Downtown Dream Home
May 03, 2016 10:55AM
“I’ve been working on this house since I was a little girl,” beams Teresa Hunter, as her she shares the secrets of her new plantation-style home on Atlantic Avenue in her charming Dothan, Alabama accent. “I always wanted a Georgian Plantation-style home like we had in Alabama. I remember the most beautiful homes in this style, with large magnolia trees.” The Hunters moved to Fernandina Beach eighteen years ago, shortly after their marriage. “Ken traveled all the time, and he wanted me to be in a strong community, and we’ve loved Fernandina Beach since we arrived.” The couple built two homes in the area, but they always dreamed about living downtown. “When I saw lot number 909 was going up for auction, I called the bank, made a pre-auction offer, and they accepted,” says Teresa. “We were so excited to move into the Historic District, even if we are the very last home!” Building in the Historic District quickly turns a home-building project into a team effort because the City of Fernandina Beach’s Historic District Council governs exterior design features, and every exterior design element must go through the approval process. “I spent years drawing my perfect home,” confides Teresa, who has a natural talent for design and decorating. “When we acquired this property, I contacted Harrison Design in Atlanta to bring my drawings to architectural standards.” Bryan Lendry of Lendry Homes, LLC built the couple’s first Amelia Island residence, and they contracted with him again on this project. “Bryan has always been there for me and has outstanding customer service,” says Teresa, and the two of them spent a solid three years—from conception to the January 2014 completion—working together. A three-story elevator ride covers the home’s over 9,000 square feet of stunning completed living space. The entry hall welcomes visitors to the Historic District with an antique front door that Teresa found at an Amelia Island estate sale. The door’s hardware dates to 1876. The door is painted, but all of the features, including the mail slot, are original. The foyer has a nautical feel thanks to a sunburst glass panel on the front door, starfish decorative accessories, a cushion revealing Fernandina’s nautical position, and a compass inlay in the center of the floor – all lovely reminders that this home is on an island. A visit to the second floor is introduced by the bannister’s newel post, which is a hand-carved replica of the one in the Old School House across the street. Visitors love the signed and numbered Robert Harter prints of historic homes and buildings on Amelia Island, including St. Peter’s Episcopal Church next door. The focus upstairs is on Ken and Teresa’s children and grandchildren. “We wanted a ‘forever’ home with space for everyone,” says the couple. Kendall Kay, the couple’s youngest daughter, enjoys her black-and-white themed suite, complete with a study and recreation room where her high school friends love to gather. Down the hall, the oldest brother, Kevin, and his wife, Melissa, have a peacock-themed room decorated with feathers that were used at their wedding, and a commissioned peacock painting that was a gift from Teresa. Finally, Brittany, the oldest daughter, her husband, Ryan, and their one-year-old son, William, have a colorful suite filled with heirloom toys the Hunters love to share with their first grandson. Teresa’s love for her family is evident in the abundance of photos and memorabilia throughout, as well as such thoughtful touches as the coffee pot in each bedroom, designed to ensure the grown children enjoy all the comforts of home. As pronounced as Teresa’s love for her family is her faith. Chalkboards with handwritten Scripture remind the family of what is important. “We are really involved at Memorial United Methodist Church,” explains Teresa. “We adore living so close and walking to church together. I am involved in a couple of church circles, and I enjoy opening my home for choir parties and other gatherings.” In the past two years that they have resided in their new home, the family has hosted five wedding parties (many dressing for nuptials at next door St. Peter’s Parish), several showers and tea parties, fundraisers, the 2014 Amelia Island Holiday Home Tour, and plenty of porch parties during Shrimp Festival. Teresa supports local thrift store charities, including New to You, Purple Dove, and Cats Angels. Many of the treasures in her home were purchased at these venues, at estate sales, or were gifts from local friends. “Our favorite part about living downtown is being able to walk to restaurants, and for Kendall Kay to have the opportunity to live in town,” say Teresa and Ken. For Teresa, she’s living her own childhood dream, in her beautiful plantation-style home right here in downtown Fernandina Beach.