An architectural treasure is tucked away off Walnut Grove.
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The O’Keefes’ son, Reece, has a bedroom decorated in rustic hunting-lodge style, with a rough-hewn bed, and canoe paddles and taxidermy on the walls. In contrast, daughter Olivia’s room is 100 percent girly, featuring pillow-laden iron twin beds and bright pink and green colors.
Once back downstairs, the photographer and I were ushered into the magnificent garden. The O’Keefes put in a modern pool about seven years ago, and the elegant cabana, designed by Donovan Smith, resembles nothing so much as a small Greek temple and is a focal point of the landscape. Several vintage garden ornaments — statuary and an ancient stone baptismal font — stand in testimony to the garden’s famed heritage.
Despite its grandeur, Julia emphasizes that she sees her home as a family house to be enjoyed with children and dogs dashing around. Trust me, her little Westie named “Boo” was having a field day running about the place. And since a home of this size is always a work in progress, Julia bubbles over with all the things “she would like to do sometime down the road” — with a kitchen redo topping the list for now.
The O’Keefes are a very busy couple raising twin teenagers and maintaining a host of civic commitments. We are grateful to Julia for graciously spending time with us and for allowing us the privilege of showcasing her family’s beautiful home.
As an aside, she tells me they have built a house in Oxford, Mississippi, which is especially dear to their hearts since Rush is from Mississippi and attended Ole Miss. Julia modestly suggested “we might like to photograph it for the magazine sometime.” Sight unseen, and with no arm twisting necessary, I say let’s bring it on!