More Than Splendor

R.S.V.P. Memphis January 2003

Written by David Tankersley

Photographed by Steve Roberts

Press Photo

The magic of the 1920’s East Memphis home is obvious within just a few steps inside. From left to right, from living room to foyer to small breakfast area, your eye wanders from one point of elegance to the next. Everywhere there are gorgeous details. Formality abounds, but there is an inviting and a resonating feel of family and love. Natural wood beams span the living room ceiling and questions jump out at you. Are those beams original to the home? What do those magnificent interior windows open onto? Linda Hackmeyer is ready to answer any question she can. She loves her home and with good reason. Every layer has been carefully planned and detailed with love and reflection of the owners. And she is quick to point out that she and her husband Bill have had plenty of help.

The first person she mentions is designer Bill Eubanks, whom her husband credits with being a genius. Working carefully with the homeowners, Eubanks has provided his years of experience and creative instincts to help pull together the necessary requirements of furniture, personal accents and overall design elegance to help Linda and Bill Hackmeyer fashion the kind of home of which they can be justifiably proud. The team of designer and family has done its job.

The foyer offers its own splendor. A marvelous Jane Williams’ oil painting splashes deep color into the area, and just below the painting, a splendid church pew rests. Along one wall, a grandfather clock finds its home. A staircase winds slowly to the second floor, and the patina of the original banister represents the countless hands that have used the rail as a guide to the upstairs. Against one wall along the staircase, an impressionist painting by American artist Karl Kappes, which was a gift to Linda from Bill, offers a burst of color. On the landing, double windows, which once opened onto the backyard, now open onto the loggia and hallways leading to the rear of the house.

In the farthest corner of the front of the house, adjoining the living room, Bill Hackmeyer’s small office area reflects so much of what makes the home magnificent. With parquet flooring underfoot, the room is replete with masculine touches, including a beautiful leather sofa and a small leather-inlaid desk, which rests quietly and elegantly in the smallish room. In a corner, a beautiful alabaster sculpture, found in Santa Fe and accomplished by Chippewa sculptor Bruce La Fountain, immediately attracts the eye. The light tones of the stone swirl together in a deeply curved pattern, and above, in a small frame, a rare still life watercolor by Walter Anderson reflects more of the couple’s love of art. Against another wall, built-in shelves host family pictures.

The living room is alive with art and family treasures. Windows along the front of the home provide plenty of natural light, and against a wall, a beautiful fresco on canvas offers a unique focal point. Against the opposite wall, a magnificent fireplace mantel with beautiful carved limestone, accomplished by Christie Cut Stone, represents the detail that has been demanded of the home. Recessed lighting is overhead and throughout the room, as is the case in much of the home, traditional landscapes cover the walls. A piano anchors one corner and nearby a Sophie Coors painting brings brilliant colors to the room. Another small painting offers more insight into the family. It was given to Linda years ago as a gift of appreciation by an elderly neighbor, whose advanced age and deteriorating eyesight, prevented her from enjoying books. Linda would read to her.

The formal dining room, complete with green and gold floral wallpaper, features a magnificent sideboard and more small, but splendid, pieces of art. Among them is yet another Walter Anderson work. The sideboard itself is from Scotland, the birthplace of Linda’s mother, and represents just one of the many Scottish pieces and hints of the British Isles that are found in the home. This sideboard features a rod and curtain design along the back. According to Linda, the design was created to allow curtains to be strung along the rod to protect the wallpaper from the occasional splash when serving. Adjoining the dining room, a small breakfast room has been decorated in a French Country mode and provides home to marvelous stucco walls. Over the country table, an old gas-lit chandelier, which, of course, has been converted now to electricity, finds a new home for itself. It has followed Bill and Linda from two previous homes and offers the perfect light fixture for their current abode. In one corner, on an easel, Linda has placed a wonderful pencil sketch by Emily Phelps Garthwright.

Around the corner, the kitchen holds its own magic. The whole kitchen has been re-done from its original configuration. Now, beautiful hickory cabinets surround the area. From closed cabinets on one side, to leaded glass cabinets on the other, the whole kitchen offers openness and plenty of workspace—perfect for Linda, a lady who enjoys cooking. The kitchen islands offer the same light tones of washed hickory that surround the room. Not one to forget the partners who have helped her create this masterpiece of a home, Linda mentions Bob Westmoreland, the craftsman who created the beautiful cabinetry, and Cindy Sharp, who crafted the leaded glass for the cabinets. Both speak to the homeowner’s demand for craftsmanship in the details.

Down the loggia, complete with wonderful arched doors and windows that look out on the backyard, and, incidentally, magically designed by Bill Eubanks, lies the master bedroom. The bedroom features a canopied bed and a peach-colored chaise. Nearby, the master bath offers a shower surrounded by granite, and underfoot, a Jerusalem stone floor, with intermittently placed black stone diamond corners, offers the same light, earth tones found throughout so much of the house. As Linda is quick to mention those who assisted in the work, she credits Curt Schmitt with the beautiful cabinetry in the master bath. Schmitt teaches at MUS and was recommended by Linda and Bill’s son, Jeff, a student at the school.

Off the loggia, a small reading room provides Linda a perfect, quiet spot for a comfortable escape and a haven for relaxation. The floor is covered with an Oriental rug obtained from Zaven Kish.

The home is first and foremost about the warmth of family, and no better example can be found than in the small home out back that has been converted from the garage into living quarters for Rhoda Phelps, Linda’s mother. Originally, the garage was a horse stable. The small house contains a wonderful collection of Scottish furniture and small collectibles that adorn shelves and ledges around the comfortable little area. It is complete with living room, small, but comfortable, kitchen and a sitting area, from which Mrs. Phelps can look out onto a small garden area.

The home is warm, but complete with formal touches. The collection of furniture, art and accents is complete with family and found treasures. Each layer of splendor has been carefully crafted to reflect attention to detail with an eye toward overall design excellence. Linda and Bill Hackmeyer, professional consultants, gifted craftspersons, and friends have created a wonderful and magic arena of family warmth and beautiful design. It’s easy to understand why Linda Hackmeyer states matter-of-factly, “I love my home.”