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VIP at Home: 4422 Garcia Boulevard



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BY SADIE FOWLER | PHOTOS BY ERIN KOSKO AND MICHAEL HIGHERS

A unique, fun, comfortable and functional retreat like no other, the Quesenberrys home is a place where color meets style. Lush, bright colors mixed with a contemporary and classic design plan, it’s the kind of place that will cheer you up while winding you down all at the same time. It’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Many in the community know the Quesenberry family from either the Murfreesboro school system, where Susan Quesenberry worked for many years, or World Outreach Church, where she has served as Family Ministry Coordinator since retiring from the school system in 2005.

Susan and Larry have been married for 27 years and enjoy their family time, including their five grandsons. At the center of it all, Susan says above all else, their faith and Christianity serves as the center of the family’s identity.

“Serving others and fellowshipping with like-minded people is the essence of who I am today,” said Susan, as she introduced herself, explaining her fulfillment with this stage of life. “I enjoy getting up every day and going to work. I never say, ‘I’ve got to go to work.’ Rather, I say, ‘I get to go to work.’

The former owner of Southland Supply, which he sold in 1997, Larry is retired and spends his days being involved in business partnerships, church activities, and community activities. A busy man, he has a calendar full of lunch appointments every week.

Every Friday, Larry can be found at the Boulevard for what he calls “Celebrity Lunch.” Also part of his routine, Larry spends time everyday reading his Bible and studying scripture. He also plays a little golf, putters in his garage, and helps Susan with a “honey-do list”.

Life for Susan and Larry, who have three children and five grandchildren, is truly enjoyable — they live a grateful life to the fullest each day, whether they’re at home cooking or traveling the world with their friends, the Myatts and the Hollands.

“I have started playing pickle ball,” said Susan, describing her favorite hobbies. “I have always liked racquetball and tennis. As I have aged, pickle ball gives me the exercise that I need. Our city has done a great job making available courts for the many pickle ball players that are emerging.”

THE BIG MOVE

The Quesenberry’s home was just completed this May. While many only move a handful of times throughout their lives, that’s not the case for Larry and Susan Quesenberry. Since they married in 1962 they have packed up and moved nine times.

“I’ve joked and said Larry would sell me, if he could,” laughed Susan.

They lived in Mirabella subdivision for 16 years (two different houses). Their last house had a pool, and Larry didn’t want to fool with it anymore because neither Susan nor Larry used it and the grandkids aren’t big into swimming either.

“Larry decided we needed to sell while the market was hot,” she said. “I told him I had one more move in me and that our new home would be called our ‘Forever Earthly Home,’” she said. “Hopefully, our next home will be with Jesus. I told Larry I needed to get some place quickly so I could place my forks and remember where they are.”

Once the decision to sell was made, the Quesenberrys began planning a home that would match their senior living. Susan says they wanted higher toilets, wider doors, no steps, pull outs in the kitchen and higher counters. They wanted minimal yard work and a place that required little maintenance.

“I began keeping folders of decorating ideas,” she said. “I had folders for kitchen, bathrooms, rugs, drapes/fabrics and outside areas. It made it easy to pass my likes onto our decorator, Jerome Ferris, from the Peddler.”

The Quesenberrys are now comfortably nestled just outside the Breckenridge Subdivision area. They are surrounded by friends they’ve known for a long time throughout their various ventures in the Murfreesboro community.

They built their home on a lot that they purchased from Gerald and Mary Stone; one that Gerald was ready to sell after it sat long enough. Lucky for the Quesenberrys, the location is ideal — close to just about everything, including good eating and shopping.

Susan says she and Larry made an agreement in the first remodel they did that Larry would be responsible for all exterior decisions and Susan would be responsible for all interior decorating decisions.

“It’s an agreement that has worked well for us in all of our moves,” she said.

Building a home as the Quesenberrys did can be a stressful endeavor, and both can offer a good bit of advice to anyone about to take on such a task. The first thing they’d suggest … set a budget.

“Larry sets a budget and attempts to stick to it,” she said. “He believes in designing homes around quality materials and products that will last.”

They did just that, and as a result their home is their haven. What’s Susan’s favorite part of the home?

“That is an easy question for me — our kitchen!” she said. “Larry promised me the best kitchen ever, and it is.”

It includes two ovens that open on the side and a huge refrigerator and freezer with a wine cooler in the middle. The pantry is large enough to hold all of their food and appliances.

All of their cabinets are pull outs, and other great pluses include a big dishwasher and two smaller ones.

“My kitchen was designed as a gathering place for family and friends,” she said. “I didn’t need many wall cabinets, so I wanted pretty shelves to display my accessories that I have purchased in our travels.”

Susan also loves the large kitchen island that is used for casual meals and serving appetizers to friends.

Larry designed a big closet in their hallway for Susan to keep all of their good dishes and the entertaining pieces that they use.

“Our friends are telling us that our new home looks like it fits right into the neighborhood and that it appears to have been there for many years,” Susan said.

“Larry was adamant about keeping the large trees that were on the lots. The house was actually designed to save the trees.”

Larry says his favorite area is their screened in porch. He particularly likes the EZ Breeze screened windows. Plus, they found indoor/outdoor recliner chairs that are perfect for when they’re watching television or chilling with their dogs.

Another favorite spot is Larry’s man cave that he built in a separate garage. He has all of his tools and yard equipment stored in that garage area, and it’s also set up for small group studies and game nights with family and friends.

In describing the home’s décor, Susan says her only requirement was that the color scheme be bright and happy colors, and that’s nothing new for the Quesenberrys.

“All of our homes have been painted colors that make you smile when you walk into them,” she said. “I love to use whimsical wall paper that brings out that same happy feeling.”

For furniture, they have a mixture of everything from an old chair of Susan’s grandmother to a special table and desk that Larry’s business partner made for him.

Susan likes a lot of light, so she has small lamps sitting on many of their shelves. “We have an extensive art collection,” she said. “We have purchased pieces from our travels around the world.

EASY ENTERTAINING

Larry and Susan both enjoying entertaining friends and guests, and they share in that responsibility. Susan says she’ll make a list for each of them, and they stick to it.

“We work through our lists diligently,” she said. “We share menu planning, the shopping, and the prep work. We try to plan things, so that we can spend as much time with our guests as possible when they arrive.”

Sometimes Susan will ask a friend to come and help serve and with the cleanup. In general, what’s key is staying organized and keeping the kitchen decluttered as they prepare.

“Our house is always on ‘company alert,’” she said. “We keep our clothes picked up, our beds made, newspapers in rack, and kitchen sink clean.”

Another great tip: Susan says when they have guests at the table they try to not seat husband and wife together, which allows for more communication among everyone. During dessert, Susan always likes to ask folks to share something that is going on in their lives.

“That way everyone is heard,” she said.

Susan’s greatest advice to anyone hosting an event in their home is this: “It’s not about the food, the flowers, or the drinks,” she said. “It is about hospitality and fellowship. It is about how comfortable you make your guests feel. When we open our home and give our time and resources away, our hope is to make others feel joyful.”

She says hospitality is about living thoughtfully and generously toward others to ensure they feel welcome, included, and loved. It is about sharing, inviting, providing, and being.

“A special evening with friends is not about what we do or have,” she said. “it’s more about who we are. As Christians, our goal is to make others feel at ease in our home. As believers, we don’t boast perfection. Our aim is to be honest, vulnerable, admit our mistakes and depend on Christ. Hospitality is the essence of a life serving others.”

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