The House That Love Built

WLM - Karen Green

WLM - Karen Green

Like many young professionals, the Green’s were looking for a country retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city, a safe haven to raise their two young children. After working in the country music industry for twenty years (in the heart of downtown Nashville), Karen Green, in particular, was ready for “phase two” of her life.

WLM- The Green's Home
STORY By ANGEL KANE

Like many young professionals, the Green’s were looking for a country retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city, a safe haven to raise their two young children. After working in the country music industry for twenty years (in the heart of downtown Nashville), Karen Green, in particular, was ready for “phase two” of her life.

In 2001, Karen and her husband purchased 5.76 acres in Lebanon and began construction on their home the following year.

“Our home was designed from a collection of magazine clippings I had saved for years. If I came across something I liked, it was put into the ‘Dream Home’ file,” explains Karen. “The 10-ft. ceilings, the beaded board wainscoting, the flagstone porch, the rustic log beams in the great room…they were all details pulled from the pages of Traditional Home and Southern Living magazines.”

WLM - On the Front DoorstepTen years – and innumerable hours of TLC – later, the property is a testament to Karen’s hard work and attention to detail.

The front door of the home was fashioned from an old English farmhouse. It opens into an entrance foyer encompassed by the dining room and a study. The rooms are furnished with family portraits, an antique hutch, a Windsor chandelier, a leather top desk, and oriental rugs of timeless character. The home exudes an immediate feeling of warmth and charm.WLM - Dining room

The entrance hallway leads to an open loft living room, with a stone fireplace, lots of exposed wood, and a 4×4’m stained glass window…very rustic and lodge like. A focal point of the room is a large German-made cuckoo clock. The piece is an intricately carved work of art and takes up most of a corner wall space. “Two of my favorite get away spots are the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina and Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri,” says Karen. “This room was inspired by both places.”

The country kitchen has floor to ceiling white cabinetry with glass fronts, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. “I love to cook,” explains Karen, “and this room is forever in use. The kids do homework at the bar, while I’m fixing supper. I also have a summer garden, so I do lots of canning here as well.”WLM - Bedroom

The home has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, an upstairs recreation room and plenty of attic space for storage. “Our family spends a lot of time outdoors, both for business and recreation. We have tried to concentrate on the outdoor living space as much as our busy schedules will allow. The property was just an open field when we moved in ten-years ago. In 2005, we built a 3600 square foot workshop. Even though it’s only used to store farm equipment, I wanted the design to compliment our existing home, so it was patterned to resemble a carriage house, complete with wrought iron exterior lanterns,” says Karen. “In 2006, we purchased an additional 5.05 acres. We also added a dry creek bed across the front lawn and elevated all the trees along the creek bordering the property.”

“Our lives are headed in a new direction now, which calls for change. But this has been a remarkable place to call home. Rex (age 12) and Emma (age 10) have wonderful childhood memories because of this place,” Karen concludes.

THE GREEN'S HOUSE IS FOR SALE

Architect: William E. Poole, modified by local architect, Marcia Jackson
Size & Acreage: 3340 square foot home on 5.76 acres (additional 5.05 acres available)
Work Shop: 40×90’ barn with gravel parking and turn around
Landscape: a variety of trees, shrubs and perennials – Little Gem Magnolias, Deodora Cedars, English Laurels, Weeping Cherry, River Birch, Austrian Pines, Bald Cypress, Paper Bark Maple, Boxwoods, Wisteria, Hydrangeas, Daylilies, Knockout Roses, Black Eyed Susans, Hosta, Crape Myrtles, Fountain Grass.
Ammenities: 10 ft. ceilings, granite & marble countertops, plantation shutters, wood flooring, flagstone wrap-around porch, stone fireplace, beaded board wainscoting, rustic log beams in open loft great room
Listing Agent: Lynda Burge, Cumberland Real Estate, 615-444-7653
Realtors or homeowners interested in featuring their listing in Wilson Living Magazine should call 615-969-6751.

A little Karen Green Trivia

As Wilson Living began to write this Home & Garden feature for the magazine, it became evident that the story was becoming much more than that. To those of us who know Karen Green, we see her simply as a friendly, hard working, mother of two…but as we began to ask questions about her early career in the music business – we were intrigued by the places she had been, and the people she had met. Here are some of the highlights we uncovered :

WLM - Karen Green with Ricky Skaggs• During her 10-year employment as office manager for Ricky Skaggs, she accompanied him to press conferences in London, New York and Los Angeles; including appearances on Late Night With David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; attended video shoots, recording sessions and awards shows. She was fortunate enough to meet many of the country music legends her parents grew up listening to – Roy Acuff, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton and Minnie Pearl.

• Karen learned the importance of giving back by helping coordinate Ricky’s charitable contributions, most notably his work with Feed The Children in the poverty stricken areas of Appalachia in Eastern Kentucky.

• In 1991, she traveled to American military bases in Portugal, Germany and England for the United Services Organization (USO), as Ricky Skaggs and his band entertained the troops stationed there. The United States was at war in the Persian Gulf and equipment and operations were being transitioned to the region. It was a part of history she witnessed firsthand.

• The management/publishing company she worked for in the 90’s had a budding new talent named Keith Urban. She fondly remembers his songwriter showcases, when he played to small audiences of 20-30 people at the Bluebird Café and Jack’s Guitar Bar. There was no doubt he was going to be a big star.

• Karen traveled by leer jet to Denver, Colorado with Garth Brooks, who surprised her then boyfriend (concert promoter, Ben Farrell) with a new car.

• She had Thanksgiving dinner with Randy Travis at his log home in Ashland City… and visited his home in Maui, Hawaii during a vacation stop.

• She chatted with “Driving Miss Daisy” actor, Morgan Freeman, in the green room of the historical Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. He spoke at a gala event (taped for television) that was attended by Presidents, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George Bush. She considered it an honor and, most likely, a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in the presence of three U.S. Presidents.

The GreenWay to starting her own business…

“When life throws you lemons, you make lemonade.” Those words of wisdom led Karen Green to start her own small business, The GreenWay Landscape Company, when an unexpected divorce set her life on a new course. “I never dreamed I would be a single mother of two at this stage in my life. But the divorce was the motivating factor that led me to regroup, focus on my strengths and
capitalize on them.”

Already experienced in the landscape field, it was a comfortable step for Karen to start her own company, as she had successfully done with her husband 13 years ago. “We opened our partnership in 1998 as a part time venture with only a handful of clients,” explains Karen. “Aside from our 40 hour a week corporate positions at Atlantic Records and Coca-Cola respectively, we managed to squeeze in landscape work during our evenings and weekends.

Landscaping was a common interest for us…and we made a good team. Within two years, and solely by ‘word of mouth’ referrals, we found ourselves with a loyal client base (both commercial and residential accounts) that allowed us to leave our corporate jobs in Nashville to work full time on our growing business.”WLM - Landscaping

During this period, Karen had two children and shifted her attention to motherhood and the administrative side of the company, while her husband handled the day-to-day operations. “Although I was able to contribute creatively with computer graphic design and job estimates, I missed getting my hands in the dirt,” said Karen.

“When the kids started their early education, I began to volunteer my time doing landscape projects that I viewed as ‘simply giving back to the community.’ It was a natural choice to start my volunteer work at the school where my children attend – Southside Elementary in Lebanon.” Principal Danny Hill reflects, “Karen Green began working on the Beautification Committee here in 2007 and it didn’t take long for her efforts and hard work to have a positive impact. The teachers took quick notice of the changes to the campus landscape and, surprisingly, the kids noticed too. It just made you ‘feel good’ about coming to school every day.”

In 2008, Karen attended an environmental symposium with a group of teachers from Southside and the trip served as the catalyst for creating several outdoor class-rooms, including a math, geography and reading garden. The school was also recently accredited as the first “environmentally green” K-8 public school in the state of Tennessee. “We have so many long term plans for the outdoor campus at Southside,” says Karen. “We have only just begun.”

As the result of Karen’s volunteer work, people began asking her for assistance with their own yards advice ranging from “when to trim back their roses” to “will you do a landscape design and installation for me?” And Karen welcomed the jobs, as her divorce proceedings were now in full swing and she needed the additional income.

WLM - GreenWay BusinessDr. Robert and Connie Bone, who live in a beautiful historical home (circa 1910) on West Main in Lebanon, hired Karen in the spring of 2010. “She breathed life into the gardens surrounding our home,” explains Connie. “We had an existing landscape that needed a make over. What I liked about Karen was her willingness to implement our ideas and many of our older, established plants into a new
plan. We had the basic structure in place, but the beds needed attention.

It’s clearly evident that Karen loves what she does. She has a natural eye for design. She’s attentive to details, the overall quality of the project, and I’ve never seen a harder working woman.”

Dr. Hermann & Darlene Schulze of Marco Island, Florida, echo the sentiment. “We asked her to do a redesign in our back yard when she visited last year. We live in the southern most part of our state, and the planting zone differs from that of her native Tennessee. But she clearly did her research and selected the perfect plantings, even incorporating a dry stacked rock wall and fountain into the hardscape. It was amazing what she did just by regrouping and transplanting some of our existing plant materials.”

“I want to focus my business on the individual homeowner who expects, and appreciates, more than just the weekly lawn cutting,” says Karen. “So many people want that picturesque landscape, but simply don’t have the time or the know how to achieve it, and then maintain it. I want your outdoor living space to be your place of refuge. And of course…” she chuckles, “a ‘well designed, weed-free’ refuge.”

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