A Home Rich in History

A family-infused historic home showcases beautiful renovations as well as memorable congregations.

By Katie Faulkner | Photography by Philip Slowiak

This classic Georgian stunner has been lovingly restored and updated by Roger and Patti Jenne over the past forty years. Here, they have built decades of memories with their growing family. After both graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, they ended up in Cleveland, met, married, and had three children. Their kids now come visit with children of their own, and all three children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren enjoy family dinners, birthday celebrations, holidays, and more in this historic home.

Walking into the home, the formal living room is to one side of the door. In this room, a stunning early 19th century French oil painting sets the tone for the Jennes’ décor style. This painting is one of the Jennes’ favorites. “We both really love it. It’s just beautiful, and that seemed like the perfect place to display it;” Roger says of the large artwork hanging over the sofa. A bench seat cushion and ornately carved wooden frame denote the sofa’s age and quality. Other traditional stylings in this room offer a charming retreat for guests and visitors when the Jennes are entertaining. The carefully curated antiques create a cohesive ambiance and identity for not just this room but also the entire home.

With a table that can easily seat eight, but often holds many more, the dining room serves as the perfect gathering place for family. “We like to have the kids over as often as everyone can make it. We do different things. Sometimes it’s a Sunday dinner or birthday get-together. Or for example, our second-oldest grandchild will be going off to college this fall, so we’ll have a send-off dinner for him before he leaves. Just any reason to get together will do,” Patti says.

For other family events, like Patti’s family reunion, which the Jennes host every year, or the annual Jenne Christmas family gathering, this room is overflowing. Patti says, “When all of the immediate family gets together, there’s 15 of us. For things like the family reunion, there are over 30 of us. We’ve had all kinds of themes – pajama Christmas parties, reunions where we all had to dress up like hippies, or the 1950s – it’s a treat to have everyone over.”

Directly through the dining room door, you enter the spacious, remodeled kitchen. In this room, Patti and various family members have spent hours preparing treats and meals for large groups of friends and family. Beveled edge black granite countertops break up the white, traditional cabinetry nicely. The statement piece is the wall-to-wall copper backsplash. It lends a rich, Southern aesthetic to this room full of family memories and heritage. The island adds ample work surface and houses the cooktop while also lending even more cabinetry storage space. “I do spend a lot of time in here because I love to cook for the family,” Patti shares.

Just off the kitchen is a cozy little keeping room where Roger and Patti like to enjoy their morning coffee, and to another side is the breakfast room where less formal meals are usually held. “That table was my grandmother’s, so I grew up sharing family dinners around it. It’s very special to me,” Patti says.

While they like to have their coffee and read the paper in the keeping room, they usually find themselves tucked into the study for evening reading and television watching. Roger says, “That room is one of my favorites. It’s just very comfortable, and I love the wall paneling and the art we have in there.” In addition to the wooden walls and sumptuous leather furniture, the fireplace is wood burning, adding to the coziness of this retreat.

Upstairs is the master suite, which features the spacious master bedroom and a freshly renovated master bathroom. Grounding the master bedroom is the home’s largest, breathtaking Parisian Bakhtiari rug. Truly a marvel for collectors, the Jennes let this rug take center stage in the space. It is complemented by light-colored bedding on a traditional four-poster bed, and neutral-toned furniture in the sitting area. Fun patterns in the upholstery play off the theme of the multipatterned rug.

The adjoining bathroom is tiled in marble honeycombs and feels like a refreshing spa in white and blue tones. A luxuriant shower continues with the same flooring and is walled in white subway tiles and glass. Two large rain shower heads and a wall-mounted shower head help make this shower a relaxing experience.

From the downstairs butler’s pantry, there is a walk-out hallway to what the family has affectionately dubbed “The Oasis.” This outdoor area features a picturesque pool and fountain, a vine-covered pergola, and a shady porch. Bordering the entire space is an English-style garden, with blooms and shade plants carefully selected and planted by Roger and Patti. “We definitely get help maintaining it, but we love to plan and plant what goes in back here. The entire family enjoys the space throughout all of the nice weather months. Roger confirms, “Often, in the spring, summer, and early fall, a lot of our gatherings are held out in the pool area, so we like to grill hamburgers and hot dogs. And the kids like to come over and play in the pool and relax.”

Just below the pool plateau is a croquet court. “We used to host an annual tournament, but we’ve gotten away from doing that. However, we do still love to use the space for parties. In fact, we just hosted a croquet party and dinner by the pool to celebrate the 2018 Cleveland-Athens debutantes last weekend,” Roger shares.

Through the years of curating their antiques collection, faithfully executing renovations and updates, and honing their hosting skills, the Jennes have found that the secret to a truly beautiful home is not the furnishings you fill it with, but rather the family you fill it with. “The best thing about this home can’t be photographed,” Patti says, “because the best part is the time we all spend here together.”

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