We are always on the lookout for gorgeous homes to feature in our pages. And, as a statewide publication, we like to bring you homes located in various regions. This month, we are honored to share the 4,000-square-foot, Jonesboro, Ark., home of Dr. Charles Cesare, Jr., and wife Amber.
Photography by Janet Warlick
[dropcap]When[/dropcap] searching for feature-worthy homes, we often call on designers — after all, who better knows of beautiful homes? This month, we showcase the design talent of Karen Cunningham of SWANK Interiors in Jonesboro. Cunningham said, with a smile, of the Cesares, “When they came to town, they walked in the door and it’s been a wild ride.” The designer has a great relationship with the family, indicating, in fact, that they’re now like family to her. This is the second home Cunningham has designed for the couple.
(Photo at top)
Just to the right of the entry is Amber Cesare’s favorite space, which she calls “the white room,” featuring her favorite color: purple.
“With their eclectic tastes, the furniture provides a nice backdrop to show off their love for color. We put the chaise in on a whim. Many times it’s a hard piece to place, but in this house it works really well,” Cunningham said.
The stone fireplace, above which sits an “unexpected” gold mirror, is flanked by oversized white vases with purple leaves that elicit an architectural feel. On the mantel sits a sculpture by Jonesboro artist Jeremy Ross, an eagle with a snake in its mouth, a gift from Amber to Charles. He loves it. “The eagle was a symbol of Rome and the United States, and the eagle defeating the snake is symbolic of good winning over evil.”
Taking center stage is a quartet of panels, portions of famed Gustav Klimt’s work, including one of his most notable pieces, “The Kiss.”
Hand-scraped, dark wood floors and warm yet neutral-toned walls provide a perfect background for the Cesares’ beautiful furnishings. This dining table has several leaves and can actually seat 14. Charles is one of seven children, and his grandparents are Italian immigrants, so big family gatherings are the norm. The Italian chandelier pays homage to the family’s heritage and adds just the right amount of elegance and sparkle.
The upper kitchen, which is actually part of the theatre space, has a decidedly neutral color scheme, and here the emphasis is on nature. The cool palette is carried through with the granite countertops, and the items on the upper cabinets include this ram’s head, which Charles hunted himself.
A pair of crimson chesterfield sofas — one on a riser — creates a beautiful and comfortable alternative to bulky theatre seats. And although the Cesares are Ole Miss fans, Red Wolves and Razorback fans are also welcome to enjoy the couple’s hospitality.
The master bedroom is a decidedly cozy space. “They wanted a calm retreat as well as the ability to lay in bed and watch TV,” Cunningham said. This room is furnished a bit more traditionally, with Bassett Furniture, but Cunningham “SWANKed” it up a bit, adding a Jeremy Ross table, some contemporary art and a bit of nature with a sculpture of antelope horns.
King of the Jungle
The Cesares’ son, Charles IV, has one of the most sophisticated and fun rooms we’ve seen. They call it Charlie’s jungle room. “Amber and Charles didn’t want a typical nursery with a mural with the baby’s name painted in it. They asked for an ‘updated jungle,’ something with a modern twist,” Cunningham said. She delivered, adding an oversized zebra painting and an animal print rug and chair. The rustic, multicolor dresser and mirror are perfect accents. A large elephant sculpture — a gift from SWANK — the rhinoceros head and miniature giraffe finish out the theme.
A row of birch branches brings color, an architectural element and a bit of nature to this sitting area at the top of the stairs in the Cesare home. They’re a great backdrop for both this Jeremy Ross cyborg turtle sculpture atop a set of tables — that actually raise and lower — and this pair of high-back chairs.
In yet another example of the Cesares’ eclectic style, these pieces of art — a gorilla purchased from SWANK and the shelves containing beloved pieces of McCartys Pottery — are reverently displayed on the upper level, making for quite the conversation pieces.
Graceful Guest Quarters
The guest bedroom, which is upstairs, features a family heirloom and a pair of ottomans positioned just below two mirrors. The accent color of turquoise caught our eye. Together, the furnishings and color create a welcoming atmosphere.
All Hail …
From the moment you enter the Cesares home, you know your eyes are in for a treat. The lime green Augustus Caesar bust is an indication of the “wow factor” present in each room.
Charles commissioned these pieces by Michael Mabry, an artist who hails from his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi. The top painting depicts the area’s famous crossroads, a shotgun shack, which Charles notes is “classic Mississippi,” and a guitar and juke joint — homage to the region’s blues music — and, in his words, “making a deal with the devil.” The painting below illustrates the rich history of this Delta state, with its cotton fields, water towers and hole-in-the-wall businesses.
Ross’ T. rex Rules
The Cesares purchased this T. rex sculpture by Jeremy Ross last year at a March of Dimes event for which Charles served as the signature chair. It’s one of several that comprise their growing Ross collection.