did you get  here?

We were renting a house in Barclay Downs while looking for a house to buy. We wanted to stay in the area. Bob ran the cross-country path at Myers Park High School had seen houses across the creek (Briar Creek). We took a walk to find them and were enchanted by the serenity and the woods. There was a house for sale (very unusual on this street) and the owner was outside, so we chatted with him and made an appointment to see the house later in the day. We walked in the front door, looked at each other and knew that we wanted to live here.

What’s your favorite thing about the neighborhood?

It’s beautiful, charming and safe. Neighbors are friendly and helpful. Our own home is located on a dead-end street with only six houses. It is wooded and quiet with a creek right across the street. Yet, we are one block from an urban setting with shops, restaurants and businesses. No one really knows we are here. It’s an urban retreat!

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your home?

My favorite is that it’s very personal, it’s us and our work and ideas. We bought an eyesore nearly 30 years ago and have transformed it. It’s full of our own art, art we have collected, the garden we designed and built, my thrift shop purchases made into artsy additions to the home. We both are artists and our house shows it. I love bold color and whimsy, Bob is more conservative. We are a good balance. This house is like our scrapbook. You walk in and right away, know a lot about us.


Least would be that because it was built in the ‘70s [it] is not energy efficient. We’ve done some upgrades, but it would be very expensive to bring it up to current standards. Our top-grade windows were energy efficient 30 years ago, but many of the seals have broken now.

What’s the most innovative project you’ve done?

I don’t think we have done anything truly innovative in the sense of something never done before, but we are both creative and are great problem solvers. Most of what has been done in 30 years has been done by us. Bob designed our garden from a wooded lot without any plants. We planted all the shrubs, he built the paths, the hardscape, stone walls, and the bridges. I am my own decorator with lots of do-it-myself and thrift store finds. I am an artist, so lots of the art is mine, lots of the garden art is mine. Bob painted a lot years ago and some of the art is also his.

Photo Credit: Patti Bryan

Do you or someone you know want to be featured in the Home Tour section of CharlotteFive? Contact Liz Logan at