memories

Come on in

Walking in the backdoor of this Cape Cod nestled in the heart of Fountain City, one is immediately at home. As a guest, you're greeted with enormous smiles, warm hugs, and a glass of your favorite beverage within minutes. There's no doubt that for the 30 years Peter and Julie have lived here, they've learned a bit about making a house, a home.

The Wolf home in 1986

The Wolf home in 1986

The Wolfs bought this little home back in the mid-80s with two young boys and family heirlooms to fill the rooms. Prior to landing in Fountain City, they'd been in California, St. Thomas, Michigan, and a few other stops before finally setting down some roots here in East Tennessee. Peter grew up sailing and Julie grew up around the lakes of Michigan. The influence of the sea is evident in the color schemes and artwork throughout the house.

Peter and Julie's style is a wonderful mix of traditional, eclectic, primitive, country, and little Pottery Barn sprinkled in. Julie mentioned that very early on, she and Peter shared very similar tastes in home decor and they love to do "the work" together. Whether it's refinishing a piece, finding the right spot in the house for a new treasure, or working in their outdoor space, they've been a team since day one. Julie really is a girl after our own hearts in that she really likes a place "clean and tidy, I like it less cluttered," she says. In 2000, they were able to put a wonderful addition on the back of the house adding a great room for entertaining, a master suite, and two car garage with an upstairs. The heart of the remodel kept in mind the idea of having people over. Last year, they were even able to host their niece's wedding in the backyard and it was a huge success!

Addition in 2000

Addition in 2000

Julie wants every guest to feel right at home upon arrival. "I want folks to feel like they can get a glass of water if they'd like and that my home is their home. I truly want them to feel totally comfortable." She celebrates so many of their guests throughout the years by showcasing many of the generous gifts family and friends have given them over the years. This is where the eclectic part of their decor comes from. "If i find something I like or if someone gives me something I just find a place for it." Both she and Peter love the stories connected with the pieces in their home and they love to tell you how each one made it's way to Forest Lane.


Peter at work in his home office

Peter at work in his home office

The Gathering Table

The Gathering Table

When we asked what home means to them, Peter quickly answered, "The place I'd rather be than anywhere else." Peter has travelled with his work for over 30 years, spending countless nights in hotel rooms all over the US and Canada. He cherishes his time at home with his family, friends, and projects. Julie says she has multiple favorite spots in her house depending on what the activity but if she had to pick, the big round oak table would probably be top of the list. Gathering with family and friends over a meal and a glass of wine fills her heart like nothing else.

Julie working in her "nest"

Julie working in her "nest"


We also loved Julie's thoughts on collections. She said, "Collections just happen to you." Over the years she may have purchased one or two pitchers and was given a few from her mother and before she knew it, a pitcher collection was born. She loves to think of the giver as she uses each pitcher or any gifted home item in her home. Sometimes the gifts aren't necessarily decor items, but just stuck in a drawer and Julie will find them at times, hold them, take a moment to reflect on that time, that person, and enjoy the memory.


Our last stop of the tour was in the stained-glass studio in the upstairs of their garage. For about a decade now, each Wednesday night, up to 9 women meet for a meal, a beverage, plenty of laughs, and some time in the studio creating all kinds of beautiful pieces. This extension of their home has allowed the Wolfs to bless others by giving them a space to create but also a space to connect with others.

Finally, this particular home tour holds a special place in one of the dwellers hearts as I've spent many hours over the last 30 years being loved so so well within the walls of the Wolf home. My family has shared Thanksgivings, baby and wedding showers, birthdays, a wedding, and so much more with the Wolfs. They have been great stewards of this warm and welcoming home they've been given and I am so fortunate to have been one of the recipients.

Thanksgiving 2014 - The whole Wolf gang

Thanksgiving 2014 - The whole Wolf gang

Packing up the memories

 

There often comes a time in all our lives or our loved one's lives when we have to say goodbye to the place we've called home.


This is never an easy transition for multiple reasons. In this particular case, the homeowner needed assistance with everyday life and wasn't able to live on her own any longer. Not being able to take much with her, her daughter and son-in-law have been left with the task of clearing out the remaining items from her former home. However, they have busy lives of their own both working and raising two active school age children. After almost 6 months of the condo sitting untouched, waiting to be gone through, HYD got the call to help.


This situation is all too familiar to so many folks. A parent's home filled with memories, trinkets, collections, photographs, furniture (both valuable and not), attics, that are so overwhelming to go through. In this case, we've been able to go through every cabinet, dresser drawer, bookshelf, box, closet, trunk, and room to categorize, label, box up, and create order so that when the daughter and son-in-law come, they can easily decide what to keep, what to sell, and what to donate. 

HYD feels honored to be trusted with such an important job which is why we take such care with each object we touch, paper we read, photo we categorize, and memory we help to preserve. It all stays confidential and our clients can feel safe knowing that we will find the right home(s) for any items they choose not to hold on to.

This particular homeowner is a very talented artist. We thought you'd enjoy just a few treasures we found as we organized her belongings. The first is her "Ideal Wardrobe" handmade book from the late 1940s. The latter photos are just a couple of the many wonderful sketches and prints we found. Enjoy...


Thanks so much for coming along with HYD as we journey through our clients' stories and memories. It is a job we cherish and look forward to each day. If you have any questions or interest in learning how we might help you or a loved one with transitioning into a new home, please don't ever hesitate to call or email us at 865.245.9080 or info@helpyoudwell.com.

We've also updated our website in a few places to describe in more detail how and what HYD can assist with especially related to estate transitions and organized moving and unpacking.

And as always, feel free to drop by The Hive to visit us anytime we're in!

Doing Wonders with a Covered Wagon

We had the privilege to sit down with Buddy and Kathie Odom last week to see their beautiful Fountain City home and to get a glimpse into their philosophy of life at home and creating in and around it.

We've always begun our home interviews with the question, "What does home mean to you?" We weren't expecting the answer that followed but if you've spent any time with the Odoms, you know that an unexpected answer is what to expect.

"This isn't our home. We live in a covered wagon," says Buddy. What he means is; the house, the objects in it; they have meaning, they contain beauty, but that's not the make up of "home" to the Odoms. In a sense, the Odoms treat their house as a vessel, a place that fosters creativity, but they strongly believe that home truly is not made of material things. And Buddy says that Kathie "can do wonders with a covered wagon."

Kathie is an accomplished and well-known plein air artist but prior to diving into art as a career, she explained that in the past, her house had become a canvas because she wasn't yet practicing the art that she was created to do. "Plein air has given me the ability to create on canvas so it's lessened the intensity of the desire to rearrange and redecorate my home."

Kathie's Art Studio

Kathie's Art Studio

Speaking of Kathie's art, one extension of their house is the studio out back that Buddy built for Kathie. The walls, lovingly and cleverly made of horizontal cedar boards, are covered with her creations. Once a piece is ready for the wall, the nail goes right in and up goes her next creation. Just walking in you are taken to all sorts places: Seaside, the Smoky Mountains, farmers' markets, old barns in New England, quiet streams, and so much more. It's so obvious her gift with the brush gives her such great pleasure.  She gets giddy explaining her painting experiences as passers-by ask her about her work, pray for her, or ask to buy the work right off the easel. Tucked away behind a shelf were her countless awards, but it's clear the experience itself is her greatest reward. There wasn't a corner of the studio that we didn't love. Each item has a purpose and a home.


Back in the main house, Buddy and Kathie have a story for every item inside from countless pieces of furniture that belonged to various relatives, to a mason jar of dirt gathered from the garden of a previous home they lived in. Buddy and Kathie spent a good amount of time learning to dwell together in that garden in a season of life where they were empty nesters, a season where things in life were slowing down. Buddy added that each part of the garden reminded him to pray for a different person. They had weddings, rehearsal dinners, and birthday celebrations in the garden. The jar of dirt holds a lot of meaning, a lot of life. Buddy and Kathie have found in recent years that their current home has given them the opportunity to be creative together. They have learned to let themselves dream.

More than anything, the Odoms create a sense of comfort in their home. Kathie's desire is for her home to feel livable and not so perfect that you feel like you can't touch anything. Kathie talks about her relationship to their home and their belongings as "good ole friends", each item bringing back a flood of memories. They agree that it's best to only be 90% organized. Kathie recalled a time when she felt much more pressure to present her home in a certain way. She has found over time that she and her guests seem to enjoy her home more when it doesn't appear perfect.

As HYD spent time reflecting on this visit, we came away encouraged, educated, and grateful for our time spent on Gibbs Drive. The Odoms invite one in to a peaceful, ordered space that immediately takes the pressure off. It's obvious that homemaking is a team effort in their house and their gifts compliment one another beautifully. Buddy's attention to order and Kathie's love of color and texture allow for guests to make themselves at home no matter where their wagon lands.


HYD is excited to announce that Kathie will be hosting her "Cabin Fever Oil Painting Workshop" at The Hive in February 2016. This would make a fabulous Christmas gift for the painter on your list. For more information, just click here.