country powerhouse jo dee messina finds peace and harmony in



country powerhouse jo dee messina finds peace and harmony in
“I fell in love
with this house
because it was very
New England-ish,
and that’s where
I’m from.”
Country Powerhouse
jo dee
Finds peace and harmony in her
music-filled Tennessee home by Ron Kelly
“It’s our own
little world out
here,” raves Jo
Dee, here with
sons Noah and
Jonah. “It’s a
great place to
focus on family.”
o Dee Messina might be an
award-winning country singer,
but in her 4,200-square-foot Colonial home, her son Noah, 5, has plenty of star power, too.
“A TV commercial was shot in his
room years ago,” Jo Dee reveals to
Closer. “They glued stars to the ceiling to turn it into Tim McGraw’s kid’s
room! When they left, they asked if I
wanted them to take the stars down.
I said ‘No, some day I might have kids
and that’d be really cool for them!’
Now, every night when I turn off Noah’s lights and we lay in bed looking up
at those stars, I think of Tim McGraw,”
enthuses the 43-year-old about her
friend and mentor.
In reality, the 10-acre spread nestled
in the historic farmlands of Franklin,
Photography by Phil Penman/Splash 3
“If there’s
one thing I
want people
to remember
me for, I’d say
being a great
Jo Dee
“This house was vacant before I
bought it. I used to come over, sit
on the floor and imagine it was
mine,” Jo Dee recalls. “And sure
enough, it became my home!”
“I’m just very nostalgic.
I love all that old,
antique stuff.”
“The kids
play the piano
— and with the
guitars that are
Tennessee, is a dream come true for
the whole family, including Jo Dee’s
husband, Chris Deffenbaugh, and Noah’s little brother, Jonah, 2. Built in
1910, the four-bedroom, 3½-bath
home is, as Jo Dee puts it, “not a cookie-cutter house.” Upon entering the
front door, that becomes obvious. “It
reminded me of New England,” she
says, “all the wood floors, imperfections and all the angles.”
Turn one corner and you’re in the
4 February 24, 2014
kitchen, where the family loves prepping nightly meals together in the
classic country setup, complete with
its own countertop hearth — when
they’re not grilling out back. “Chris
and I will start making dinner. Noah
will pull up a chair, and Jonah will
climb on next to him,” she shares.
“During the holidays, Noah made his
own cranberry sauce and sometimes
we’ll make cookies together.”
In fact, the whole place smells that
Jo Dee’s
to the
“When I had
kids,” Jo Dee reveals, “I needed
to move a lot of
the delicate stuff
upstairs from my
music room.”
Branches adorned with
photo ornaments convey
a family-tree theme.
“We love the idea, but
some pictures have
fallen off.” 5
Jo Dee and Chris
make kitchen duties
a family affair. “A
lot of times, my
5-year-old comes
up with his own
creations,” the
proud mom beams.
“My bedroom is my
favorite place to be on a
cold, rainy day.”
“Our house is
very comfortable
and very lived in.
It’s loved!”
divine year-round, thanks to the aromas emanating from the grounds’
strawberry plants and blackberry, blueberry and raspberry bushes. “My husband has a sick garden,”
Jo Dee laughs. “He grows stuff for
me like kale and beets. The kids love
the corn!”
For relaxing, the living room is a favorite. “It’s where we all hang. The
boys will come down first thing in the
morning and cuddle on the couch,”
says the singer, who fesses up to crashing there, too. “That’s where I spend
6 February 24, 2014
“My husband wants
to redo the kitchen,” Jo
Dee reveals, “but I said,
no way! It’s a fortune to
redo a kitchen.”
my nights when the baby cries or my
husband snores too much!”
Quiet, Jo Dee admits, can be a rarity
in her home. It’s often filled with her
stellar vocals, of course: her next CD,
Me, will be released March 18. And
even though one former music room
has been turned into a playroom for
her kids, Jo Dee doesn’t mind the
noise. “They’ll run their Tonka trucks
across the table and make forts out
of the couch,” she shares. But their
laughter is pure music to her ears.
— Reporting by Deborah Evans Price
“This is
my dream
Jo Dee
“I love the
of it.”
Jo Dee’s bedroom is
“where I go when I want
to pray or read,” she says,
“or imagine what it’d
be like to nap if my days
weren’t so long!” 7