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HOME

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Eclectic Inspiration Southern style fuses seamlessly with antique flair By Caitlin Giddens Photographs by Joe Griffin, joegriffinphotography.com

P

ast the winding roads of Hidden Valley lies a house that doesn’t belong in this era. The home of Joe and Sherry Beard possesses a rare, transcendent quality. A narrow pathway leads to the front entrance, past the hanging swing and grand columns. But it feels like home. A pair of bronze lions frames the forged-iron door, the perfect precursor to this antique-inspired home. The exterior is composed of brick and white columns, creating a Southern feeling. Sherry Beard, who wore cowboy boots and a bohemian dress to our interview, led me through the marble-floored entrance to her favorite area: the living room. It’s obvious why this is Beard’s favorite room. A wall of windows overlooks the pool and 80-acre lot. Through the glass, trees envelop the back of the house like a fortress. The light blue walls and neutral colors serve as a backdrop for Beard’s antique collection. A chandelier hangs from the high ceiling under soft light fixtures. Most of the high-end

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“What’s most important is for everything to be comfortable and livable.”

furniture is beige and oversized, including pieces from Drexel Heritage and Company C. Beard spends most of her time in the kitchen and den, the family rooms of the house. It would be easy for the 8,000-square-foot house to feel more like a museum than a home because of the size, but the sixbedroom, six-bath home could not feel more comfortable. Each room maintains a unique look, but blends in with the overall aesthetic of the house. Beard designed her home with livability in mind to accommodate three sons, two dogs, a couple of cats and one African grey parrot. One dog, Dewey, did make an appearance, but the Opening page: The home’s wall of other one, Scrappy, stayed hidden. The windows overlooks the pool and the hardwood floors and luxurious furniture give outdoor living area. Above: the house a polished look, but the decorating is Homeowner Sherry Beard’s (pictured left) favorite room is the living room. also realistic for the needs of this very full family. Within the room’s light blue walls, “What’s most important is for everything to Beard mixes contemporary, oversized furniture with several antiques. be comfortable and livable,” Beard said. “We Opposite page: Her antique collection wanted to keep things bright and cheery.” continues into the formal dining room, Continued on page 102

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which is reserved just for special occasions. One of her favorite pieces, a porcelain Capodimonte called “The Last Supper,” is on display.


Eclectic Inspiration Continued from page 86 The Beards moved to Waco 20 years ago and into their current home 10 years later. Sherry works as a deputy sheriff. Joe, a native Wacoan, runs Westdale Asset Management, a Dallasbased real estate investment management company. Joe and Sherry met at Southern Methodist University and lived in Dallas for a while. They relocated to Waco in order to raise their family in a quieter environment. Their youngest son, Christian, is a junior at Midway. P.J., another SMU graduate, is earning his second degree in neurology at the University of Texas at Austin. And their oldest son, Jody, works for the family company. The newest addition to the Beard family is Jody’s wife, Ashley, a former AllAmerican Baylor soccer player. Sitting in the Beard’s living room, it’s easy to forget that a major highway is just minutes away. The house is perfectly quiet, the pool remains still, and the sun shines past the grand trees into the room. “We love Waco — it’s home,” Beard said. “We found this house connected to our property in Hidden Valley. So, we gutted the house and added onto it.” Beard met Renae Palmer of Palmer Davis Design through her sister. She saw Palmer’s projects with Jill Davis and knew she’d found a match for her self-described “eclectic and antique” style. Palmer and Davis began their work in the Beard home three or four years ago. They finished the design this year, but continue to help the Beards with other special events. “I’ve seen what they’ve done and seen them work over a period of time,” Beard said. “I thought they captured my style. Now, they help me with Christmas parties, and I don’t even have to ask.” Palmer and Davis both studied interior design at Baylor University and formed Palmer Davis Design after several successful projects together. Palmer and Davis were both raised in Texas — El Paso and Central Texas, respectively — which contributes to their Southwestern, natural style.

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“We were on the same page with Sherry on using neutral tones to show her statement pieces,” Davis said. “The attention to detail is important. We didn’t use florals or big prints.” Palmer explained that the furniture needed to be substantial for the Beard boys because they are “big and tall.” The youngest son, Christian, has a year and a half until he graduates from Midway High School, P.J. comes home once a month to see the family, and Jody and Ashley live in town, so they are frequent guests. “Jody married this fall,” Beard said. “We are so excited to welcome our new daughter-in-law to our family.” Palmer explained that Beard uses modern details in a fresh way to “Sherry-ize” the house. She pointed out the chrome on an oversized ottoman and the soft wall color that is current, but will stay in style. “Sherry is naturally good with colors,” Davis said. “She always puts good colors together.” Palmer described Beard as a “doer.” “She is not one to sit back and watch,” Palmer said. “She’s always doing something.” Beard knows what she wants in her home. She trusts her style and works with Palmer and Davis to make her ideas a reality. “I’ve always known what I like,” Beard said. “But Palmer Davis [Design] helps me pull it all together.” The antiques and custom-made drapes and fixtures make this home unlike any other. Beard decided to use blue linen window treatments and upholstery by Anna French. “I’ve always liked decorating and playing with furniture and fabric,” Beard said. “You need to trust your own judgment when picking art or decorating.” When Beard described the stories of how she discovered some of her favorite pieces of art, her eyes brightened, revealing her pride and passion for unique items. One she prizes is a diorama by Michael Garman called “Darby Hotel,” a bit of Americana from yesteryear. This piece


is also exhibited as part of the Magic Town display at the Michael Garman Sculpture Gallery in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Beard’s art ranges from a Western painting she received after graduating from the police academy to a work by a local artist. Several pieces hang in the study near the front entrance opposite stacks of books and other vintage finds. One of Beard’s favorite pieces stands in the formal dining room, a porcelain Capodimonte called “The Last Supper.” The living room houses another Capodimonte, “La Deposizione.” “Both art and decorating are personal preferences and reflect who you are,” Beard said. Beard defines light as the most important element of the house. Glass doors designed to roll back and open to the outdoors surround the living areas. The designers chose soft drapes to invite in the light and work with the natural elements. Beard has everything she needs to be a good hostess: glass doors, comfy furniture, hardwood floors and a large fireplace for holiday events. “We keep the windows open to bring the outdoors in,” she said. “When we have Christmas parties and wedding showers, we’ll have people coming outdoors and indoors.” Beard maintains a well-stocked kitchen for her boys and guests. And occasionally, these snacks fuel Palmer and Davis. During our interview, the three women reminisced about past projects, describing a pecan dessert and other goodies. “I remember snacking on goodies while putting up the Christmas tree this year,” Palmer said. “Sherry has a big kitchen for good food.” Cherry wood cabinets and granite counters encircle the kitchen. Jars of candy sit by the hammered copper sink, ready for surprise guests. A large granite island sits in the middle of the room, ideal for preparing large meals. And above the island, a custom-made chandelier of blown glass grapes and forged iron holds copper pots and pans.

To the side of the kitchen, another wall of windows illuminates the dining room and a collection of antiques. A 10-foot French buffet holds a collection of vintage Flow Blue china. Beard discovered most of her antiques during trips through Texas and Miami, Florida. “Most of my antiques are from the same era,” Beard said. “I like English antiques from the late 1800s. And I’ll put modern pieces by the antiques.” Between the kitchen and glass windows, fresh flowers line the dining table. The Beards reserve their formal dining room for special occasions. Beside the table is a display of fossils found on the property. When she’s not working in law enforcement or cooking for her family, Beard spends time outdoors, especially on the swing in the front yard or in her backyard by the pool. Her husband can often be found working outside. “He really enjoys our land, but sometimes he’ll go shopping for antiques with me,” Beard said. The Beards also have a beach house in Seaside, Florida. Beard enlisted her trusty team of Palmer and Davis to remodel that house as well. The designers commuted back and forth to complete the project this year. Davis described the beach house with enthusiasm. “It’s a twist on the traditional beach house,” Davis said of the design. “It plays with bright colors and has a tropical look.” The beach house’s convenient location on Seaside Avenue is one block from the beach, the perfect bike-riding distance. It’s also near the Great Southern Café, a restaurant renowned for Southern cuisine with an international flair. And the charming town of Seaside provides Beard with plenty of antique and art shopping. “Decorating is like art — if you like it you should get it,” Beard said. “It’s for you. It’s not for someone else.” W

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Eclectic Inspiration