Text by Joanne M. Anderson | Photos by Always and Forever Photography
Dave and Amy Kinsley moved to a secluded, 7-acre parcel of land in Giles County with magnificent views a decade and a half ago. “We knew some day we would build our dream house about 15 feet behind the original house,” says Amy. It would have been too much to renovate the existing one, and the couple had their hearts set on the rustic appeal of a timber frame style.
Shannon Lucas of Lucas Home Builders was the general contractor; Jeffrey Weismann, the architect; and Blue Ridge Timberwrights erected the awesome structure around which the home took shape. They took as much as possible from the old house. Many boards were reused, and the kitchen sink and cabinets work well in the current laundry room.
This year marks the seventh Christmas in the house, and each year Amy frames the solid oak front door with greenery and a festive wreath in the center of the massive, mahogany front door. The portico roof line is edged with sparkling icicles.
The Kinsleys embrace the mission style of leather and wood furniture for its luscious wood grains, smooth design lines and fine craftsmanship. A handcrafted dining table sports holiday dishes and linens, with more greenery, red berries and red plaid ribbons adorning the chandelier above. Stockings are hung on the mantle with care, and small decorative touches create an enchanting Christmas spirit throughout the house with ribbons, pillows, snow globes and seasonal embellishments.
The Christmas tree is a 9-foot Frasier fir decorated with an eclectic mix of colorful ornaments. But what really shines are the handmade bead embellishments on many of the ornaments. “I made jewelry as a kid,” Amy relates, “and I’ve always enjoyed beadwork.” Each one takes five to 10 hours to design and complete.
Every Christmas morning Dave makes a Kinsley family tradition – eggs goldenrod. Fresh, made-from-scratch biscuits are covered with a roux and diced hard boiled egg whites, then dusted with minced egg yokes. In the afternoon, Amy usually makes her homemade honey bread for a few friends and neighbors and delivers it with a Merry Christmas smile. For Christmas dinner, they host friends for crab legs and homemade pie and lounge around the fire in the great room, enjoying coffee with Baileys Irish Cream.
“We chose to not have any kids, so the pets are our children,” Amy relates, referring to four cats and two dogs. Louisa is a young Rottweiler who loves the sun at the front door, while Murphy, a mature yellow Lab, sprawls on his bed close to the fireplace.