‘A piece of heaven’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 16, 2003

VIDALIA &045; At the end of Olive Street just outside of Vidalia, there is a blue frame house by a pond where kids fish and run across a small footbridge to climb a huge weeping willow on a little island. A mixed collie puppy named Sadie bounces in the grass, enjoying the playful clamor.

From all appearances, this family was born and raised here, making this house a home along the way.

But for Phillip and Jamie Burley, the work has just begun.

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The couple bought the house last month and are in the process of remodeling and adding bedrooms and baths to make room for their four children: 14-year-old twins Mitchell and Michael, 12-year-old Chelsea and 6-year-old Baily.

&uot;We came down this road, and I thought, ‘What a piece of heaven.’ My friend, Lisa, called me two weeks later and told me it was for sale,&uot; Jamie says.

The Burleys, who have been renting in Vidalia for three years, say the deal became irresistible when they learned the property would be sold at a sheriff’s auction.

&uot;We paid $41,000 for the house and 31/2 acres,&uot; says Phillip, who works with a company that refurbishes water towers and other tall structures in Texas, Arkansas and the Miss-Lou area.

The Burleys plan to use a mortgage to finance the additions and renovations, which must be done shortly.

&uot;We already told our landlord that we would be out by the end of the month, so we’ve started moving some things,&uot; Phillip says.

Phillip met Jamie in Texas, where they married 13 years ago. They own two homes there that they rent to tenants.

But this dream home may be the one where the family finally hangs its hat.

&uot;The kids all love it out here &045; they all want animals now,&uot; Phillip says.

And the Burleys seem destined to come together with this beautiful place.

&uot;The family that lived here before us had twin boys and two girls, just like us,&uot; Jamie says.