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The Seven Year Design Plan

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Seven years ago, Lisa and Chris Brown bought their home after a walk through with interior designer Jerome Farris from The Peddler. Farris shared a vision of what he could do to turn the very 1980s space into a contemporary showplace. Although built with the best materials by the Thomas family in 1981, it was time for a modern update.

“When we bought this house,” explained Lisa, “we were just going to replace the floors in the kitchen, instead we put in new floors, new cabinets, removed walls, knocked down columns and added a mud room, laundry and half bath.”

The remodel became a labor of love for the Browns and Farris that has lasted seven years. From the initial gutting of the kitchen, through the reworking of every room in the house, and out into the just completed yard and pool area, the now good friends have worked together to turn the Brown home into a warm inviting contemporary space. Pulling elements from transitional, Western Ranch, Country French chateau and North Carolina mountain retreat styles, the home has a timeless feel.

“Initially, Jerome… told us what we could do with every room,” said Lisa. “Which was really good for me because I couldn’t look beyond what I was seeing. He immediately went back to the store and pulled carpet and paint samples so I could understand what he was talking about.” It is Farris’ vision that made them buy the home.

“We don’t do anything without first contacting Jerome,” added Chris. Farris’ consistency of vision makes the house flow. From the repetition of fabrics to subtle touches, like the use of dog and bird sculptures in various places throughout. For example, he uses gray suede on the walls of Chris’ office, and on the couch in the sunroom. Then, two life-sized brass hounds guard the front door, and in the living room an accent table houses a collection of porcelain dogs. As you walk into the front foyer, two raven sculptures sit on a unique accent table made from an old Doric column. The bird motif is repeated in a decorative display on a table on the back patio. The blend of old and new, subtle with outstanding is what the Browns enjoy most about Farris’ design.

“The piece I really love,” said Chris, “is the cow painting you see in the dining room as you come in the front door. It is so Southern elegance. It is traditional imagery in a traditional room mixed with a very contemporary dining table and light fixture.”

While Farris is the coach, the completion of the Brown’s home has been a team effort. Before they start anything new, they complete a project so they can keep the sense of flow going.

The kitchen was very dark with dark wood cabinets and walls that broke it up between the front and back of the house, as well as couple of rather unusual elements that just didn’t fit the Brown’s lifestyle. They wanted lighter colors, to get rid of all of the fussy columns that had been used as design elements, and have more light from both the front and back of the house.

“Quinn Martin made all of our custom cabinets,” said Lisa. “Jerome picked this light greenish gray paint that changes color with the light of day. When Jerome told Quinn the color we were going to use, Quinn said it was the ugliest color of green he had ever seen. He painted a sample and left it sitting in his show room, then all of his clients started asking for it. He still has people asking for it. It just goes with anything.”

From the kitchen, there was a set of dark stairs that the Browns had opened up by removing a wall. They also took a second sunroom that had existed at the front of the house and used it to
create the new mudroom, a half bath, and to move the laundry room away from the master suite.

After completing the first project, they continued through the house, including creating the outstanding two story living room with stairs that sweep up to a second floor that looks down on the living room. They transformed the room from very formal room with crystal draped chandeliers and silk couches to a mountain refuge with leather couches, wool plaid chairs and lots of furry pillows.

Two large rustic iron castile chandeliers hang from the vaulted ceiling, which gives the room a touch of the old West. And on the far wall, a buck’s head looks down from above.
“I love the walls in the living area because they are different,” said Lisa. “They are shiplap painted by a lady that Jerome had come up here from New Orleans. She faux painted them. It took her four or five days to do it. It started with a really dark color and ended up looking like barn wood.”

Golf is a big thing in the Brown home, and they have created two golf themed rooms with their
son, who loves the game, in mind. Downstairs, there is a bar area that is made from reclaimed wood, with a half bath to match, then you walk through the bar into a high-tech golfer’s dream. Using some of the latest tech, you can play any of the greatest golf courses in the world, and never leave the room. The program also keeps track of all of your stats. Before becoming a faux golf course, the room had been the home of a resistance lap pool that was enclosed with Greek columns and mirrored walls. Upstairs, their son’s bedroom has a wall mural of one of the tees at Pebble Beach Golf Course in California. On the ceiling hang flags from some of the courses father and son have played, and some they just visited. He even has a flag from The Masters. Deep blue walls make the bedroom feel like a day on the course. But other sports are also on display, like basketballs and footballs in the window seat. The window seat is a great place for cozying up with a book about the hottest sports figure, or watching the big game on an iPad. A definite man-cave for father and son claims part of the upstairs with a rustic wood ceiling, sports memorabilia on the walls, a large screen television and overstuffed brown leather movie chairs.

One thing Lisa wanted was to make the dark and moody peachypink master bedroom into a bright relaxing retreat. Using warm creams and browns with a splash of fiery orangey-red, Farris created a bright and comfortable room. The plush tuxedo headboard and cluster of silky soft pillows makes the bed calming and inviting, but also the focal point of the room. The plaid curtain repeats a pattern used in the living room to keep that sense of rhythm and flow continuing into this space.

The master bathroom feels like a spa getaway. There are lots of fluffy white towels in a basket, and a massive walk-in shower with a pebble mosaic on the walls and on the floor. “I love the master bathroom,” said Lisa, “the layout and the feel of it. I didn’t want a tub, I can go upstairs if I want to take a bath. I wanted a shower where I could really relax. I thought about a wet room with a tub and shower, but it just didn’t feel right.” At the far end of the master bathroom is a workout room with some of the newest exercise equipment and technology. 

“My favorite room is the sunroom,” said Lisa. “it is where I spend a lot of my time.” While the sunroom is original to the house, it was much more formal in its previous form. There were half- moon windows over the picture windows and the furniture was much more structured. The ceiling fan hung from a much lower ceiling.

With a vaulted ceiling made out of old wood, a tropical ceiling fan, slouchier couches and bamboo shades, the room could easily have a view of a Caribbean beach. While it doesn’t have a beach view, it does have a view of their newly completed back yard.

“We began work on the back porch and the area at the end of the pool in March of 2020,” explained Lisa. “We told Jerome what we were going for and how we wanted the space to look. And then Jerome pulled samples, chose the chairs and the accessories.”

The design of the space was created by Farris and architect Brad Sayers. Leather quartz was used for the countertops of the outdoor kitchen, which was also used in the master bathroom. And next to the kitchen is a table set up for an evening of entertaining.

“Lisa and Jerome made the decisions on the patio without me,” said Chris with a smile and a chuckle. One of their favorite additions is the new fire pit and pergola with an old front porch swing and casual Adirondack chairs. “I knew it was going to be nice, but it turned out even more so,” said Lisa. “I love my swing and fire pit. I sit in the swing a lot.”

“Everything in this house came from The Peddler,” said Lisa. “except our kitchen table. It came from our old house. And the bed in the black bedroom came from Restoration Hardware. With Jerome’s approval.”

The rugs are all from City Tile. Diane Preston made all of the draperies and put in the suede wall in Chris’ office. There are a few items from Kenny and Company in Nashville.

“If it had been left up to Chris and I, no telling what the house would have looked like,” added Lisa.

“I told Lisa and Chris,” said Farris, “you know, to really have a house you want, you’ll need seven years. It has to evolve room by room. Let the rooms speak to you.”

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