By Jamie Sears Rawlings
Photography BY Mark McCoy
Paducah optometrist Dr. Jennifer Gibson wanted to live in the city. She and her husband Jared had gotten married, opened their practice, and bought and sold a house, all in two years. The couple was looking for a place to land and rest from all of the activity, and Jennifer wanted that place to be in the city. Despite that, she had her eye on a lovely brick charmer that was close to her in-laws' house in Graves County.
"When we would pass this house I would think, 'I could live there,'" Jennifer recalls. What attracted Jennifer to the house, she cannot say. Located on 8 beautiful acres with a picturesque barn and an in-ground pool and surrounded by 150 acres of idyllic farmland, the 3,200 square foot brick house looks like a page straight out of Country Living Magazine. Perhaps in a bit of serendipity, the house came on the market at just the perfect time for the couple, and they made an offer without Jared even visiting it.
Despite the attraction, Jennifer and Jared quickly realized that the house would need some remodeling.
They started by turning the existing dining room into a guest bedroom and cutting an entry into a bathroom so that all three bedrooms in the house had an attached bathroom.
Then they attacked the "heart of the home" in a Fixer Upper style renovation, opening up walls, and installing custom two-toned cabinets by Danny Keeling Custom Cabinets and new appliances from Fergusons.
According to Jennifer, there was much tinkering over the layout of the galley-style kitchen, but she never wavered on one part.
"Jared and I sit down and eat dinner together every night at a table," she says. "That's what we've always done, so it was important to me in the renovation to have a traditional kitchen table rather than a bar or island with seating."
The result: a beautiful, custom-built kitchen table that acts as a focal point for the kitchen.
Another aspect that Jennifer was steadfast on: lighting.
Despite the natural light coming in from the beautiful window overlooking their front lawn, Jennifer knew that they needed more, for one reason.
"My father is visually impaired and I wanted him to be as comfortable as possible when he came to our house," she says, adding that she even had to reduce the number of lights that she originally wanted.
Another important addition for Jennifer was the wet bar that was added between the kitchen and laundry room.
She admits that it's her second favorite part of the whole home and says that its use goes way beyond entertaining for the family: the built-in ice maker is key for the days that they enjoy by the pool or for Jared to fill up his cooler before he goes hunting.
The Gibsons found a room in their home for Jared -- an avid hunter and outdoorsman -- to celebrate just that.
His "man cave" is complete with a large-screen television, an antique bar and plush couches, all of which overlook several mounted whitetail deer and a mounted turkey.
According to Jennifer, it's the "place to be" on Sundays during football season.
Jared may have his own space in the house, but at the opposite end is a room that is distinctly Jennifer's, and it's no wonder that she claims it as her favorite place in the house. The couple's dining room sits at the bottom of the beautiful staircase in a nook of pure Southern charm. An elegant round dining table that is large enough for six guests is surrounded by antique china, which belonged to her grandmother, and a whole set of pink Depression Glassware, a gift from her aunt when she passed away. All of the glassware serves as more than decoration for Jennifer.
"Every time I'm in here, I think of those two ladies," she says. "And, oh my gosh, they would die if they saw all of it in here."
Her grandmother's china cabinet stands guard in the corner, further blending the old and new décor in the room. For Jennifer, the piece is dearer to her heart than any other she owns.
"It still smells like her," she says, admitting that sometimes she goes and visits it just to take time to pay remembrance to her grandmother.
The china cabinet is not the lone antique in their house. Jennifer has mixed in several old pieces, including a stunning mirrored dresser that belonged to Jared's great-grandmother, with newer pieces in a style that she calls a French Country mix.
"I'm a doctor, I don't know much about design," she admits. "I just know what I like."
Much of the décor and design elements of the home were sourced locally, with Jennifer leaning heavily on Gilliam Thompson Furniture in Mayfield for unique pieces to lay atop the Brazilian hardwood from Goodman Lumber which runs throughout the home. Now that the remodel is complete, Jennifer couldn't be happier that they chose to live in the country. As the couple's three dogs romp around in the yard, she spills a secret.
"I don't tell Jared this, but I am so glad that we ended up in the country like he wanted," she says. "This is where we were meant to be." n