Its offbeat past. Kim and John Turner weren’t aware of the local lore of this house in historic Cobbham when they bought it in 2002. It wasn’t until Kim saw someone snapping a photo that she learned it had inspired the R.E.M. song “Life and How to Live It,” based on a man who had outfitted the one-time duplex to suit his split personalities and penned a disturbing tome, Life: How to Live. The late musician Vic Chesnutt once lived in the house; many others jammed there.
The color combinations. A recent renovation injected new life into the house. “This is probably the most colorful project we’ve ever done,” says Athens interior designer Tami Ramsay—a big declaration given that Cloth & Kind, her company with Ann Arbor–based Krista Nye Nicholas, is known for daring hues and pattern pairing. Of the Turners, she says: “They’re not afraid of color. They were totally game.” Teals, warm yellows, and vibrant reds interact playfully. “You can’t help but walk in and feel happy,” says Tami.
The antiques and vintage finds. The total refresh didn’t include swapping out old furniture for new. The Turners had a large collection of art and antiques passed down in their families. Tami supplemented with vintage and period furnishings here and there but says, “anything we brought in, we wanted to feel like it had already been here.”
The historic details. From faded layers of plaster in the bedroom to original doors and cladded walls, the bones of this house are much as they were when it was built in the early 20th century. The renovation built out the attic space for the girls’ bedrooms, but the antique newel post gives the new stairway the illusion of age.