By Karin Fabry • Photos by John Jernigan
Even on a cold February morning, Todd Scudder’s home, located deep in Ocala’s historic district, radiates warmth. This cozy cottage seems to come from the earth itself and has a timelessness that wouldn’t seem out of place in a thick Tolkien novel.
Todd describes his cottage-style home best when he says, “It’s got Hansel and Gretel written all over it.”
A general contractor himself (owner of Scudder & Company, Inc.), Todd wanted a home with curb appeal and character.
“I drove by this house once and fell in love with it,” he says. “I knew right away this house was meant for me.”
As I stroll up the graceful arch that leads to the whimsical entry, I notice the lush greenery that envelops the property, not to mention the house.
“I enjoy working in the yard,” he says. “It’s very relaxing. My good friend Jerry Stevens [a noted architectural designer] said something to me a long time ago. He said, ‘A house should say come in, come see what’s inside.’ You have to admit, when you drive by, curiosity gets the better of you and you want to know what’s inside.”
Walking up the red brick path to the small porch, one could easily get swept away in the charm of the house. I almost felt like I was walking into the pages of one of Grimm’s fairytales. The whitewashed, arched front door showcases antique hardware and hinges reminiscent of the early 1900s when this home was built. On either side of the door, square, lantern-style carriage lights add a touch of ambience at night. A larger, coordinating lantern rests among three sago palms in the front yard. Pink and white flowers scatter the ground beneath.
To the right of the door, a triple-tiered iron stand holds three pots filled with vibrant yellow begonias that stand out beautifully against the red brick of the home. Two large, weathered urns hold potted plants and flowers that mark the edges of the porch.
“One of the exterior highlights is the creeping fig that’s growing up the facade,” Todd says. “It adds a lot of character. I couldn’t picture my house without it.”
Todd is an adventurous spirit and has always had a love for the great outdoors. It was important for him to create a feeling of tranquility and earthiness in his home, which he has noticeably achieved.
Just off the kitchen is Todd’s favorite room in the house. “This sitting area is very cozy and comfortable,” he says of the well-designed space. “The furniture and the décor are scaled proportionately to the room. I believe in having pieces of furniture that fit the size and style of your home.”
A tan, burlap-inspired sofa and matching chairs anchor the room. Animal print pillows embellish the furniture. An abundance of natural light casts deep shadows on the mossy green, richly textured walls.
“I’ve tried and tried to reproduce this exact wall texture,” Todd says. “I’ve come close, but I still don’t quite have it. I would call it a thick, almost stipple-like texture. It’s one element of the house that guests always comment on.”
The green continues into the kitchen where stainless steel, commercial appliances lend a touch of technology to this old-world home.
“Many decorative remnants of the original structure still exist today,” Todd says as he points out the original amber-toned brick chimney that remains in the room. “Originally, the home must have had a coal-burning stove. I took advantage of the chimney, venting the range hood through it. I simply ran a duct pipe over to the chimney and tied into the side of it. I left the pipe exposed and painted it the color of the walls to add more character.”
The kitchen cabinets have been faux-finished to add an aged patina to them. The green palette continues with the granite countertops that are also topped with ivory and black stones. The floor may be ceramic tile, but the earthy hue and narrow rectangular design have the appearance of well-worn stone.
Todd keeps the décor in his home consistent with the historical period, but he admits that he likes to add a splash of technology and color here and there.
“I really love the dragonfly Tiffany lampshade in the kitchen. It adds a lot of color to the space,” Todd says. “I also added three pendant lights in the study that add a pop of color with their cobalt blue shades.”
The dramatic spotlights highlight a built-in bookcase finished using an antique crackle technique. Here, Todd has showcased a variety of family photos, well-read books, and one-of-a-kind treasures acquired through his travels. Nearly every wall in the home is adorned with original watercolors Todd has collected from various artists, as well as some of his own works of art.
Taking a step down from the study leads to a larger family area. Oversized, denim furniture is strategically placed for optimum viewing of the flat screen television. The square, modern angles of this cutting-edge technology are softened by the rich wood finish of the beautiful antique armoire that houses the unit. The high ceilings, with exposed rafters, add to the cottage-feel of the home. A floor-to-ceiling, arched window overlooks Todd’s backyard and pool area.
In the winter months, the large, brick fireplace is put to good use. A handmade twig chandelier casts decorative shadows along the walls, adding to the ambiance of the room. Around the corner is a wall covered with photographs.
“I love taking pictures of friends, family, and my two daughters,” he says. “They are the first thing I see when I come down from my bedroom in the morning.”
Up a set of stairs carpeted with a spotted leopard print is the master suite, another one of Todd’s favorite rooms. The long, narrow space takes up the whole second floor and the décor recalls a rustic mountain cabin. Taking a glance outside, the panoramic view of tree branches and bright green leaves make the room appear to be floating at the top of a child’s treehouse.
Another strong design element in the master suite is the use of decorative lighting. Cove lighting was created by adding rope lights behind the detailed crown molding. The result is a warm, amber glow that makes the large room feel cozy.
“Lighting makes a space special,” Todd says. “The right colors mixed with the proper lighting can create a mood.”
The dark wood tones of a French headboard mimic the antique furniture that creates the sitting area. Having a family in the antique business has given Todd a keen eye for quality. The barley twist detail on the furniture’s arms adds a sense of heaviness to the space that is perfect for an outdoorsman’s retreat.
“This house reflects who I am as a person,” Todd concludes. “I feel comfortable here — this is home.”
And I imagine his guests feel the same way.
By Karin Fabry • Photos by John Jernigan