When entering Jeff Edison’s Tuscan-inspired home at Founders Pointe in Downtown Memphis, the owner’s unique tastes in art are not immediately apparent. A zebra-skin rug in the foyer holds a table and a collection of assorted picture books, while large bronze-and-gold framed mirrors add light to an already brightly lit space. Immediately to the left is a large-framed print of Les Amants (The Lovers) by René Magritte, a Belgian surrealist artist.
“What do you see when you look at it?” he asks, over the music playing on a home audio system streaming throughout the 5,300 square foot home. It’s a question he admits is a conversation starter for most guests who visit, and he muses over the fact that you can tell a lot about someone by their response. “That’s what I enjoy so much about art. It’s all in the viewer’s head. Whatever you see is just what your mind tells you it is.”
As a former Air Force pilot and commercial pilot for FedEx, Jeff finds equal inspiration in speed, and the art of the two-wheeled and four-wheeled variety. Across from a minimalistic, New York-inspired art gallery downstairs — complete with backlit and forelit prints by Picasso and Margritte supported by black steel beams — is another of Jeff’s favorite works of art and conversational pieces. The 748 Ducati beneath a glass table is an exceptional view while having a beer with friends, says Jeff. “I ride it about once a year. It’s very endearing to ride, too. That’s a really gentle sportbike.”
Upstairs, an open kitchen plan features stainless steel appliances and marble countertops, while the adjacent living area opens to a screened-in porch in one corner, and full mother-in-law suite with private entrance and private bath on the other. Lining the shelves in the main living area are photos of Jeff’s time in the service and the planes he has flown, and the furniture, he says, is a mix of several styles. “I just try not to offend,” he says, laughing.
Throughout the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home, the sportbike and Ferrari-themed fascinations of its owner are interspersed with mementos from his time spent as a captain in the Air Force. A flight helmet that he wore while flying through multiple combat zones is placed inconspicuously high on a shelf across from an in-home movie theater that seats six. Beneath the theater, his garage features car lifts allowing four cars to be parked in a space for two, showcasing a Ferrari, Porsche, and a 1967 Camaro SS. “It’s good ole American muscle,” he says, “painted original factory orange with a hockey stick pin stripe.”
Outside of the theater and down the hall upstairs, the soft blue strié-painted walls of the master bedroom contrast comfortably against the dark cherry of Brazilian hardwood. The master bathroom, with Jacuzzi and glass-enclosed shower, is painted in translucent golden tones and features a TV mirror and vessel sinks.
Also upstairs is another of Jeff’s favored pieces of artwork — a small, inlaid table he found in India. “I found this factory operated by the same family of artisans who did the encrusted jewels in the Taj Mahal,” he says. “You know, the Taj Mahal doesn’t have any paint on it. It’s all inlaid, semi-precious stones that make all the designs, so it never fades. Now, generations later, the same family has been taking care of it. And of course they can do more of it than what the Taj Mahal demands, so they have a little factory. And one of the cool things is as night….the reason the Taj Mahal glows is because it’s made out of a type of marble that’s translucent. So the light goes inside and because of the shape, it bounces the light around and makes it glow.”
Jeff backlights the table to show the true artistry, but in the afternoon, it’s hard to see it with a red-gold sunset filing the space. What can be seen, however, is the shadow of both bridges, and a barge that passes quickly by on its way downriver.
“It’s a great spot,” he says, and it’s hard not to agree.
At Home with Jeff Edison
A pilot’s view of art and the river
Story By Tonya Thomson | Photos by Brian Anderson