A Cleveland Classic

By Katie Faulkner

 Photography by Beacon Imagery

For Tucker and Cheryl Duncan, Cleveland is home. And in their spacious 1926 home on Ocoee Street, they enjoy the vibrant and cheerful downtown atmosphere of their beloved hometown. With traditional décor and enough updates to be functional while still retaining its historic charm, this home is a stunner!

It’s a pretty updated home, but it’s also retained several historic touches, which I love. So for me it has the best of both worlds.

– Tucker Duncan


The home’s notably symmetrical appearance is accomplished with twin sunrooms that flank the main house. Neo-classical, gothic, and Doric architectural elements compose a uniquely cohesive style. Approaching the curved and columned front entrance, the gothic features are immediately apparent in the arched stonework and drip molds above the windows. The paneled front door is framed with double crown moulding for a touch of neo-classicism while the decorative carving of the trim and style of the entrance’s columns are more Doric. “I really like the gothic elements in the front of the home. They’re one of the first things that drew me to it,” Tucker explains.

Once inside the front door, your eyes are treated to the grand oak staircase that reaches to a landing where an arched cut-glass window fragments sparkling sunlight across the floor. To the left of the staircase, you walk through the formal dining room, draped in yellow-gold toile wall paper. It houses a cherry Queen Anne dining room suite and is dramatically lit by a crystal chandelier. Through the dining room, you enter the open, remodeled kitchen and family room.

When Tucker purchased the home in 2000, it needed very little work or updating. “The previous owners actually did a huge renovation back around 1997, so it was in great shape and all of the electrical and plumbing was up to date,” Tucker explains. However, over the last 17 years that he and his family have lived here, they’ve only undertaken a few remodeling projects.

The kitchen was one of the rooms that the Duncans have remodeled. Cheryl updated it just a few years ago, adding white, show front cabinets, a generous cherry wood topped island, a gourmet gas-burner cook top, and a white tile backsplash.  Granite countertops that pull all the colors of the room together are a perfect finishing touch. “It’s a pretty updated home, but it’s also retained several historic touches, which I love. So for me it has the best of both worlds,” Tucker smiles.

The floor plan between the kitchen and family room is open, with an eat-in breakfast nook in between. “This is definitely where we spend the most time. The kids are always in and out of those doors,” Tucker says, gesturing to the windowed French doors of the family room. The rich greens and reds of this room accentuate the traditional style. Plush leather furniture, plaid, and dark wood continue the elevated theme.

The doors and numerous windows on the back of the house showcase the Duncan’s vibrant green back yard, complete with a detached carriage house for over-night guests. The lush backyard creates an idyllic backdrop for the cozy family room.

To the right of the staircase you can find the formal sitting room, piano room, and Tucker’s office where the same color scheme is played upon with varied nuances. In the sitting room, there is a more feminine flare to the décor, with red and gold botanical print patterns and more ornately carved furniture. Tucker’s grandfather’s desk is a treasured heirloom in the corner of this space. “He was the county clerk for Bradley County, and this was the desk where he sat in the original courthouse downtown,” Tucker explains, lifting the perfectly preserved roll-top. His appreciation for history is evidenced, not just by his choice of house, but also by his collection of framed post-cards throughout the home. Original photos of Cleveland’s downtown and many other historic Southern towns, such as Savannah and Charlestown adorn the Duncans’ walls. This room also boasts a wood-burning fireplace and views of both the front and back of the house. “This is where we have holidays. The kids get to unwrap presents by the fireplace. It’s really nice to get to do that in here,” says Tucker.

Upstairs, all three children have their own rooms, and the master suite is down the hallway. Simple elegance defines the master suite, with rich materials taking the lead. Original wood floors are highlighted with a soft color palette. A step-up leads to a semi-private sitting area, ensconced by windows that allow a stunning view of the beautiful downtown street.

The idyllic street is lined with more historic homes and large, older Oak trees. The Duncans live just two houses down from Tucker’s mother, and often the kids can ride their bikes down the street, or Cheryl and Tucker can walk over for a visit. The sense of history that lives in the Duncans’ house has been preserved since the original builders, the Hardwick-Corn family, lived here. For Tucker, that tie to his hometown’s history only adds to the charm of their home. “I’m a third generation Clevelander and my kids are fourth generation, so this is home. We love living downtown – you can walk to everything, it’s so convenient. I know it’s a smaller town, but Cleveland holds its own!”

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