Terry Stafford grew up in Chatham, Va., before bringing her Southern lifestyle to Abingdon some 28 years ago. Of her dream house, she proudly remarks, "Everybody who comes into this house says it should be in Southern Living magazine."
That was her plan all along when the builder she worked for designed a three-gabled, Colonial-style home for her and husband, Jim Boyd, for which they paid just under $750,000.
A licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty and the host for 20 years of the WCBM talk radio show "All About Real Estate," Stafford, 64, insisted that her home fit the couple's lifestyle.
"One of the things I liked most about the floor plan was the front and back stairs," she said, of the 5,000-square-foot home. "I grew up with friends who had two sets of stairs, and we would slip up and down the back stairs during our mothers' bridge parties."
The distinguishing architectural touches and accessories that define the couple's Southern lifestyle include columns at the entrances to the formal rooms, shuttered groupings of bay windows, plantation blinds, French doors and latticed wicker porch furniture.
Stafford chose a light, creamy shade of yellow for all the walls in her five-bedroom home. The idea was to create a bright, peaceful ambience throughout, while drawing attention to the rich woods of the furniture and the artwork, crystal, large tropical plants and formal flower arrangements.
The two-story foyer is graced with a solid brass and crystal chandelier. A family sampler dated 1823 occupies a place of honor on a side wall, along with a framed fan from China, another inherited piece. Both point to the couple's respect for family history and offer a taste of more inherited treasures to be found in other areas of the home.
The formal living room, off of the foyer, is decorated with a pair of Queen Anne-style chairs flanking an antique mahogany table on which is displayed a bronze bust of Stonewall Jackson. Both are family heirlooms, along with a walnut marble-top coffee table from a family friend's estate.
The formal dining room showcases Waterford crystal displayed in a glass china cabinet inherited from her husband's family. A pair of tall silver candlestick lamps and elaborate arrangements of seasonal flowers flank a silver punch bowl service on the buffet.
But Stafford said the couple most enjoys spending time in the casually elegant area of their home that includes a light-filled kitchen, family room and Southern-style porch addition.
"We spend most of our time, year-round, in the back of our home, with our feet on the furniture and the dog on the sofa," said Stafford.
Cherry cabinets, granite countertops, marble backsplashes and stainless-steel appliances mark the decor of the kitchen, where an old maple hutch houses volumes of cookbooks, including a 1950 edition of Gourmet Cookbook and a 1970s edition of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."
As in the dining room, columns open to the family room, where traditional furniture has been blended with antique pieces that include a 200-year-old corner cabinet, another family heirloom, and an old crank Victrola her 66-year-old husband, an electrical engineer, inherited from his family. Other inherited pieces here include a spool cabinet, a coffee grinder that was made into a lamp 70 years ago, a family clock and signed Ducks Unlimited prints hanging on the wall.
Adjacent to the family room, the home's standout is the screened-in porch, where Stafford and her husband "relax and soak in its calming atmosphere." Also accessible from the kitchen, this area exudes Southern grace and charm. Wicker pieces — two chairs, a sofa and chaise lounge and glass-topped tables — invite visitors for relaxing conversation, perhaps while sipping tall glasses of iced tea.
From here, visitors can also look over the gardens, which after years of careful attention are equally inviting.
"When we moved in, the backyard was nothing but wild roses, poison ivy and trash that had been dumped [such as] an old discarded rotten deck, shoes, rotten pumpkins and tons of bottles and beer cans," Stafford said.
Now there are several sitting and dining areas with wrought-iron furniture accompanied by flowers, herbs and vegetables, potted shrubs and trees, and a three-tiered fountain.
Whether inside or outdoors, Stafford is sure of two things: "this home is made for laughter and friends."
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Dream entertaining: "Our home is fun and relaxing," Terry Stafford noted. "[It] flows, and that is one of the wonderful things we love about it. We love entertaining and having friends over, even though we don't do it nearly often enough. The largest party we have ever had was 125 people one Christmas. We have formal seated dinner parties copied from my mother's graceful Southern style, as well as very casual dinner parties in our outdoor dining room."
Dream room: Stafford calls the screened-in porch, which she added two years after the home was completed, her favorite. "It was modeled," she said, "after a home on Sullivan's Island in Charleston, S.C., where [my] sons Randolph and Landon lived. Jim and I just loved the openness there."
Dream collections: Stafford prizes her crystal and chandeliers. The outdoor dining area even has a working chandelier suspended from the trees above the table. Each of the five bedrooms is also illuminated with hanging chandeliers. "We have been given complete sets of crystal, and we love to go 'junktiquing' and run across a find to add to ours," she said.