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A Place to Relax: From the front-porch rocking chair to the sun-filled great room, this house is all about taking it easy

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Story by DANNY MOGLE // Photos by DAVID WHITE/WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY // March/April 2017

When Jessie Hardin was ready to move his family from the Dallas Metroplex, he knew his next home would embody the carefree lifestyle treasured by those who live along southern coasts.

He has spent time on the Gulf of Mexico and in the Carolinas where beautiful beach houses have large windows that let in ocean breezes and big front porches where people kick back and relax on lazy summer afternoons.

“I fell in love with that type of architecture,” Hardin says.

Hardin found a spacious lot on Lake Palestine in East Texas that offers a view of the lake on one side and a view of a golf course on the other. He worked with Mike Brattlof, a custom builder based in Tyler, Texas, to achieve the home of his dreams for his wife and young son.

Their two-story home has porches in the front and back, lots of windows, a great room with a towering ceiling and refurbished and antique pieces that pay homage to a simpler time.

“It’s comfortable,” Brattlof says of the house. “It is not over the top in any way.”

Steps lead up to a covered front porch framed by white railing. The ceiling and the plank flooring on the porch are painted a soothing light blue. Large black rocking chairs sit on the porch. The front windows are flanked by black plantation shutters.

Inside is the great room — a two-story living room with a vaulted ceiling covered with beautiful wood. A second-floor balcony runs along one side of the great room.

A sitting area in the great room faces a brick fireplace that is flanked by white built-in shelves displaying family keepsakes. Two lamps rest on a sturdy wooden table positioned behind a plush leather couch.

The bricks in the fireplace and other places in the house are separated by a thick layer of mortar that gives it a distressed look.

The wide wooden planks in deep brown tones used as flooring in much of the first floor are shiplap. “It’s the stuff they used to use in (the construction) of old homes back in the ’20s,” explains Hardin, who confesses a fondness for repurposed items that have a rustic vibe.

“I like the idea of using something that has a history to it,” Hardin says. “Something that really adds character.”

The great room leads to the kitchen which has lots of white cabinetry, industrial style light fixtures above an island and countertops of serpentine marble from China. The family dines on a large French antique table that has bench seating on one side and chairs on the other.

“We have been collecting antiques for a number of years,” Hardin says of the prized find.

The stove hood is made of hard-to-find cypress wood pecky. The deep indentions and holes in the wood were caused by a fungus. The kitchen also has a built-in china cabinet distressed with a green finish to give it the look of a yesteryear pie safe.

In his office, the maple wooden floors are salvaged from a building in the northeast, his desk is made of reclaimed wood and the shelving mounted on the wall is made from black pipes.

The master bedroom suite has a separate sitting area, a large bathroom and a walk-in closet. The bathtub is positioned under a window which lets in plenty of sunlight. Windows also bring light into the master closet.

On the long covered back porch, you can sit in one of the white deck chairs or venture farther into the yard and climb into a hammock stretched between two trees.

At one end of the back porch is the screened-in covered outdoor kitchen which features yet another fireplace and a sitting area.

For the Hardins, this is yet another comfortable space to sit back, relax and enjoy time together.

About Haley Holcomb

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