Seeing Through the Looking Glass with The Adamsons

Story by Lee Rennick | Photography by Erin Kosko

Never has a simple exterior belied what is beyond the front door more than the home of Jeffery and Marcie Adamson. Outside the cream painted brick home built in 1844 is simple, with a deep porch supported by natural wood posts. The black metal geometric lantern pendant lights stand out against the brick and enhance the stark dark gray entry and black window frames. Two hanging baskets and minimalistic plantings add to the uncomplicated entrance, giving no hit at the wonderland that sits on the other side of the door.

“The book does not fit its cover,” said Marcie Adamson. “This house looks so plain on the outside, but we love this place because it is so different on the inside.”

“If you look at it on Google Street View,” said Jeffery Adamson, “what you see is a house with no windows or porch. Just a bare shell.”

When they visited it in the summer of 2020, it had been totally remodeled by Bianca Tinsley. A project that took three years; Tinsley stripped the home back to its original character, leaving exposed brick walls throughout and the original hardwood flooring where possible. Keeping to modern background colors of cream, black and medium gray, the Adamsons were left with a clean canvas on which to build their vision which could be called a spin on farmhouse industrial. 

“Because the house had been totally redone,” said Marcie, “we were able to do what we wanted to it.”

A Home of Their Own Invention

Over the last year the Adamsons have worked as their own design team to add their own flair to every room, beginning with the entry foyer. It pays tribute to their two favorite musicians, Jason Isbell and Tyler Childers. Guests are greeted by concert posters, a small upright piano and a ukulele sitting on a decorative entry table.

To the right of the entry is their son Gentry’s room. It is large enough to grow with him, but whimsical enough for a young boy who loves geography and sports. The bed frame is in the shape of a house and pennants hang from the 12-foot ceilings. On one wall hang two bicycles, one of which belonged to Jeffery when he was just a little older than his son is now. 

Off the foyer is the children’s bathroom, hidden by a large metal industrial sliding door. Behind the door fantastical fish dance on the walls and a rainbow carpet warms the black and white patterned tile floor. It is like something you would find in the pages of Lewis Carroll, where lobsters quadrille and the Cheshire cat dazzles with his magical smile. 

Daughter Shelby’s room is fit for a princess, or perhaps the White Queen. Draped in creamy white with an area rug of pink and red roses, the room boasts elegant touches that make it a young girl’s delight. One creative touch is the use of an old cut glass door that Marci’s parents got at the Nashville Flea market when she was a child. It has been used in every house she has lived in and now hangs over an old external door that is no longer used so that light can glitter through the inlaid crystals. 

Much of the art in the house was also from Marcie’s family. It was painted by her mother. While some belonged to Marcie, a lot of it had been given to friends and family as presents in her hometown of Brownsville, Tennessee. She is now gathering it back again, buying it back or being given it back in bequests. 

“Her mother could paint anything,” said Jeffery. “She painted. She quilted. She could do anything creative,” added Marcie. “She died young, so I am working to get back as much of her art as I can.”  “She’s in a lot of little old ladies’ wills,” Jeffery chuckled. 

All of the rooms are much larger than they would seem from the outside. The living room offers plenty of space for the children to play, or for adults to entertain company. Over-head are large support beams, making one think that perhaps, once upon a time, the home may have served as an inn like those written of in Victorian novels. A large overstuffed sectional dominates the room offering plenty of seating to join as a family and have a movie night. 

Off of the living room, the kitchen has a large island with plenty of work and seating space. To celebrate last New Year’s, a friend’s father made them a charcuterie board large enough for the island, which they fill with tasty bits for their small group of visiting friends and family to enjoy. They hang the eight-foot piece of natural wood on the wall as a decoration when not in use.

To the right of the kitchen is their dining room, which has become the home to Jeffery’s extensive bourbon collection. The owner of Creekside Glass out of Nashville, in this room Jeffery has used his glass skills to create cabinets that are works of art to show off his many unique bottles. And Marci has added her touch with dramatic dark purplish black wall paper scattered with Renaissance inspired florals and a large gold framed mirror. 

“I like bourbon, and it just started accumulating,” said Jeffery. 

“We don’t really drink,” added Marcie, “but we do enjoy bourbon, more before the kids were born. But we got to develop relationships with liquor store owners who knew we collected it and didn’t drink it. They knew we were buying it for the unique bottles, and that is what they wanted.”

Several glittering cabinets are filled with their collection of bottles, and they have added a number of pieces of bourbon related art in both the kitchen and dining rooms.

The Looking Glass Room

Initially they had just planned to add a back covered patio, but the project grew into a huge glass room that opens into the newly fenced back yard. Jeffery took this ultimate opportunity to showcase his company’s talents.

“This house has allowed me to do what I do,” said Jeffery. “This house has allowed me to use some of the products I have wanted to use. And I got a chance to keep my team working during a slow time due to COVID-19.” As a matter of fact, he got a chance to use items that had ended up not being used on other projects and items that had been sitting in his warehouse, including glass doors that were originally intended for Toby Keith’s house.

They hired Travis Carver of Roman Restoration, who had come in as a second contractor on the initial project and helped Tinsley complete the project, to make their additions. They liked his work so much, they had him not only build the frame, roof and ceiling for their glass room, but he also added a bathroom, huge walk-in closet for the master bedroom and a mudroom located in the glass hallway leading to the big glass room. 

Using wood from Farrer Brothers for the ceiling and having all glass walls, the Adamsons wanted a spectacular lighting fixture for the room. They found it on Wayfair, but it had to be built. 
“It is huge and heavy,” explained Jeffery. “I built a wood box in the kitchen where I started to construct it, but I couldn’t have gotten it in here completed, so once the roof was done, I brought the frame out and kept putting it together. But the contractor didn’t want all the crystals on it before he hung it. I helped him hang it, and then Marcie put up all the crystal drops. One at a time.”

Where They Wanted to Get To

While still a work in progress, as they want to add wall paper to the master bedroom and eventually a pool to the back yard, they are very happy with their accomplishments.  “I love it here,” exclaimed Marcie. 

They love that they can walk downtown to the music on the square, eat in the local restaurants and browse through the cute boutiques. The Marketplace is one of Marcie’s favorites, and she can rarely get out of there without buying something for their home. 

Another thing they have enjoyed is working with local businesses like Jones Cabinet, Celtic Granite and a landscaper they met as he was riding his bicycle down the street one night and they were sitting on their front porch. 

“Sitting on the front porch at night we have met lots of great people,” said Marcie. “They have told us a lot about this house. It has been a triplex, a daycare, and a police officer owned it in the 1960s and died here. But we know nothing about who originally built it. We have talked to people like Bill Jakes, but so far no one has been able to tell us about the initial owners.”

The Adamson family came from Brentwood and had a 1970s ranch that they did a lot of work on and dearly loved, but they needed better schools for their children.

“Brentwood doesn’t have any Magnet schools,” explained Marcie, “they say they don’t need them, but what they were doing wasn’t working for our oldest.” “We wanted to see if we could get her into McFadden,” added Jeffery. “If we could, we were ready to move.”

They both say that the move is the best thing they have done. Their child is thriving at McFadden, and they love Murfreesboro because they can find everything they want close by.

“When you live in Brentwood,” noted Marcie, “you shop all over the place. Sometimes you have to go to Nashville, sometimes you can find what you are looking for in Brentwood, sometimes Franklin. In Murfreesboro, everything is right here.”

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