A French Country Family Home

By Katie Faulkner  |  Photography by Philip Slowiak

For over 12 years, the Carroll family has called this stunning French country masterpiece home. “When we began looking for a new house, we were immediately drawn to this one because it has great bones and was laid out to be a great family home,” Talley confirms. She and her husband Dan spent the next decade or more raising their two children and making updates to the house. The result is a uniquely designed, warm and inviting abode.

french style family home chattanooga foyerBuilt in the 1930s, the steep peaked gables and weathered white brick evoke an established, old-world aesthetic which is reinforced by the home’s surroundings. Lichen-covered wooden fencing surrounds the lush green lawn, where craggy boulders and day lilies protrude amongst mature oak trees. A herringbone brick pathway leads to the lantern-flanked arched entrance.

Stepping inside, a cozy library is to the right of the foyer. Enveloped in a warm red glow from the bay window’s draperies, the walls are covered in floor-to-ceiling book spines. “I love to read,” Talley shares. “It is one of my greatest passions.” To the left of the foyer is a quaint powder room with a black and white basketweave tile floor that is original to the house. And past the stairwell is the heart of the house.

Moving further inside, beyond the stairs, is the family room which is open to the kitchen. “This is definitely where we spend the most time. We’ll pile in here to watch movies, or someone will hang out in here while others are in the kitchen, but we’re all still together,” Talley explains. “I love to have people over, and about once a week, I’ll text one of my dear friends who lives nearby and say, ‘Ready for a wine visit?’”

In the family room, new plush furniture in vibrant colors and patterns creates a surprising and light-hearted aesthetic in this otherwise traditional home. “We try to be very intentional about keeping get-togethers casual and easy. We don’t need things to be a big production to have fun, and we want our guests to be as comfortable as they would at their own house, so they enjoy their time here,” Talley says.

A recent kitchen remodel removed two large tapered columns that divided the family room from the kitchen, so now, the whole kitchen is visible. Stunning new white cabinetry and state-of-the-art appliances create a pleasant work space. In the spacious U-shaped layout, the Carrolls opted for a table, rather than an island in the center of the room. It can be used as a work space, seating for family dinners, or can be moved if needed. “We chose the table because we thought it created a warmer look and was more inviting,” Talley says. The flooring accentuates this feature with an inlaid, white marble basketweave tile positioned underneath.

Moving through to the more formal spaces in the home, a full dining room is furnished with beautiful antique wooden furniture. The carved ladder back and cane chairs add a feeling of charm to the elevated space. “I’m actually very traditional in style,” Talley explains. “But I do like to add some surprises throughout,” she says in reference to the more modern shell chandelier. Fringed slip-covered Parsons chairs punctuate the heads of the table, while a Queen Anne-style buffet sits in front of the window. On the wall next to the buffet is Talley’s wedding bouquet, arranged into a wreath and framed in a gold shadow box.

Tapered columns create an archway entrance to the living room and add a sense of arts and crafts interiors. In the formal living room, a few more surprising features are evidence of Talley’s penchant for fun. Tiger-striped upholstery intermingles with plush leather and polished wood. Flanking the fireplace are two of Talley’s favorite pieces in the home. “I love the paintings of the children that I had commissioned when they were about the same age.” A serene light blue washes the walls, connecting this room to the expanded outdoor living area. Beautiful French doors open to a slate terrace.

“We really expanded this area. Dan had a vision for what he wanted this space to be for many years, and we finally accomplished it a few years ago,” Talley shares. Originally, the porch had been enclosed as another room of the house. “It was really dark and limiting,” Talley explains. They decided to open it, expand the size, and cover it, adding skylights to the roof to ensure the space would not be dark anymore. Now it’s a favorite place for entertaining and quality time. With a television and seating area arranged against the house, a spacious grilling set-up, multiple tables, and a firepit patio below, the renovated area is one of Dan’s favorite places to spend time. Talley also finds herself outside during nice weather, sipping wine and reading a good book.

Back inside, up the stairs are the master bedroom and kids’ rooms. In the master, the same serene shade of blue creates a relaxing retreat. Traditional furnishings, like the sleigh bed, are cloaked in soothing neutral linens. The Carrolls also remodeled the upstairs and gave their master suite some much needed space. A sitting and bathroom expansion created new vignettes for relaxing.

Walking through the master bathroom, first is a corridor with a vanity and marble-wrapped shower. Continuing through, the room opens up to a spacious sitting area, complete with a free-standing soaking bathtub in the windowed corner, and a long marble vanity. “This is kind of my space,” Talley says. “I do a lot of reading in here, and it’s my quiet place.”

Dan and Talley Carroll with their children, Reed and Wes, and their dog, Sullivan

With Talley’s parents around the corner, the kids’ previous school down the street, and plenty of family and friends nearby, this home has consistently been filled with fun get-togethers and pleasant family days. A lifetime of family memories fills the home and, together, Dan and Talley have worked hard to shape it into the home of their dreams. CS

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