Born and reared here by Delight and Lindon Watson, Holly Watson loves Northeast Alabama. She has lived on Lookout Mountain, Sand Mountain, and in Fort Payne. After high school, she did venture out into the big world: she attended Auburn University, Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia, and graduated from Jacksonville State University in Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising. After college, though, she returned home to live. In fact, Holly takes the time out of a very busy career to serve on the Board of Trustees for Landmarks of DeKalb County, a private, non-profit educational and cultural organization that is a major instrument for preserving the history of Dekalb County, Alabama’s people, and places.
Holly Watson also loves the houses of Northeast Alabama. To be specific, Holly loves the human fingerprints of design and layout that identify every house as a home unique to the individuals who live in it. “When I enter a home, I always feel excitement and wonder. I’m on an exploration. Each one has a definite personality, a spirit that reflects the minds and hearts of its designers, builders, and most strikingly, its owners. No two houses are the same, and I just breathe deeply and spend a little time at the start letting the home reveal itself, sort of talk to me. That sounds odd, but it is important.”
Then, Holly looks closely. She explores the way the home relates to its surroundings, its site: how the interior draws in the exterior: “How private is the house? What views does it have? How much natural light enters at certain points? Do the owners enjoy sun-filled rooms, or do they prefer a more private feel, a personality of secluded romance?”
Also, how does the space flow? How are the rooms set up? “For example, some people must have the master bedroom on the first floor; others must have it upstairs. In that instance, I think it becomes a case of convenience versus privacy. It’s also interesting to see how rooms relate to one another. What’s the use of doors, hallways, walls, stairways, closets, partitions, fireplaces. So many elements.”
With her five-year background in cabinet design, Holly particularly respects the attention paid to design based on everyday activities, such as eating and cooking, sleeping and privacy, and gathering and entertaining: “It’s fascinating to me how the ‘look’ of kitchens and bedrooms and living rooms are decided by what the owners find convenient or inconvenient, necessary or not. For example, in a recent home I visited, the owners wanted an open feel to the kitchen and disliked searching through the backs of cabinets—particularly in hard-to-reach upper ones—for hidden items. So they abandoned upper storage as well as cabinets themselves and installed fully extendable drawers on the lower level only. It really is amazing how many different ways there are to create a personal space.”
As a realtor at Mentone Realty, Holly enthusiastically and tirelessly translates her love of the area and her passion for houses into advantages for both the seller and the buyer. Because she can “read” a home so well, she markets a property to appeal to buyers who will appreciate its value. She maintains close contact with her sellers, and lets them in on all feedback and interest. When she helps buyers, she asks all the right questions, listens intently, reviews all the offerings on the market, and then introduces the buyers to properties that will suit their lifestyles, budgets, and personalities. With her keen imagination and understanding of design and layout, she can also help a potential buyer envision changes that will turn a Maybe into a definite Yes!