The Living Painting

At the home of Stanley and Jeannie Brandon, you’ll find a masterpiece—both inside and out

Words by Terrell Manasco | Images by Al Blanton

The house stands among magnificent, natural splendor at the bottom of a long driveway snaking around dozens of majestic trees. With its panorama of woods and the orange glow of lamps in the front windows, the approaching view reminds one of a Thomas Kinkade painting.

Over the years, the 6,000-plus square foot home tucked back into the Heritage Hills woods has passed through several owners. In 2008, Stanley and Jeannie Brandon purchased it from Dr. Roy Sims of Jasper. Stanley, a Hayward, California, police detective, and Jeannie, a polygraph examiner with the California attorney general’s office, had just retired and moved to Alabama. 

“I was born and raised in Alabama, left at 18, and came back at 61,” Jeannie says. 

According to Stanley, the traditional-style home was built by Dr. Daniel Scarborough around 1979-80. Unfortunately, the original cypress beams in the vaulted ceiling had rotted over time and had to be replaced. The Brandons also added new hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a new paint job. “It had dark wood and we painted it off-white,” Jeannie says. 

The bricked deck overlooks the in-ground pool and tennis court. Adjoining the house are 11 acres of woods teeming with wildlife, including red-tailed hawks, owls, and deer. “We’ve seen as many as nine deer in one group,” Stanley says. “They go down to the creek to get water.”

The formal dining room, just beyond the kitchen, is rich with family heirlooms. A silver service tray from 1927, inherited from Jeannie’s grandmother and namesake, Jeannie Gallacher, rests on a small table. A claw-foot mahogany dining table, which seats 21 guests, belonged to her cousin, Mab Crew. Two window sconces made by pre-Civil War slaves were housewarming gifts from Mab. 

To the right of the hallway stairs, a set of French doors opens to a former music room. On the far wall, an angel, painted by Art Price on tent canvas, hovers over a huge fireplace. Another wall is decorated with rows of framed vintage sheet music. “My grandfather had a Steinway grand piano that I inherited,” Jeannie says. “I sold it to pay for polygraph school.”

Standing against the left wall, below a set of handmade quilts, is a large bookcase. On one shelf are two miner’s lanterns from Scotland that belonged to Jeannie’s maternal grandfather. Another shelf, which she dubs her “Coca-Cola shelf,” displays vintage Coke memorabilia. “My (paternal) grandfather, George Davis, Sr., started Coca-Cola in Jasper,” Jeannie explains. “He came here from Brookside and they asked him to open up in Jasper. My father, Lawrence Davis, managed the plant for 30 years.” 

Every room in the house, by design, offers a spectacular view of nature. It could also be said that practically every room also offers a glimpse of history. Hanging in one upstairs room are two old, framed photographs. One, taken in Berlin by Alfred Eisenstaedt, depicts Jeannie’s aunt, Gibson Gallacher, playing a piano concert. One of the attendees was none other than Adolf Hitler. Beside it is a photo of Stanley’s father astride an antique motorcycle. “He was the first motor officer in Hayward, California,” Stanley says. “That’s a 1922-1923 Harley-Davidson.”  

Though the house looks like a living painting, both inside and out, you won’t find it signed by Kinkade or Wyeth. That’s because Stanley and Jeannie Brandon have put their own signature on it. 78

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