Character of East Memphis’ Magnolia Park house attracts couple
8:00 PM, Nov 22, 2014
Copyright 2014 Memphis Commercial Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Photos by Jim Weber
Early last year, Caroline and Jeremy Pflug were settled and content in their Midtown rental. They liked the house, the neighborhood and the big, fenced yard that allowed them to take in two rescue dogs, Ajax and Nala. So they weren’t in any hurry to move on.
“We were just slowly, kind of casually looking to buy,” said Caroline, a personal trainer and owner of Caroline Pflug Pfitness. “We weren’t finding anything we loved. Then we found out that the house we were renting was in foreclosure.”
Hoping to make the house theirs, the couple stayed put for as long as they could.
“It was another seven months before we were notified that we were going to have to be out in three weeks,” Caroline said. “We were going to try to buy that house. There was an auction for it.”
“But we got outbid by the bank,” added Jeremy, a senior business systems analyst at Fed- Ex Corp. “In hindsight we’re happy it didn’t work out, but at the time we were thinking we wouldn’t have to move.”
And the Pflugs didn’t want to move again. Before moving to Memphis in 2011, the couple spent three years in Hawaii. Before that, they lived in Arizona for eight months. And before that, Jeremy — a nine-year veteran of the Army — was stationed at Fort Campbell in Clarksville, Tennessee. He met Caroline, a Boston native, at a friend’s wedding.
“We were long distance 2½ years, a year of it with him in Iraq,” Caroline said.
After all that moving, the Pflugs simply wanted to settle down. Caroline mentioned that fact to Courtney Murrah, a neighbor she met near the couple’s rental house.
“I was walking the dogs,” Caroline said. “She had her dog, we started chit-chatting and it just came up that she’s a Realtor. She gave me a card, and I think we talked for almost an hour. I liked her off the bat.”
Murrah began showing the Pflugs homes throughout Midtown and East Memphis.
The main item on the Pflugs’ wish list was a garage or outbuilding Caroline could turn into a fitness studio.
The Pflugs also wanted a big, fenced yard for the dogs, hardwood floors and a move-in ready kitchen.
“I was open to having to do work if everything else was amazing, but ideally I wanted an updated kitchen,” Caroline said. “I’m a super healthy and picky eater, so I prepare most of the food that I eat. I’m always in the kitchen, so I wanted the kitchen to be nice.”
The couple also hoped for a house with at least three bedrooms and two baths. With a tight deadline, specific wish list and competitive market, the Pflugs had a major challenge.
“The pickings were slim last winter,” Caroline said. “(Murrah) said inventory was unusually low.”
One house, though, met nearly all the couple’s criteria — it had three bedrooms, two baths, a renovated kitchen, a fenced backyard and, most importantly, a freestanding, 800-square-foot garage.
“It was really the ideal setting,” Murrah said.
The Pflugs rushed to submit an offer, but learned they weren’t the first. “We found out that night that there were two more offers,” Caroline said. “They told everybody, ‘Come back by 5 o’clock tomorrow with your best offer,’ so it was a real nail-biter.”
The couple came back with a highly competitive offer.
“It was tricky for us, because we weren’t willing to move, go into another rental and then buy and move again,” Caroline said. “It was stressful.”
Luckily their offer won out. The Pflugs purchased the 1,600-square-foot house in East Memphis’ Magnolia Park neighborhood in April for $244,500.
They made a couple of compromises. Though the house had their most-wished-for components, it didn’t have the space or the updated master suite they wanted. But it does offer room to expand.
Eventually the Pflugs plan to add a master bathroom and turn a covered carport into a den and mudroom. Since the house was move-in ready in most respects, they’re not in a big hurry.
Already, the Pflugs have cleared out the garage, put down an epoxy floor and moved in Caroline’s fitness equipment.
“In our (previous homes) there were a lot of things that we didn’t do because we knew they were temporary,” Caroline said. “This is the first place where we really want to put a lot of effort and money into it.”
The living room features a painted brick fireplace with a modern surround, and the dining room offers a view of the back deck. The kitchen has white-painted cabinetry, granite countertops and ceramic tile floors, and the current master suite includes a small attached bath.
The Pflugs are thrilled with their new neighborhood. “We really like the old trees and the character,” Jeremy said. “Those planned neighborhoods where every house is the same, we kind of hate it. This has character. It has floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the backyard and let a lot of light in. The fireplace is cool.”
Most of all, the house felt like home from the moment they walked in, Caroline said. And that’s especially exciting after years of being on the move.
“I’m really happy with the house,” she said. “Even shortly after we moved in it just felt like our house. Our stuff wasn’t even all in place yet but it had this super-homey feeling, like we’d been here for a while. It just feels comfortable.”
Copyright 2014 Memphis Commercial Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Photos by Jim Weber, The Commercial Appeal