Space & Light 

Mid-century mod in Normandy Meadows.

It seems after World War II we had a conservative backlash, and it was Colonial, Colonial, Colonial. I guess we are in a slightly more open mode today since it s now all about French Country. In any event, Memphis homeowners have rarely embraced contemporary architecture. You know, clean open spaces, lots of uninterrupted glass with little traditional details. The mere thought of no shutters sends a chill to the very depths of our real-estate bones. There remain, nonetheless, a few exceptions that offer a fresh take on living and suggest that, yes, Virginia, there is a small contemporary movement in Memphis, Tennessee. This one-story home at the north end of Leonora Drive is all about space and light. The deeply overhanging gable roof, certainly a Craftsman influence, shelters triangular ends filled with glass. The interior ceilings are vaulted and follow the roof line, giving each room a sense of volume, lots of wall space for furniture, and scenic tree-top vistas. You expect to walk outside and be in the Ozarks, not a cul-de-sac in East Memphis. The exterior ends of the house are finished in brick, whereas the front and rear elevations are done in painted vertical wood. There is a fenced backyard with a handy storage shed, and the parking area by the house has hot and cold running water to make washing your car off-season a lot more appealing. There are trees around the house. The front landscaping is extremely simple with a Zen-like arrangement of lichen-covered rocks in a bed of gravel adding interest as you approach the front door. The interior has been fully redone. The original parquet floors are oak, which have been refinished. The kitchen and dining areas have a new ceramic floor that looks like Mexican tile. All the walls and ceilings throughout the house are painted a soft off-white, and the new hanging, opal-glass globed lights look period-appropriate. The kitchen and appliances are all brand-new. There is lots of work space and a breakfast bar too. The color scheme here was kept neutral with white cabinets, stainless-steel appliances, and a mottled charcoal countertop. But the high point here is all the light pouring in above the cabinets. The interior plan was rearranged and improved in a recent renovation that created a new laundry room. The original two bathrooms are nicely scaled with neutral ceramic tile and their own linen closets. New pedestal sinks, toilets, and light fixtures complement the original chrome and sliding glass-door medicine cabinets, which have been refurbished meticulously an unusual but laudatory attention to detail. Unexpectedly, the three bedrooms have comfortable, scaled closets, and even the hall closet has room for off-season clothes as well as additional linen. The current renovation has replaced the heat and air and the water heater, upgraded the electrical panel, and installed a new roof. It doesn t hurt that the property falls within the Richland Elementary and White Station High School districts. Should you own an Eames chair or a Wakefield sideboard, this home is certainly the right space to show it off. But enough of the boring facts. It s the space and light, remember?


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