By Candice Graham
Photos By Beacon Imagery
One of the first houses built on Lookout Mountain, this stately stunner was recently reinvigorated by the Redberg family, making it a residence bursting with whimsy and tied to traditionalism.
“We used to drive around the mountain and my husband would always point to this house and say, ‘If it ever goes on the market, I want to see it,’” explains Melinda Redberg. “And sure enough, one day it did.”
With three daughters who attended nearby Covenant College, the Redbergs made the move to Lookout from California so that their two young sons could grow up surrounded by siblings. But before settling in, they made major renovations.
“We were really able to start from scratch,” says Melinda. Six months of renovations resulted in what is today a whimsical aesthetic expertly woven into a home steeped in tradition.
A sweeping foyer was once blanketed in thick carpet but now reveals century-old maple floors, that at the longest span run up to 16 feet uninterrupted. Curated pieces from the couple’s travels fill the space, like the round table purchased in an antique store in Morocco. Dark brown wood paneling was painted in high-gloss white – a nod to the walls the family admires in estates on trips to England. A fireplace, which was converted to gas, warms the room in wintertime.
To the left of the entrance is an informal dining area and a casual seating space, which once was a grand dining hall. “This was a difficult area because the formal dining room was so huge. So I chopped it up,” says Melinda. Much more approachable than a vast dining room, it’s now a relaxed area with an airy feel. Walls painted a silver sage tone add a feather-light look and are adorned with vintage plates. “I’m surprised at how much we use this room. My son will play chess here and my daughter will come over to study,” Melinda adds.
Situated nearby, a sky-and-clouds colored kitchen and butler’s pantry were designed and completely renovated by Jackie Howard at Scarlett’s Cabinetry. Previously small and ill-suited for a family of seven, the kitchen now features an open floorplan, bright windows, and an accommodating island. With plenty of family nearby to feed and two son-in-laws who love to cook, the kitchen sees lots of action, from family dinners to friendly gatherings. “When the girls were at Covenant we’d make dinner every two weeks and we’d have about 35 girls come over,” Melinda recalls. With ample space to accommodate everyone, the kitchen has a large center island with a soapstone top from The Tile Store and five barstools.
Marble perimeter cabinetry brings a refreshingly modern touch, as does expertly appointed concealed appliances.
The butler’s pantry contains a beverage station, complete with a concealed wine refrigerator that houses easily accessible snacks and drinks for her young sons. A farmhouse sink and abundant cabinetry storage makes the small space a much-used station.
A sense of symmetry was created in the family room to the right of the entryway. Sanctioned off by two identical rugs and partitioned by a modular oversized ottoman, the room was brought down to scale by being broken up into distinct sections. To one side, a TV lounge was created and contains dark leather couches and an ornate orange chair. To the other side, an English study aesthetic is layered in antiques. A wall of built-in bookshelves contains old books, leather and plaid chairs flank a brick fireplace, and a moody English painting hangs on the wall. Doors were created in the room to lead to the outside patio and wide windows brighten the rich charcoal walls.
The master bedroom was similarly broken up, with a blue and white rug defining a cozy lounging space. “I have really whimsical pieces,” says Melinda. “I started with all my walls being very mellow, but I had to go for some pops.” One of the main pops of color comes through in the bold orange chair, which was Melinda’s starting point for the room. With a statement chair, she made muted, complementary choices for the remaining furniture, like the pewter velvet couch. A wooden chandelier brings an earthy touch to the bright space and blends with the bed and dresser. Funky touches like an overturned wire crate turned coffee table add a sense of enchantment.
The master bathroom was once a second-level porch but had long ago been converted to an indoor area. White painted stones and lots of natural light helps the space maintain its forest-like charm. Faux marble is used on the wall and floor, and standalone sink bowls rest atop two matching dressers.
Outside, the house beams with restored pride. Local orchard knob stone gives a stately look and is used on only six other homes on the mountain. Plenty of relaxed seating, set among lush evergreens and potted flowers, makes both the front and side porch a serenity-filled part of the home.
“Last summer, the kids were playing Frisbee in the yard and the fireflies were lighting up,” Melinda says. “I told my husband, ‘If there’s ever a magical moment, this is it right now.’”