1117 Donaghey- The biography edition

Our Donaghey project is just about to wrap up if this darn rain would stay away long enough to finish up the exterior.  Rain or Shine WE WILL host it’s open house Sunday, March 11th, so mark your calendars… in pencil. With that date looming so close I think it’s time to tell you a little story.

Now before I begin, I want to make sure we are all on the same page. You remember Bruce? The last project we completed? You know… the Industrial Bohemian with the FICTIONAL character also named Bruce. Well, it came to my attention after writing the story of Bruce that a large portion of my readers thought Bruce, the man, was real. To clear up the confusion I spent a paragraph on a later blog explaining that ALL my storybook home stories are fiction so never assume otherwise. Well… guess what?….. This one’s NOT fiction. This one is actually based on a real-life and living person, Ms. Sherry Payne- one of my favorite clients from my other life as a Registered Dietitian.

Yep, its the biography edition of Storybook Homes!!!

Now before I tell you all about Sherry and this house let me clear up one more potentially confusing point: Although this home is ABOUT Sherry it is not FOR Sherry. It is FOR SALE and currently available.

I know, I know it’s a little weird; but I have warned you before I never know where inspiration will strike or what direction a story will go until I walk into a home, and this little home whispered Sherry’s name. Now, I should tell ya, the house did not conjure up images of Sherry from thin air.  Months earlier, Sherry had casually mentioned she might one day want a storybook home. She said it in the same conversational tone that people say “you should put me on a diet” when they find out I’m a registered dietitian.  And just like I NEVER take the diet comment as an invitation to ask someone to step on my scale, I don’t normally start picking paint colors when someone mentions wanting me to renovate their home. I just know it’s a knee-jerk comment said in response to one’s vocation, not something to be taken seriously. But for some reason, the day Sherry mentioned the idea of a storybook home, I found myself revisiting the idea that night as I tried to fall asleep.  So instead of counting sheep, that night, I made a mental checklist of all the characteristics a home would have to have to be classified as Sherry Style. Then I fell asleep and forgot all about it…..until months later when I stepped inside 1117 Donaghey.
Honestly, I think it was the arches that did it for me.

There was just something so sweet about them, and “sweet” was one of the main characteristics that defined Sherry Style.
So I didn’t fight it.  Even though Sherry was/is not in the market for a new home at this time, I went ahead and let her story inspire the design of 1117 Donaghey with the end goal of creating a home that emulates the characteristics that make Sherry so special while at the same time paying tribute to a remarkable lady. I have known Sherry for 12 years and even though our relationship has always been restricted to the confines of my diet office, I feel confident that I have witnessed the real and raw Sherry and therefore have the authority to write this tribute story. Afterall when a woman (ANY woman) trust you with her weight (ANY weight) there is not much left she feels she needs to hide. 
So here are just a few attributes I have found to be at the core of who Sherry Payne is along with descriptions of how I translated these qualities into the design of this house: (of course you will have to hold tight a few more days to see pictures of how this actually played out, because that’s just how I roll.) 
Female. I know this seems like I’m starting us out with the obvious but Sherry is so much more “woman” than the sum of her X chromosomes; she embodies what the bible describes as the “ideal woman” in Proverbs chapter 31. In fact, within this description of the ideal woman, we see many of the specific qualities that make up Sherry Style so I’ll highlight a few key verses from this scripture as I discuss those traits in a bit. But for now, I want to share another reference to “female” that made me think this seemingly obvious characteristic had to be included as a key component of Sherry Style. 

Gosh I love that song, and that chorus…. well it nearly perfectly sums up who my friend Sherry is to so many people:
Sister, shoulder
Daughter, lover
Healer, broken halo
Mother nature
Fire, suit of armor
Soul survivor, Holy Water
Secret keeper, fortune teller,
Virgin Mary, scarlet letter,
Technicolor river wild
Baby girl, woman, child

Now, it is not unusual for the homes I work on to lean toward a specific gender but in this house, I was particularly intentional about adding feminine qualities to reflect this Sherry trait. Specifically, you will see this in some of the light fixtures. Although this house could be classified as a “farmhouse” to those that did not understand Sherry Style I purposely chose more feminine lighting over the classic “barn lighting” I typically favor in a farmhouse style home. 
Hard Working.

15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household

    and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

17 She is energetic and strong,
    a hard worker


She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.
Sherry is one of the hardest working women I know. This quality is witnessed at her job, in her home, and in my office. She has worked at Acxiom as a Senior Executive Assistant for the last 28 years. In addition to working a full-time job, for the last 3 years, she has homeschooled her two kids- Marissa, 21 (who now attends college) and Joel Keith, 16. And you should see her exercise logs! This girl is all about her steps. It is not unusual for her to go for a walk in the morning and then hit the gym later that night. She does all this while balancing the day to day tasks of running a house and taking care of her family. And she has done this on her own for the last 10 years after her beloved husband of 16 years, Joe, passed away from cancer. Yep, she’s pretty much Super Woman.

You are going to see this hardworking trait found in the layout of this home. This house is less than 1400 sq feet but it’s open floor plan make it feel much larger.

During Demo when walls were knocked down to join the kitchen, dining, and living space into one open living area. 

Plus this little home is quite efficient with very little wasted space, each area has a specific task and is used well.
You will also see this trait in the kitchen island. I purposely chose a commercial grade stainless steel kitchen cart vs a traditional cabinet style island for it’s “hard-working” versatility and functionality. 

20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
    and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
    for everyone has warm<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NLT-17282c" data-link="[c]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[c] clothes.

26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
   and she gives instructions with kindness.
If you surveyed a group of 100 people who know Sherry and asked them to describe her at least 99 of them would use the adjective “sweet”. She just drips sweetness. I don’t think she has a mean bone in her body. She is kind and caring and always thinking of others. This is even seen in her motives to maintain her health and fitness. It is not about the size of her clothes for Ms. Sherry it is about staying healthy for her children and to serve others. Sherry does not visit my nutrition office regularly but rather she checks in during times she feels she needs greater accountability. One such season was inspired by her bucket list goal of “going on a family mission trip.” I remember her telling me she was starting to save toward making that goal a reality but that she wanted to make sure she was physically as well as spiritually ready to go so that she did not hold her family and other team members back. That’s just Sherry.
In fact, “sweet” was the one word I kept giving Donna of Waterhouse Market, when she would ask me what the style of the house was at the beginning of the renovation. 
Side Bar: Seriously, Donna deserves a medal for trying to ride the crazy train with me. She works so hard to fill these homes up with furnishings that fit the style and more importantly tell the story of the home. But unlike most clients that will give her a specific style to work with (ex. farmhouse, modern, traditional) she gets things like “Irish Sheep Farm”, “Downton Abby”, and “Sweet” from me. But somehow she gets inside my brain and is able to deliver on each style beautifully and accurately.
I think the entire home is sweet, but it was the arches seen throughout the home that triggered the first thoughts of sweetness.

We lost 2 of the arches during demolition. But I added 3 more in its place during the renovation. 

Joyful. aka Bright and Cheery in home terms. 
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.

Our common friend, Angie Elrod, said this when I asked her to describe Sherry:

 “Sherry sparkles when she smiles. I think I’ll start calling her JOY”
No matter the circumstance. Sherry always has an essence of Joy. One of Sherry’s most used phrases is “it’s all good.” When I asked her about this, she responded:

“It’s the mindset I try to keep.  Even when it’s a tough circumstance…good can come of it.  
Hard day – well it can only get better – it’s all good.  
Oh, there are bad days…not to say there aren’t…but the mindset can really help.”

This trait shows up in the color scheme of this house. It is definitely bright and cheery. It is guaranteed to cheer up even the gloomiest of rainy days. Waterhouse Market and Redeemed Home Goods will also be bringing art and accessories that play off this characteristic.  


30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

This is probably the trait I admire most about Sherry. When something good happens to Sherry she invites everyone she knows to join her. I benefited greatly from this trait when she first joined my “90 Day Challenge” 12 years ago. After a few weeks of good weigh-ins, my business was booming. Half of Acxiom was calling my office. It was the first time my practice experienced a “waiting list” to get an appointment, and it was all thanks to Sherry spreading the good news of her success. 
And speaking of “good news” this is what is at the core of who Sherry Payne is and what leaks out of her in her day to day life. Once Sherry experienced Jesus 22 years ago she hasn’t stopped sharing the good news of His saving grace with all who will listen. Sherry has a relationship with Christ, not a religion, and this is seen in the enviable ease in which she brings Him into everyday conversation. She doesn’t preach at you, she simply wants to share with you the good news so you can experience it too. Sherry’s good friend Cindy Sinclair had this to say about Sherry:

 “True Friendship is such a treasure! 
Sherry has enriched my life by her presence, commitment, and talents. 
She has a huge heart and her faith shows in everything she does. 
My life is made richer because she is in it.”

“Inviting” is seen in the accent tile I chose for this house. To me, it reminds me of a patchwork quilt that invites you to sit down, snuggle up, and stay awhile. This along with the other traits already mentioned create a home that just makes you feel welcomed.
That concludes the official description of “Sherry Style,” but there are a few other fun features I added to the design with Sherry in mind. For example, I paid special attention to the kitchen because I would want Sherry to have a nice kitchen to prepare healthy meals. I even incorporated special bins for holding fruits and vegetables.
And the fact that this Sherry Style house could be mistaken for a farmhouse was not an accident.  If you get a chance to talk with Ms. Sherry you can’t help but pick up on a hint of a Southern drawl that would feel right at home in a country farmhouse. So I added some old pine shiplap reclaimed from under the ceiling sheetrock and a big farmhouse sink to reflect this side of Sherry.
While the rest of the Proverbs 31 woman is not necessarily reflected in this home. I want to conclude this tribute with what I feel would be one of Sherry’s most prized attributes.

28 Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!”

These are Sherry’s children- her greatest treasures on earth. 
Stay tuned for the Zillow Listing to see pictures of how “Sherry Style” played out in real life. And make plans to see it in person Sunday, March 11th from 2pm-4pm.
In the meantime, If you know Sherry Payne, feel free to use up as much comment space as you would like to let Sherry know how special she truly is.

31 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

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