In 1986, when many of 23-year-old Lisa Hockman’s friends were buying contemporary houses in Marietta, she knew she wanted something different. Enter a circa-1850 farmhouse on Woodstock Road in Roswell. “I knew I had found the house the moment I drove up the gravel drive and saw the enormous oaks and wide front porch,” she remembers. One look at the high ceilings and wide hardwood floors and Lisa promptly sealed the deal for $128,500.
Judson, Lisa’s then-boyfriend and now husband of almost 30 years, couldn’t believe she would buy something so far from the city. At the time, “everywhere you looked there were horses and cows,” Lisa says. “Who knew it would turn out to be one of the hottest areas OTP.”
If Roswell is a different place than it was when Lisa bought the property 32 years ago, it’s a world away from when the home was first constructed. The historic center-hall house was built by Hosea Coleman, son of Valentine Coleman, who, as patriarch of one of Roswell’s founding families, settled on 125 acres in the nascent town in the 1830s.
The antebellum home—which now sits on a half-acre lot—retains many of its original features that first lured Lisa in. The two front rooms are drenched with natural light from the floor-to-ceiling triple-hung windows, which once provided access to the deep front porch. Most of the original, wide-plank heart pine floors are intact throughout the 4-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom main house, which also boasts 4 fireplaces.
In the three decades of Lisa’s ownership, the home underwent several renovations to make the space more comfortable for 21st-century inhabitants while maintaining as much rustic, historic charm as possible.
In 2007, Lisa and Judson completed their first major renovation on the house, which included, as Lisa puts it, “spending a bunch of money on stuff that you never see: replacing the cast iron pipes, updating all of the electrical, and reinforcing structural elements.” They also worked with Randy Rapach Construction to add a wing onto the house that included a garage and allowed them to enlarge several rooms, including what is now a spacious chef’s kitchen—a high priority for Lisa, who previously owned Metanoya, a café on nearby Canton Street.
Custom cabinets line the kitchen and spacious laundry room/butler’s pantry combo, the standout feature of which is a wall of glass-fronted cabinets inspired by Andy Griffith’s kitchen. “As a child, I loved the idea that Aunt Bee could see all of her everyday dishes instead of them being hidden away behind solid doors,” Lisa says. Repurposed beams and a salvaged mantel tie in the newer space with the rest of the house.
In 2015, Lisa finished out the space above the garage as a respite for guests, creating a 1-bed, 1-bath carriage house with a separate entrance. Lisa describes it as “this lovely, sanctuary-like space that is so inviting that no one ever wants to leave.”
Thanks to Lisa’s restorative stewardship, her home is now a veritable urban farmhouse, just a quarter-mile from Roswell’s ever-growing downtown historic district. But with a farm across the street and Roswell Area Park behind the rear property line, the home holds on to some of its rural roots.
Lisa says she is grateful for the 32 years she and Judson got to spend in this house, but they’ve decided to become part of its 168-year history. “I’ve poured myself into this house for decades, so it really is like leaving a piece of me behind,” Lisa says. “But in my heart, I know it’s time for someone else to get their turn at loving this truly one-of-a-kind home.”