Winding roads lead to the top of Lookout Mountain and into the newly developed Brow Wood community. Modern, woodsy homes line the paved streets, and oak, pine, and poplar trees create a shady cul-de-sac. Nestled among the natural surroundings is the home of Ray and Betty Fox, who moved to this location a few months ago. “I love the concept of this community,” says Ray. “We’re all generally in the same age group and have the same values and background.”
At the Foxes’ house, built by GenTech Construction, a stone front porch makes way for a tall speakeasy door, creating an Old World entrance to this classic Craftsman home. In the entryway, antiques line the walls, and a staircase flows from the second floor, inviting guests upstairs.
“Everything but one piece in the house is American-made.” – Ray Fox
Through the hall to the living room, more evidence of the Craftsman influence is found. Windows with three panes above them, thick-trimmed walls, and a Mission-style clock on the mantle accentuate a traditional Craftsman build. Various pieces of Victorian and antique wood furniture further highlight the home’s decor. After retirement, Ray worked as a buyer for anantiques store on Signal Mountain, and he has curated a home filled with century-old, American-made furniture. “Everything but one piece in the house is American-made. We have one English piece, but everything else as far as I know is American,” explains Ray.
In the living room, the mantle is the showpiece. “We bought it, and I said ‘Wherever we go, it’s going with us,’” Ray says. Bought in pieces, the oak mantle was assembled and built up to surround the home’s gas fireplace. It’s complete with a fox motif in the middle, a recurring theme throughout the home. Next to the mantle, a piano that the Foxes have owned since the 1960s rests near the wall. It is frequently played by Betty. “I don’t know that he enjoys listening to it, but I bang around on it!” she jokes. A Tiffany glass-inspired overhead light fixture illuminates the space, and an organ from Ray’s family now serves as a desk area.
Beyond the living room, a sunroom features three walls of windows with views of the valley below. Originally, tall trees studded the back yard, but they were removed for a more sweeping view. “Why live on the Brow if you don’t have a view,” Betty says, noting that the daily sunsets are a special aspect of their new home. “They’re absolutely magnificent. The whole sky just glows red.”
“I was living here in my vision before it was built.”
– Ray Fox
In the kitchen, the Foxes opted out of a center island to keep a free-flowing pathway. Instead, an antique breakfast nook provides a cozy place to gather for casual meals. Stainless steel appliances were chosen for optimal meal prep, as the couple enjoys cooking at home as much as possible. “I cooked for 50-something years and decided he should try. He’s really good,” says Betty. “I thought it was a hidden talent that he needed to cultivate.” Dark countertops, called peacock granite, feature various colors when looked at closely and add a special touch to the room.
Nearby, the dining room is painted a soothing juniper green. Unique pieces, like a sugar chest made by Ray’s great-great-grandfather and a tea cart that belonged to Betty’s grandmother, fill the room with memories. A painting depicting a fox hunt hangs on the wall above a buffet table.
Upstairs, a TV area features plush leather furniture and a TV chest handcrafted by Ray from cherry wood. Nearby, a guest bedroom houses special pieces such as the Jenny Lind bed that Ray slept on as a child. Other vintage furniture pieces outfit the room, such as a dovetailed dresser dating back to the 1800s and a cranberry Victorian lamp.
In the downstairs master bedroom, mint green walls convey a relaxed tone, while a four-poster bed balances the space. Family photos on the wall show the couple and their children in years past, adding a special touch to a home full of memorable items. Attached is a master bathroom that is set off by a walk-in shower with glass panels, robin’s egg blue walls, and the same stunning granite used in the kitchen.
While the Foxes have only lived in their bungalow on the Brow for a short while, it already feels like home. “I was telling Betty this morning that I’ve lived in this house before,” says Ray. “I was living here in my vision before it was built.”