Making it their own in Normandy Meadows

Aaron, Meagan and Libby love their newly remodeled home.

Aaron, Meagan and Libby love their newly remodeled home.

Aaron and Meagan Michael were very content with their previous home. In fact, it was perfect — at least it was perfect for the first several years of their marriage. However, with the addition of their first child, Libby, along with COVID forcing Aaron, a manager at FedEx, to work from home, the couple became keenly aware of their need for more space.

“We definitely wanted a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house and we wanted to be inside the I-240 loop,” explained Meagan. “Based on property values, staying in Midtown didn’t seem feasible, so looking in East Memphis was an obvious choice for us. We also wanted something we could make our own.” 

This mid-century home that has undergone extensive renovation is a comfortable place to live.

So, the price had to be right, and the space had to lend itself to modifications that would make their house a home.

The Michaels contacted David Tester, an agent with Marx-Bensdorf Realtors. He helped Meagan buy her first home when she was 23 years old and she has used him as her realtor, exclusively, ever since. “I feel David is the best in the business,” said Meagan. “I have recommended David to several friends who have leveraged his expertise to find their perfect homes.”

An addition to the home provided space for the family room.  A working fireplace and plenty of storage made this room a focal point.

Tester took the couple to see three properties; however, only two of them were true contenders. Of those two houses, one was a definite front runner.

The proximity to Meagan’s work as a teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School was a real plus, so the couple decided to make an offer rather than continue their house hunt. 

The living room features the original hardwood floors which date back to the 1954 construction. The floors were one of the few things kept during the home's extensive remodeling process.

The Michaels paid $270,500 for a ranch-style house, c. 1956, in the Normandy Meadows neighborhood. The house had 1,900 square feet of living space which included the requisite three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Additionally, there was a fireplace in a room that the former owners had added at the back of the house. And the Michaels say they were thrilled to buy the house from the original owners. That’s a unique aspect that they love to tell. And tied to that, is another fun story.

The kitchen is so new it literally gleams.

“Some months after we made our purchase, Aaron discovered hundreds of paintings and sketches in the attic that belonged to the original purchaser,” recalled Meagan. “Aaron was able to get in touch with the son, since his father had passed away, and invited him over to collect them. Aaron was a little anxious, not knowing what to expect from someone who grew up in the house that now had major changes. But, the man’s reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with him taking pictures and asking if he could bring his wife and daughter by to see the finished product.”

The eating area is a casual space for the family to share meals together.

When asked how this house differs from their previous abode, Megan said, “This house lends itself to a different lifestyle for us. The area’s long sidewalks, lesser traffic and proximity to playgrounds is ideal. Additionally, our previous home was a 1910 Victorian, so architecturally, this 1950s style was definitely a change for us. However, the renovations we’ve been able to complete have made this house perfect for our current lives.”

The Michaels have indeed added their own touches to their new home.  Aaron shared, “We knocked down several walls to make an open floor plan between our living room, dining room and kitchen. We took the kitchen down to the studs, then added new cabinets, countertops, appliances and overhead canned lighting. We replaced the vinyl flooring with porcelain tiles. Also, we took space from the hall closet and hall bath and incorporated it into our master bath to give us a larger shower and a double vanity. In the hall bathroom we replaced the tile and added new storage. Previously the washer and dryer were in the kitchen. We removed the hot water heater from the pantry to convert that space to a larger, designated laundry room. As for the exterior, we painted the previously unpainted brick and the siding to make those components more cohesive. The result is that the home actually looks larger and has more curb appeal.”

In keeping with the period of the home, a mid-century era record player occupies space in the living room.

As for their new neighborhood, Aaron and Meagan say they feel they are within an easy drive of almost everything in the city.

The new master bathroom is nearly twice the size of the original one.  The shower occupies a space previously occupied by a hall closet.

“And, we love seeing people in similar stages of life walking the neighborhood,” added Meagan. “That has made it easy to meet our neighbors and build new relationships. We could not ask for a better community or better neighbors.”

Emily Adams Keplinger is a freelance reporter who produced this feature for the Advertising Department.

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