For eight years, Liz Hudson watched the new neighborhood of garden homes go up.
Now she lives there and says the development for those 55 and older is "like Mayberry," the mythical all-American small town made famous on "The Andy Griffith Show."
Like in a small town, Hudson said she knows all of her neighbors in the development, where she moved about four years ago.
"We pray for each other," she said. "Word gets around if someone is sick, and if you get sick, you can expect a neighbor to come with a casserole or homemade soup."
Hudson said she feels completely safe to walk two or three times a day with her pup, Georgie, who knows which houses to stop at to snag a treat.
The neighborhood is completely lighted at night, Hudson said, and neighbors sit on their porches and visit. There are groups that play cards, and groups the gather for coffee and prayers. A pavilion at the entrance is perfect for neighborhood parties.
Hudson and her husband, Bobby, lived not far from the development. When he died, she purchased the last lot in the gated neighborhood.
Starting with the builder's floor plans, Hudson hired a draftsman to make a few modifications, including removing a closet at the front entrance and creating an open sitting area where the plans called for a study.
The result is one large room with areas designated as the living room, dining room, kitchen and sitting room.
A hall from the main room leads to two bedrooms and a bath on one side and the primary bedroom with a large closet and bath on the other. At the back of the home is a covered porch and a small courtyard.
All of the rooms are painted a soft gray with white plantation shutters on the windows. Cushioned vinyl flooring that looks like hardwood is used throughout and gives a unifying look.
Hudson has added her own personal touches with treasures she finds at estate and garage sales. She said she loves "the thrill of the hunt."
Among her treasures are an antique screen and a wooden fireplace from an old house in Brusly, which sits against one wall in the living. Anchoring another wall is a large buffet Hudson painted a deep red. Pops of red are used in several spots, including both the front and back doors, a red lampshade and pendant lights over the kitchen island. Even the tea kettle perched on the stove is red. The fiery hue also colors the cushions and other accessories on the back porch.
Even though her new garden home is smaller than her previous home, Hudson said she still has plenty of room for her two daughters and their families to stay when they visit from out of town.
"After losing my husband, this was my salvation," Hudson said of her new home. "My daughter calls it my HBH, home before heaven."