Warmth, charm, and a wealth of antiques greet the many guests to this East Memphis home.
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The Hopkinses have an extensive and eclectic collection of art with a number of pieces from well-known Memphis artists such as Veda Reed, Nancy Cheairs, Tom Donahue, and Janice Albertine, and other paintings and prints bought on their many trips both in this country and abroad. They also collect silver goblets wherever they go and have now built up a collection worthy of Downton Abbey (I had to mention this as both Janie and her beloved late Mother, Sue Adams, have long been Masterpiece devotees). The Hopkins household also features a collection of memorabilia related to the coronations of past kings and queens of England, while stacks of Hello magazines on the coffee table keep them abreast of the latest British gossip. However, do not be misled by all this talk of England; Bruce is a proud Scotsman, and he and the boys always sport their kilts during the holidays and for other special occasions.
Inherited antiques from both sides of their family fill the house, many of which belonged to Bruce’s grandmother, “Dearie,” from Wheeling, West Virginia. These pieces include exquisite heirloom porcelain, silver, crystal, portraits, and furniture. A magnificent Steinway piano was inherited from Janie’s Fort Worth, Texas, maternal grandparents, and three paintings came from her paternal grandmother, Mary Kirk Adams, a well-known artist from Corinth, Mississippi. And as Janie puts it, everything is “from people we love.”
Even though Bruce and Janie like to think their house is something they can maintain with relative ease, there’s still a lot to keep up with. This leads Janie to say (and I believe her) that she “cannot wait for the boys to get married because she plans to pass many of these antiques on to them so they can polish the silver.” Janie modestly says her house is filled with “organized stuff” and is quick to credit her sister, Pal Wilson, who now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with helping arrange all the shelves so attractively. Here’s another tell-it-like-it-is Janieism: “We have no decent mattresses, but we sure have goblets!” I say, “Lucky you.”
It must be added that husband Bruce’s good taste and eye for beauty have influenced the family’s esthetic, and their home’s décor is truly a joint effort. In particular, Bruce is in charge of the leafy, walled backyard which seems small and manageable to him by comparison with some of his past gardens. His specialty is planning and planting the containers filled with seasonal flowers, and all in all it is an elegant green space which landscaper Charles Turnage helps greatly to maintain.
Over the course of their marriage, the Hopkins family has lived in — and in many cases markedly improved — more than a few houses all over Memphis, from Central Gardens to Chickasaw Gardens to East Memphis’ Tuckahoe Road. Bruce and Janie agree that they are “here to stay” in their current home. However, if I were a betting person, I would never bet against the possibility of another move sometime down the road!
Nonetheless, I think we can all chime in that this one is a keeper.
Anne Cunningham O’Neill is the arts & lifestyle editor of memphis magazine.