By BECKY ANDREWS
“In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.”
The first thing you should know about Wilson County residents, Mike and Judy Cox, is they love the holidays – any holiday. And they prove their love of special dates and seasons with breathtaking décor both inside their home and out. “We decorate because we enjoy it, but also because we love to see the look on our children, grandchildren and friends’ faces when they see the Halloween decorations or Christmas lights up,” Judy explained.
Okay, okay, I know the holidays are over, but I can’t mention their gorgeous home without talking of this adorable couple’s love of decorating for the holidays. If you don’t know Mike and Judy personally, odds are you’ve seen their home or at the very least heard about it from friends.
Since they moved into their home located in Blairwood Downs Subdivision more than six years ago, the pair has been adding to their seasonal displays. And each year the number of passers-by has also increased. Their stunning, sprawling home, with always an open door, brings joy to hundreds of friends, family and visitors each holiday season.
This uniquely decorated home has 10 – yes, 10 – Christmas trees and more holiday collectibles, trains, Santas, nativities, icicles, reindeer and ornaments than any one person has ever counted. Their seasonal decor is the result of a labor of love by many people. Beginning in October each year, they work to bring out Judy’s special Christmas decorations in order to fill the home in preparation of the many parties, family gatherings and open houses.
In fact, before I met Mike and Judy, my husband and I would take our children to see their spectacular Christmas light display. Of course, after walking through the halls of their home, you get a sense that no matter where they live, the Cox’s make sure the heart of their home is focused on faith and family. “There are so many stories about our family, and with each room we have the opportunity to tell a story through the photographs on the walls or a Bible verse inscribed on a frame,” Judy told pointing to the wedding day photos of all three of their children and a Nativity she keeps up year round.
Because Mike is one of the premiere, custom homebuilders in Wilson County and Judy, one of the top-producing real estate agents, they make the perfect team. “Since we’re both in real estate in one shape or form, there are things about a house that we notice that a buyer or someone building a home may not notice. The great thing about Mike is that if I am listing a home and it needs something done before the listing goes public, I can get Mike to help me take care of it. And since we live under the same roof, he will always return my calls,” Judy said with a smile.
Even though Mike is a soft-spoken guy, he beams with pride when talking about the ‘special touches’ he incorporated into their home. From knock down wall finishes to built-in shelving and bookcases, no detail was skipped. These special touches aren’t only functional but cost effective too. Mike said, “There are little things a homeowner can do to trim the cost of a remodel or new build project. That’s why I use these in my own home. Like this paint applied to the fireplace hearth area. Instead of using fabricated stone or brick, the homeowner can save a little money by using a special paint that’s both beautiful and easy to clean.
The Cox home is one of those that, even though you know it sits in a subdivision, you feel like you’re out in the country away from the hustle and bustle. No doubt the lavish landscaping helps to provide the necessary privacy needed by this couple after a long week of closing real estate deals and building houses.
The Cox’s story began in the 1990’s when Mike and Judy met at Immanuel Baptist Church. Both had been married before, with Judy raising her two children, Medana and Jason, while Mike had a grown daughter, Deborah. Neither were looking for love, but after many conversations and casual gettogethers, it became clear love had found them again. “The older you get, the more set in your ways you become so when someone comes along that has respect and love that we all deserve, you don’t want to let them go. And that’s what I fell in love with about Mike.”
“We both came from good, hardworking families that had a mother waiting for us when we got off the bus and a father that wasn’t afraid to work hard,” she said of their backgrounds. The couple adopted the same philosophy when it was their turn to raise their own children. All of their grown children live in Middle Tennessee, and Judy’s children now work for the family business at C&D Realty and Cox’s Construction and have families of their own; Medana and husband Greg have two sons, Evan and Grayson, Jason and his wife Phyllis have two girls, Ashley and Samantha and Deborah and husband Ronnie had Mike and Judy’s newest grandchild, Max, in late 2011.
The family tradition of decorating for the holidays started many years ago but grew in enormity after the Cox’s built their current home. After building and selling their personal homes for the past 17 years, Judy says she still finds her joy in “fixing this house”. When guests examine each room in this massive 10,000 square-foot home more closely, they discover groupings of collections and colorcoordinated patterns to follow in their own homes. Windows that offer a view to the lush gardens and the built-in pool helps keep the kitchen well lit and comfortable. Everywhere you look in this home the Cox’s pride for building homes is evident.
If you missed the Cox home last fall and winter, mark your calendar for the 2012 holiday season to drive by their home and take in the sights and sounds of their favorite time of year.