Before, this house in East Memphis’ Sweetbrier Manor neighborhood was modern, but not completely modern. Its lines were boxy and clean, and its exterior was stucco, like many other modern East Memphis homes built in the 1980s, but its design details were muddled. “The bones were modern, but it had sort of been decorated with traditional elements,” says design director on the project, Jeff Edwards of the design firm Carlton Edwards. “There were brass lanterns at the front door and Georgian paneling around the door. There were traditional mantels and bookcases and crown molding.”

And when Jeff — who not only was involved in the home design and landscaping, but also in helping the homeowner find the house — and his client first happened upon the structure, they were underwhelmed. “We probably looked at houses for a good two years,” Jeff says. “And initially when we looked at this house, it had been on the market for a long time, and we sort of dismissed it. And then, after looking at a number of other properties we came back to it and started exploring its potential.”

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Carlton Edwards redesigned this modern East Memphis home both inside and out. The crisp white stucco exterior is interspersed with broad panes of glass that bring the outdoors in, and vice-versa. Rooms are ideally situated to take advantage of natural light and views of the landscaped property. Image: Carlton Edwards

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Flagstone sourced from East Tennessee leads to the home’s sleek front entry. The mahogany door opens to reveal a prominent mixed-media piece by local artist Maysey Craddock. Image: David Dietrich

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Flooring in the main part of the house was already concrete, but Jeff and his team sandblasted, stained and sealed them to a deep ebony finish. Where there was carpet, they replaced it with ebony-stained hardwood. Image: David Dietrich

The first task for Jeff didn’t involve addition, but subtraction. “A big part of our job was editing things away that were not appropriate,” he says. That meant that the khaki-painted exterior walls, brass lanterns and red brick front steps had to go. Jeff and his team restored the original stucco to a crisp, modern white. They replaced those red brick steps with flagstone sourced from East Tennessee that ascends gracefully to a modern entryway characterized by a wall of glass and a front door of warm mahogany.

Now, the home’s modern character shines through the entire space, and not a single design element is out of place. The house is modern and even minimalist, but that doesn’t mean it’s sparse. In fact, the beauty of this home is definitely in its detail.

Jeff and his team worked for a year and a half to restore the home and bring polish to its modern aesthetic. The first year they spent renovating the interior and exterior and rethinking the landscape. The second year, they focused on furnishings. And for that, Jeff and his team collaborated with Greg Baudoin of Greg Baudoin Interior Design.

RELATED: Interior Designer Crush: Greg Baudoin

In more ways than one, Greg and Jeff started with a clean slate. The homeowner, an empty-nester with grown children, wanted modern furnishings to complement the home’s modern lines. “They were coming from a traditional house, so they brought very little as far as furnishings go,” Jeff says. “We were going for an eclectic mix that would be modern but still warm. So we did a lot of custom-designed furniture.”

In the main living area, soft white walls are interspersed with walls of glass that offer an uninterrupted view of the woodsy backyard. On the rear terrace, a low wall with a stone top wide enough to sit on features the same stone as the front entry, creating a rhythm that unifies the front and rear façades. The terrace, as well as a Juliet balcony off the master suite, overlooks a pool that Jeff and his team likewise revamped.

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The open-concept living and dining area features stained and scored concrete floors, a mix of modern, vintage and vintage reproduction furnishings and a custom walnut and waxed steel dining table. Wall-height windows overlook the stone terrace and backyard. Image: David Dietrich

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The living room, dining room and kitchen are one large space that’s ideal for both entertaining and everyday living. The design team installed new lighting throughout the home with “the idea to keep everything very streamlined and edited down,” Jeff says. The team created light coves and integrated drapery tracks into the ceiling. Image: David Dietrich

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A powder room off the main living area has the vibe of a chic nightclub lounge, thanks to the deep-hued ceiling, artful lighting and wallpaper with a metallic sheen. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

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Carlton Edwards designed the demilune vanity with a concrete top and integrated basin. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

A mix of vintage, contemporary and reproduction pieces creates a cozy and comfortable living room. In that space, two Adrian Pearsall vintage reproduction chairs in mohair combine with a clean-lined modular sofa, a vintage armchair and a pair of benches that transition from indoors to out. The homeowners didn’t need a formal dining room, so Jeff did some reconfiguring within the home’s original footprint to create a living space well-suited to modern living.

“The kitchen was originally the formal dining room,” he says. “We took down the wall between the two and created what we call a theater-style kitchen, so it’s open for entertaining with the living and dining areas.” The dining area features a custom banquette and a custom dining table crafted from walnut and natural waxed steel. The vintage walnut dining chairs are Lawrence Peabody, sourced from Chicago and reupholstered.

A custom server divides the kitchen from the living room and offers added storage. In fact, though surfaces throughout the home are clean and uncluttered, storage space is hidden behind doors that blend so seamlessly with the walls, you hardly realize they’re there.

Edwards and his team blended marble and stainless steel on the countertops, integrated the appliances and crafted a cooking area with a professional-grade range and a steel hood and backsplash that complement the custom steel planters used in various areas of the exterior. The cabinetry was custom-fabricated by Old City Millwork.

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A custom wenge and mahogany cabinet by Old City Millwork separates the open-concept kitchen from the living and dining space. The marble-topped cabinet is versatile and multifunctional and offers plenty of storage. A custom steel backsplash and hood turn the cooking area into a focal point. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

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The lines of the island echo the lines of the custom cabinet, both designed by Old City Millwork. Carlton Edwards designed the custom bar stools at the island. Pocket doors slide closed to separate the kitchen from the scullery and media room, and a side doorway leads to an outdoor cooking space. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

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Integrated appliances and modern hardware lend this kitchen its clean, elegant lines. The space is fully open to the living area for ease of entertaining. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

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The dining area features a custom banquette, custom walnut and waxed steel dining table and vintage walnut chairs by Lawrence Peabody. The sea urchin wall art came from Greg Baudoin Interior Design. Image: David Dietrich

The Carlton Edwards team worked within the home’s original footprint, adjusting the rooms and spaces to better fit the family’s lifestyle. The original kitchen remains intact as a “scullery,” or working pantry and prep kitchen. The laundry area was moved from a closet to its own space, and a small room near the entry became a media room, complete with a large screen and a row of theater seating. In that space, Carlton Edwards and Greg Baudoin Interior Design collaborated on the framing and installation of a custom painting that wraps one corner of the room.

Artwork, in fact, was a hallmark in the home’s design.

“We helped select a number of pieces locally by artists such as Maysey Craddock, Wayne Edge and Kurt Meer,” Jeff says. “There are also some botanical photographs by local photographer Bob Laster.”

In the master suite, ebonized hardwood floors run throughout the bedroom and bath, and a custom-designed upholstered headboard emphasizes the room’s relaxing horizontal lines. A custom bench provides a perch for enjoying the sweeping view of the backyard. In the bath, a floating dual vanity rests across from a soaker tub with a custom wenge and mahogany surround. The space receives loads of natural light from the glass-panel sliding doors, which open to the Juliet balcony. A new master closet and dressing room open to an artfully hidden home office.

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The master bedroom features a restful palette of mostly soft whites. A custom bench takes advantage of a window bay that overlooks the backyard pool. The broad headboard, also custom-designed, is upholstered for softness and incorporates floating nightstands and task lighting. Image: David Dietrich

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A floating dual sink vanity gets the benefit of loads of natural sunlight that streams in through the glass paneled doors. A Juliet balcony with modern steel rails overlooks the pool and backyard. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

RELATED: 13 Must-See Memphis Master Baths

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Ebony-stained hardwood floors continue from the master bedroom and hallway into the master bath. Storage is built-in for a streamlined look. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

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A contemporary soaker tub features a custom-built wenge and mahogany surround. Greg Baudoin of Greg Baudoin Interior Design hung a row of oyster sticks as artwork, continuing the room’s clean, crisp lines and wood elements. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

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In the master shower, shimmery penny round tile is edged by tile with wood grain detail, blending seamlessly with the bathroom’s hardwood floors. Image: Jennifer Saltsman Photography

Outside, Jeff and his team designed the landscape to be low-maintenance and to provide year-round texture and color. They custom-designed privacy fences that are white to complement the architecture on the west side of the property and rich brown to recede and blend with the landscape on the east. Outside, as inside, every single detail of this home was carefully considered.

“What we really did,” Jeff says, “we updated the floor plan and livability for modern, current living.”

Thank you to Jeff Edwards of Carlton Edwards and Greg Baudoin of Greg Baudoin Interior Design for sharing your beautiful work in this gorgeous home!


Home Design: Carlton Edwards
Interior Design: Greg Baudoin of Greg Baudoin Interior Design; Jeff Edwards of Carlton Edwards
Landscape Design: Carlton Edwards
Custom cabinetry: Old City Millwork
Art: Maysey Craddock, Wayne Edge, Kurt Meer and Bob Laster


For more luxurious Southern homes check out our Homes section.

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