Talk of the Town - Small world April 02 2003

Two-bedroom apartment near Decatur Square

Andrea Jenkins opens the door of her small, two-bedroom home with a warm and welcoming smile. A blond 2-year-old sits in a chair surrounded by globes of all sizes. She looks like a doll in a dollhouse sitting among a room filled with the world in miniature.

Strategically placed on one wall are a collage of maps and candid family moments. On the wall in the kitchen is Andrea's favorite object — a large, gold-and-white winged foot hanging adjacent to white antique cabinets draped in white Christmas tree lights. No wall is without a picture, no table without a lamp. She and her husband, Ward Jenkins, a local animation director, live with little elbow room in the cozily decorated space near Decatur Square. What they lack in space, they make up for with memories.

Creative Loafing: The framed maps on the wall, are those places you've been?

Andrea: When I was deciding what to put in the frames, I asked myself, "What do we wanna look at every day?" And I said, "Not just pictures of us, but also where we've been and where we dream of going."

Who are the people in the old photos framed in the hallway?

Andrea: I love old black-and- white photos. I have a huge collection of family shots and random ones I find at flea markets. Family is really big to us. Those are our parents and grandparents.

Ward: Ava gets to grow up knowing who her family is. She doesn't get to see Andrea's family a lot, so we make sure that we point to each picture so she knows who's who.

Andrea: Old photos tell a story. The things that we collect have stories behind them. Whether they're maps, globes or old photographs, we just love things that have a history.

There doesn't seem to be a single empty surface. Does it ever feel cluttered?

Ward: Obviously there's organization here, but it's organized chaos.

Andrea: When Ward and I first met, I shopped for the house all the time. That's when I was obsessed with globes. I bought every globe I could get my hands on. But now we're out of room, so I rearrange and replace.

Ward: She was also obsessed with lamps and chairs. Just look at all these lamps we have to choose from. They give you something to look at when you're bored with the TV or something.

How do you manage to keep your home child proof? A 2-year-old can really get into trouble in a place like this.

Ward: Of course we had to move a lot of things when Ava was born. But she's one of those rare children that listens when you say don't touch. She used to bother stuff a little, but she's moved on.

Andrea: Yeah, we had to edit the place. But now she's pretty good about everything. Globes are great because she can't break them.

Well then, where's all your junk?

Andrea: Our attic is a disaster. It's getting pretty scary. We've gotten really good at storing things in strange and clever places. Guess what's under the couch!