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VIP At Home: Fifties Ranch Revival

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By Lee Rennick | Photos by Erin Koskso

Lea Anne and Michael Bedsole purchased their home in 2001, and over the last 21 years
they have slowly remodeled it, doing a lot of the work themselves, while being sure to keep the integrity of the original design. They look at every room with a sense of pride and sheer joy as they walk through their home.

“When we first bought the home,” explained Lea Anne, “I was still raising kids and we were a one income family, so we couldn’t do a lot of remodeling. We started by painting the inside and out. I really hated the red brick. The painted brick totally changed the look of the home. When we bought it, it was the worst house on the block. It had not had much attention in some time. It had even been split into offices for a business for a while in the 1990s.”

Originally built as the model home for the development, it had a lot of “special features” for its time. These included radiant heat in the ceiling and in the floor, as well as an intercom system all through the place. The den paneling and the kitchen cabinets were made of red wood. There were pocket doors everywhere. The Bedsoles felt the house had good bones and a lot of personality and warmth, but most of the features that were so ahead of their time in 1958 have been eliminated over time, keeping instead the unique design elements, like the divider between the living room and Lea Anne’s office.

“We had looked at new homes,” added Lea Anne, “but they just didn’t have the charm of this home. Others in our neighborhood feel the same way. They recently remodeled the house next door, and our neighbor down the street is remodeling theirs right now.”

First Major Renovation Was a Screened–In Porch

In 2002, the Bedsoles decided they wanted a screened-in back porch. When they moved into the home there was a cement landing just big enough to hold one person and a metal hand rail that looked like it was made out of bent pipes along with a set of stairs that descended into the large tree-covered back yard. Typical of the time, but not the best for a young family.

“The first porch I built was a lot smaller than the current one,” said Michael. “I have expanded it over the years and added the privacy screened outdoor lounging area more recently.” His final product is an 800-square foot patio the family loves to use in the spring and in the fall.

Lots of inviting seating areas make the porch welcoming. There is a table for the family to sit together for a meal or to play board games on a cool weekend evening. A porch swing provides a traditional touch, while a wicker hanging egg chair provides a bit of whimsy. Plush cushioned rattan swivel chairs call a poor tired body to them at the end of the day and offer a relaxing place to have coffee in the morning to get the day started.

Off to the side of the screened-in porch is the deck with the built-in privacy screen where there is room to catch a bit of sun on a warm day, or have a fire in the fire pit on a breezy fall evening. Michael also built this space, and it is one of his favorite places to hang out.

“We have an acre of land that is behind the trees you can see from the porch,” explained Lea Anne, “but we love the shade and privacy the trees provide. The property backs up to a well traveled road. The screen of trees blocks the sound of the cars and the view of our back yard.”

Creating a Cozy Primary Bedroom Suite

As their two sons grew up, it was time for them to have their space and for Lea Anne and Michael to have their own space. In 2015, they converted the garage and a powder room into a personal retreat with a spa bath, walk-in-closet, glassed-in shower and laundry room. A coat closet near the front of the house replaced the lost powder room.

“Mike and I could easily live in this half of the house,” said Lea Anne. “We have everything we need in here. We watch TV in here. We read in here. My office is just off the bedroom.”

Furnishing the primary bedroom meant blending new pieces and furniture that has meaning to Lea Anne. Two Bergere style chairs that belonged to her grandmother have been recovered and used in the room’s sitting area. A long table that Michael made from wood he purchased at Eagle Reclaimed Lumber for Lea Anne for Mother’s Day sits along the interior wall. The wood was salvaged from an old barn in Kittrell. While he built the table a number of years ago, it has a totally modern feel and looks great with the blend of old and new in the room.

“I got my bedding at The Peddler,” said Lea Anne. “I love their linens.” Keeping to a neutral theme that can be found throughout the house, the bed linens stay to a cream, beige and gray-blue pallet, but the pillows and linens employ multiple organic patterns and textures. Over the upholstered headboard hang prints of different types of green ferns.

The cream linen drapes came from Restoration Hardware, with pillows from a number of different places, including Home Goods.

Heart of the Home Remodeled During Pandemic

Just before the pandemic hit, the Bedsoles decided to do some major remodeling of the heart of their home, including updating the kitchen, turning the dining room into Lea Anne’s office, updating lighting on the porch and giving the living room and den an overhaul.

“We worked with Tonya Sweeney at C and M Custom Cabinets,” said Lea Anne. “When we started the project, she asked me what sorts of things I liked, what I wanted to keep. Then COVID hit and things were hard to get. We had to order a lot of things online without seeing them or feeling them. Then, they’d arrive and we’d hope we loved what came. We did.”

Sweeny was able to find items from World Market, Stock and Trade, Meridian and PD’s in Franklin. It took six months to receive the couch and three for the refrigerator. Sweeny’s husband, built the kitchen, as well as the desk and storage in Lea Anne’s office, which replaced the old dining room. “I no longer do any formal entertaining,” explained Lea Anne. “Our dining room table became a dumping ground for stuff. I decided to put the room to better use as my office and it has worked out perfectly.”

The dark wood dining table, which had belonged to Lea Anne’s mother, was given a coat of creamy white paint and moved into part of the sunken den space to be used for a breakfast room and any entertainment revolving around food.

Saltillo tile flooring the Bedsoles had put in the den years before was incorporated into the new design, as were two oversized leather chairs that were in the living room, her mother’s chopping block placed in the front entry as a unique catchall table and two chairs that belonged to Lea Anne’s great-grandmother with pillows made by her mother. These chairs were worked into the office space.

“My mother used to make pillows and draperies for all kinds of people in Murfreesboro,” said Lea Anne. “I still go into homes containing pillows my mother made. She loved the old Waverly patterns.”

Previous to the remodel and make-over of the central part of the Bedsole’s home, Lea Anne had used a lot of color. She liked cranberry, greens and blues. Sweeney gave the home a more sleek, modern feel, while keeping the esthetic of the original design.

The once dark walls are painted white, including the old cedar wood walls in the den. Instead of lots of dark colors, Sweeney picked a lighter, natural color grouping with splashes of deeper tones in artwork and decorative items. One accent piece is a bright orange window seat that the family dog, Fritz, loves to lounge on until someone comes up the walkway. Then he has to bark a greeting. 

Landscaping Made All The Difference

“I said this house was the worst in the neighborhood when we moved here,” joked Lea Anne, “and that included the outside. I have to give all the credit to making the yard look great to Logan’s Landscaping. They keep it beautiful. People often stop and ask me who does the yard. They also did the hardscape.”

A driveway extension leads to a new garage and outbuilding that was added in 2010. This is where Lea Anne keeps the staging items so necessary to her career as a realtor, which she began in 2008.

One of the last outside finishing touches was replacing old windows. It took seven months to get them during the pandemic, but Lea Anne is happy with the result. While she loved the old wood windows from the time the house was first built, she knew they needed to be replaced. One stipulation to the window replacement was the need to recreate the look of the original multipaned window in the living room at the front of the house.

“The windows were still in good shape,” explained Bedsole. “The artist Dawna Magliacano took them and she is using them in her new studio. I love that they are getting a new life.”

This Is Where They Plan to Stay

Lea Anne grew up near their current home. She remembers driving past the house when she was a child, as her parents used the road out front as a cut through. While they knew the home needed a lot of work, they fell in love with it the first time they saw it because it sparked good memories of the past, and it had good bones to build on over time.

In spite of their large remodel during COVID-19, they are still tinkering. There is a bathroom that Lea Anne wants to wallpaper, but she’s looking for just the right thing. Another she wants retiled. And there will be other small things. One of her sons has already moved away from home, and her son Solan is 20, so they will be empty nesters in a few years. This will bring other changes to the home. Home remodeling and maintenance is, after all, never–ending.

“We never had a lot of money,” said Lea Anne. “With lots of money you can do anything. Our 2019-2020 remodel was a lot at one time for us. Over the years, we did much of the work ourselves. We’ve put too much blood, sweat and time into the house to ever move. It has been a 21-year labor of love. The only way I am moving out is when I head over to Woodfins.” 

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