The meaning of the term “party house” might evolve for us throughout the seasons of life but the fundamental definition never changes. Most people want their home to be a welcoming place for fellowship and making memories with loved ones, and the Paul Family home just outside of Memphis is a prime example of the ultimate entertaining space.Situated on a little more than an acre on Germantown’s picturesque Carters Grove Lane, the beautiful brick home is nestled in an abundance of mature trees and well manicured botanicals. The house was built in 1986 by custom homebuilder Don Willis for the Goodman Family and had one more owner before Darlene and Glen Paul purchased it in 1999. Through the years, the family has done a handful of renovations to the home, including adding hardwood floors to the main living area; completely revamping the gourmet kitchen; and building a custom, temperature-controlled wine cellar.Having traveled all over the United States and Europe to explore their love of wine and the study of viticulture, the Pauls decided their home would not be complete without an area dedicated to one of their favorite modes of entertaining. The cellar, which holds approximately 4,000 bottles of wine and a rustic, reclaimed wood tasting table, is adjoined to a redesigned tasting room where guests can relax, mingle and sip libations.
The family would often invite vintner friends from California and Oregon to lead tastings in their home, and gatherings too large for the cellar and tasting room would flow freely into other areas of the home, including the large, sunken living room in the center of the house.Many are introduced to this living room through the gorgeous marble-laden foyer. Just past a majestic winding staircase is an elegant, yet cozy space flanked by a classic baby grand piano and an antique Baroque fireplace gilded in a brilliant gold filigree design. Floor-to-ceiling windows, reaching a lofty 22 feet, let a flood of natural light into the space and allow for a peek at the backyard’s centerpiece: a European-style garden fountain. The scale of the room also enables the family to enjoy a striking 15-foot Christmas tree every holiday season and has even served as a dance floor for a living room performance by the famous local party band, The Bouffants. The expansive windows invite visitors into an outdoor oasis, complete with a large, heated saltwater pool with a waterfall, a hot tub, a separate children’s play area and a quaint little pool cabana and grilling pad. “Our outdoor living space is a delight year-round, but everyone particularly loves visiting in the Spring when our ages-old cherry tree is in bloom,” said Darlene. “The tree is so gorgeous, you have to see it to believe it. It’s like a canopy of flowers over the backyard. It’s magical.”Sometimes, after a hot day in the sun, the family retreats back inside to enjoy the media room, equipped with an HD projector, surround sound and a 73-inch screen. The room, which offers theater-style recliner seating, is lined with autographed movie posters the family has collected over the years. The 10,000-square-foot home offers several other features that are often enjoyed by guests, such as a sauna, a wet bar and a cardio room with a steam shower.
There also is a regal billiard room, which shares a two-sided fireplace with the adjoining study. But this grand house is no exception to the rule that tends to apply to anyone’s home—everyone gathers in the kitchen. “Our family lives in this kitchen. Day in, day out, this is where you’ll find us,” explained Darlene. “That is why we did the most extensive renovation and redecorating in this area of the house.” A chef’s dream, the kitchen boasts what seems like miles of counter space and food prep area. The family has often had a catering staff in to serve for various occasions and they have used the kitchen’s vast island as both a staging area and a buffet. A veritable epicurean playland of high-end appliances, the Pauls’ kitchen boasts a Wolf convection oven, warming drawer and six-burner gas range with a grill. The custom cherry cabinetry contrasts with the stainless steel, sub-zero refrigerator and freezer; and the rich, earth-tone granite and delicate wrought iron, Murano-style pendant lights add stylish touches to the transitional space. Also on hand for easy entertaining are double dishwashers, double sinks and double walk-in pantries.The kitchen’s stunning travertine floors continue into the vaulted breakfast room crowned by an imported carved-wood chandelier.
More exquisite wood carving can be found in the keeping room, where the family can often be found gathering to watch sporting events. Also off of the kitchen is a luxurious grand dining room, with a banquet-sized dining table and a butler’s pantry for temperature-controlled silver storage. “The most important part of this dining room is not all of its bells and whistles but just that it fits our entire family comfortably,” said Darlene.With six bedrooms and nine-and-a-half baths, there is plenty room for family and friends to come stay a spell at the Pauls’ home. “It has been a true blessing to be able to share our home with those closest to us,” said Darlene. “No matter how big this house is, it’s really the closeness of the people gathered inside it that makes it feel like the warm and loving home that it is.
Warm interiors, gourmet touches and loads of gathering space come together to provide the perfect venue for serving up some southern hospitality.
Story by Cara Sievers