No Place Like Home: A Dreamy Classic Southern Home

Story & Photography by Lindsay Allison

Cole and Leigh Dodds have been married 13 years, and they have 2 boys named Will and Walker.

Cole is the General Manager of Southern Concrete and the current Tennessee Concrete Association President. Leigh is an RN and is a Patient Care Advocate for Intrepid Home Health.
The Dodds are also cattle farmers with Cole’s parents at South Oaks Ranch. They love spending time outdoors with their two sons. Cole enjoys hunting and farming with the boys, and they love to fish together as a family. Cole and Leigh also enjoy watching their boys play sports. With the help of Leigh’s father, they decided to build a southern home in the community of North Jackson that would not only fit their family’s needs, but display the memories of their families past and future.

VIP: Who was the main designer of the home?

Leigh Dodds: We used a house plan named Abberley Lane, by Southern Living. We did make some extensive changes to it in order to meet our needs.

VIP: Is it new construction or a remodel?

LD: It is new.

VIP: Who is the builder and what year was it built?

LD: The builder was my dad, Ed Darby. He is the co-owner of Fairmont Builders in Memphis and builds custom and spec homes in West Tennessee and North Mississippi. This home was built in 2017 and took about a year to build. This home is sentimental as he is slowing down in the building business, and it could possibly be one of the last houses he builds.

VIP: Who were the main vendors used to decorate the house?

LD: We set out to use as many local people as we could as we find it important to support our local community. Brandon Browning of Modern Edge Concrete did all of the countertops. Southern Concrete provided all of the concrete. The pool was designed by Johnny Davis of Blue Hawaiian Pools. The landscaping was designed by Harrison Jones, owner of GreenScene Landscaping. Bosco Construction did all of the trim work. We purchased all of the brick and stone from General Shale, while Manuel Mata was used for the brick and stone masonry work. The custom iron doors and gates were built by Tuscan Ornamental Iron Entries. Other vendors included Buck Building Supply, Franklin and Tyler Hurt, with Hurt Concrete Construction, City Lumber Company, McMillion Construction and Coffman’s.

VIP: What are some specific personal touches that you used?

LD: My husband, dad and I spent a lot of time finding architectural salvage pieces to use. The pantry doors are from the Kellogg Mansion in Chicago. The beams in the ceilings are from an 1800s log house. They even have the wooden pegs in them. The mantles are also made from that log house. The crew with Bosco Construction spent a lot of time with my dad and me learning the style trim I wanted. Many art work pieces are by family or friends. Our nephew sketched each of our boys to display. I tried to make every display piece have some meaning. Many family heirlooms were used for this. I wanted everything to have a purpose and a memory attached with it. I have my great-great-grandmother’s dough bowl and my great-great-grandfather’s dried tobacco twists, along with a crochet piece from Cole’s grandmother. Another favorite piece is my grandfather’s candy bowl that he had when I was a child. Every item was placed with purpose.

The floors downstairs are all concrete and made to look like old hardwood. Franklin and Tyler Hurt poured them in conjunction with Southern Concrete, and stamped these in sections over the course of 5 days. They won the Tennessee Concrete Association Best Finishing Residential Decorative Interior award for the floors. My dad built each of the boys their own desk in their bedrooms to do homework. Brandon Browning made a custom concrete sink for the half bathroom as well.

VIP: What is your favorite room and why?

LD: The front living room. It’s small and cozy, and the wood burning fireplace is perfect in the winter. We spend most of our family time in there.