Bluff View Charm

Third time was the charm for Gerry and Dowling King. After living in two larger homes on Lookout Mountain, they decided to downsize and build a smaller home in Brow Wood, a planned community for active adults on Lookout.

By Rebecca Rochat

Photography by Med Dement

Full PDF here.


The Kings describe their home as “traditional,” “comfortable,” “open” and “child-friendly.” It was designed with their four children and five grandchildren in mind, and built by Dexter White Construction. The interior has traditional decor, but is also outfitted with 21st century technology from the Kings’ company, Matrix Installations. There are invisible speakers in the ceiling, remote-controlled TVs that adjust to different viewing angles, and digital wall pads that announce visitors as they arrive and control lighting, temperature, and sound. Even the kitchen has a wall-mounted iPad for playing music and controlling temperature.

The “open” part of the house includes the living room, dining room, kitchen, and den. One wing of the home contains the master suite, while the other contains a guest bedroom and bath plus an exercise room. Stairs lead to a media room and a second guest bedroom above.

From the open foyer, guests can see a sweeping view of the Western Brow of Lookout Mountain beyond the living room and back porch. Whether you are sitting or standing, it’s as if you are high among the tree tops. The home’s breathtaking view provided the inspiration for its nature-themed interior design—Dowling based all of the interior’s colors and fabrics on the greens and browns of the outdoors.  Differing shades of green are used in the living room, dining room, and bedrooms, while a chocolate brown is used in the kitchen and den.

The living room’s light green walls, coffered ceiling, and large windows create the feeling of openness and space, while oak floors and white chocolate-colored molding throughout provide a sense of continuity. Two ivory-colored sofas and a round mahogany pedestal coffee table are grouped in front of the fireplace, and recessed areas on either side of the fireplace house English-style mahogany case pieces. A bureau bookcase with a double bonnet top flanks one side of the fireplace; on the other, a chest of drawers has a serpentine front. A baby grand piano, two Queen Anne armchairs, and a mirrored screen are grouped on the far wall across from the fireplace. Just beyond, a grandfather clock made by Dowling’s father graces a small wall between the foyer and living room.

In the Kings’ square dining room, Dowling chose to pair a round pedestal mahogany table with Queen Anne side chairs. The table’s leaves can fold back for a smaller, more intimate dining experience, or expand to accommodate family and friends. A green silk string fabric covers the room’s walls, and silk draperies with a meandering floral pattern hang on the room’s double windows. The room’s other furnishings include a Hepplewhite-style sideboard and a Queen Anne-style highboy.

Like the living room, the kitchen and den make the most of the view with a bank of windows at the rear. In the kitchen, designed by Classic Cabinetry, dark Emperador leathered marble countertops complement white chocolate-colored cabinetry. A large center island has a honed Colorado Gold marble countertop on top of a dark brown base. One wall houses the refrigerator flanked by paneled cabinetry doors and cabinets, while another has a stainless steel gas range with two ovens, four gas burners, a grill, and a griddle with a chopping block insert. Danby marble subway tiling is used for the backsplash, and a recessed center section has a marble shelf for storing seasonings and oils. Along the other wall, cabinetry with glass doors is outfitted with accent lighting that highlights a display of white china and glassware.

Next to the kitchen, a built-in dining alcove with windows is furnished with a pedestal dining table and a custom-made banquette upholstered in a beige diamond-patterned fabric.

A long countertop with a sink and a raised bar separates the kitchen from the den. The den is furnished with a brown leather sofa that faces the fireplace, and two matching leather chairs situated to face the rear windows. The room also has several Chinese furnishings, including two stacked black and gold Chinoiserie chests, a coffee table with an oval black Chinoiserie tray and a black bamboo base, and two Chinese side chairs with open lattice. The stacked stone fireplace has a mounted flat screen TV, which can be remotely controlled to turn and angle toward the dining alcove or the kitchen for viewing while eating or cooking.

French doors from the den and living room lead to the Kings’ covered back porch, which has stone walls and a porcelain tile floor with a wood grain finish to match the indoor oak flooring. Here, family and friends can dine or watch TV on the flat screen mounted over the raised hearth stone fireplace. The outdoor space can be transformed into a screened-in porch with the push of a remote button, making it a comfortable place to relax year-round. Just beyond, the Kings’ backyard on the bluff has an outdoor seating and dining space that incorporates natural rock, boulders and slate.

Gerry’s office is just off the foyer. A saddle brown leather sofa rests in front of a window surrounded by built-in mahogany bookcases, and his mahogany desk sits on a red-patterned oriental rug.

The master bedroom has a soft green color scheme. A taupe silk fabric with red floral patterning is used for the draperies, two Queen Anne wing chairs, bed pillows, and a bench at the foot of the bed. The room’s four-poster bed has a pastel taupe damask bedspread and dust ruffle, and a custom-made rug has green diamond-shaped patterning and a green and red decorative border. The room’s other furnishings include a mahogany dresser with a gold-leaf mirror and a bombe chest displaying family pictures.

In the master bathroom, honed crema marfil marble countertops and polished marble floors blend elegantly with white chocolate cabinetry. Overhead, an antique crystal and gold chandelier hangs from a tray ceiling. The bathroom walls are covered in an ivory wallpaper with an arabesque pattern.  Underneath a window flanked by gold sconces, a dressing table is situated between double vanities. The soaking tub has a polished marble surround, and the walk-in shower has marble walls and floor tiles accented with small brown tiles.

The opposite end of the house has a guest bedroom and bath on the first floor and a media center over the two-car garage. The guest bedroom, frequently used by the Kings’ granddaughters, has a sleigh bed covered with a white quilted coverlet and a variety of pillows in white, pique, linen, and floral fabrics. The bed skirt is made from a pink and green silk taffeta. A writing desk in front of the window has a channel back chair upholstered in a pink fabric. The adjoining bathroom’s walls are painted in a deep cranberry red with a high-gloss finish, and a gold leaf mirror hangs over a white pedestal sink.

Down the hall from the guest bedroom, a stairway leads up to the Kings’ media room, which is outfitted with an 80-inch flat screen TV and a comfortable leather sectional sofa. To one side, a small kitchenette designed to accommodate snacks and small meals has a sink, a wine cooler, and a microwave oven. The media room also has a grandmother clock made by Dowling’s father.

A second guest bedroom and bath suite just off the media room is frequently used by the Kings’ grandsons. The bedroom’s two twin beds have green striped bedcoverings, red dust ruffles, and monogrammed pillows.

The Kings say they are looking forward to the upcoming holiday season—particularly when it comes to entertaining family in their new home. During the festivities, they plan on  gathering with relatives in their open den and kitchen, where preparing meals is a family tradition. No doubt, the holiday season will be the beginning of many years of treasured memories in their new home.

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