Lookout Mountain home includes hand-me-downs, original designs

Lookout Mountain home includes hand-me-downs, original designs

March 26th, 2011 by Clint Cooper in Life Entertainment

A green bull head hangs above the mantle in the main sitting room of Billy and Jane Pritchard's home on Lookout Mountain. Staff photo by Jenna Walker/Chattanooga Times Free Press

With a light green cow head overlooking the stone fireplace, horizontal stripes running the length of a central hallway and furnishings as diverse a chair from a crackhouse, Jane Pritchard said her decorating style is not for everybody.

Yet the Cravens Terrace home on the side of Lookout Mountain is uniquely suited to her, her husband and their three children, she said.

"It freaks my parents out," said Mrs. Pritchard, co-founder of Stray Dog Designs, a Chattanooga-based home accessories design and manufacturing company. "It's what we like. It's just thrown down. We change it around. With children, you change things all the time."

Most everything in the 1920s home is a hand-me-down or "junk," she said, but that overlooks her designs, which populate practically every room - in addition to showrooms throughout the country such as Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman.

"There's not as original a line [of home furnishings] as what Jane puts out every year," said Billy Pritchard, co-founder of Stray Dog Designs.

The couple bought the home in 2003 and moved there in 2004 after making extensive renovations.

The living room is typical of their eclectic style.

A couch and chairs, finds from Goodwill, have been tightly slipcovered in "cheap fabric" from Yates Bleachery and now appear to be new furniture.

A 19th-century rocker in the room belonged to Mrs. Pritchard's grandmother, and a Chinese antique bombé chest was purchased in Mexico, where the couple's business began more than 15 years ago.

Four parson's tables covered in dictionary pages and grouped together as a coffee table are a Stray Dog design and were left in place after a recent photo shoot for Country Living, which pictured their home on its March cover.

A large papier-maché turkey from Haiti on another side table was a gallery find, Mr. Pritchard said.

The living room's color, "a weird off-pink" according to Mrs. Pritchard, is a throwback to the room's look in the 1950s or 1960s, she said. The previous yellow "was boring," she said, and after she purchased the paint she was trying to decide whether or not she liked it when it dawned on her she'd seen the color before. Once she found a photo left from the house decades ago, she realized it was eerily similar to the off-pink color in the snapshot.

"The ghosts made me do it," she said, alluding to a ghost the home supposedly has but which they've never seen.

Mrs. Pritchard said color "scares a lot of people," but she prefers it to the neutral shades often seen in newer homes today.

"I like color," she said. "It gives pop to a room."

One of the most interesting spaces is the master bedroom, where the traditional ceiling was replaced with a vaulted ceiling covered with reclaimed beadboard wood in various shades.

"I had seen that [type of ceiling] in a magazine," Mrs. Pritchard said.

On the floor are colorful, unmatched rugs, one Russian and the other kilim. The king-size bed features a headboard and full-length roll pillow covered in sari fabric from India.

In addition to Stray Dog pieces, which Mrs. Pritchard said made up about 35 percent of their furnishings, there are items from Mexico, Haiti and India.

"We just pick stuff up when we travel," said Mr. Pritchard.

Most of the chandeliers and lamps in the home are Stray Dog creations, as are some of the furniture and artwork. Among the artwork is a canvas of painted hollyhocks in the office/TV room and a Waverly fabric remnant stretched over a frame in the dining room.

"About 96 percent [of what the company sells], I design," Mrs. Pritchard said. "It's straight out of my swirly head."

The couple said the design of their home has evolved through the years and would continue to but would never look like a decorator show house.

"That's the ideal, isn't it?" Mrs. Pritchard said. "I've always admired a decorated house. Aesthetically, it's beautiful. But I personally prefer to seen the owners' personality."