E's Graceful Time Capsule

E's Graceful Time Capsule

Dabney Frake
Apr 1, 2015
(Image credit: Danube66 under CC BY 2.0)

Name: E
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Size: 17,500 square feet
Years lived in: 20 years; owned

When E bought his home, he was looking for privacy and this 1930s house, situated on 14 acres, fit the bill. Over 20 years, it's become a safe haven where he can relax with his parents, wife, and daughter (all of whom have lived with him at some point), entertain friends, and take advantage of everything the place offers. Although E travels a lot for work, he loves coming home for the holidays, enjoying a home-cooked Southern meal, and playing poker in the dining room with buddies.

Although it's a decidedly large home, whose house exterior looks expansive, the actual space has relatively small rooms and low ceilings — especially downstairs. Unlike popular open floor living plans, or the soaring vaulted ceilings of more modern homes, it feels intimate and modest inside instead of overly grand.

(Image credit: Deena's Days)

E travels quite a bit, and wasn't around during the initial renovations. He left his parents to take care of business in his absence. It was only supposed to take three weeks to make necessary changes before he first moved in. But, like most remodels, it took a month longer than expected. Still he was thrilled with the result and continued to make changes over the years, adding more features to both the house and to the large outdoor grounds.

(Image credit: Danube66)

The house is always buzzing with activity, and E loves being the center of attention when friends and family visit. The huge long sofa (fifteen feet!) is perfect for gathering large numbers of people together. He's also been known to move into the adjoining room to play the piano during parties to entertain guests.

As open as the home is, E never lets guests go upstairs to the family bedrooms, as he considers it a private space that visitors don't need to see.

(Image credit: Danube66)

After separating and divorcing his wife, E renovated the basement, creating a lavishly decorated series of "man caves" downstairs, complete with the latest technology, a custom bar, game room, billiards table, and even a water feature.

(Image credit: Christies)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Colonial Revival meets Mid Century

Favorite Element: The living room has two stained glass features featuring colorful peacocks, a symbol of eternal life. I've always been drawn to the birds (and even have an outfit to match)!

Biggest Challenge: My mother helped me decorate, and I had to compromise somewhat on my taste. I originally wanted purple walls with white corduroy drapes in the living and dining rooms, but she persuaded me to choose something more tasteful and subdued.

What Friends Say: Not everybody gets my personal style. I have tons of people who visit every year. I don't know exactly what they say about the place, although I know they enjoy it, even if they don't understand my taste.

Proudest DIY: I'm not much of a DIY guy. I hired an interior decorator to design the entire home, and just made certain requests based on what I wanted. Like a black bedroom with a white shag bed.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably the Meditation Garden, which was designed and built by architect Bernard Grenadier, which I visit when I need to think about particular problems or issues that crop up in my life. It contains a circular pool with fountains and a set of white columns and pergola on one side.

Best Advice: “When things go wrong, don't go with them.”



  • 15-foot sofa is custom made for the space
  • Peacock stained glass by Laukuf Stained Glass


  • The chandelier was already in the dining room when I bought the home, so I left it.


  • I stumbled across the carved wood Polynesian-style furniture at a local store and loved that it reminded me of Hawaii, where I've spent a lot of time. So I bought in on a whim (and also thought it would piss off my dad). This room has since become a favorite of mine as a result.

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Thank you very much, E!

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