In six years, Mark and Kimberly McBride have transformed their South Roanoke County home into a comfortable retreat that reflects their love of whimsical and natural elements.
Antiques keep company with an extensive collection of painted rocks, many of which depict flowers, animals and fairy tale characters. Rhododendron vines, shaped in Blowing Rock, N.C., serve as railings in the home’s foyer, which also boasts a rosewood Bush and Lane piano with bird’s-eye-maple interior that once stood in a historic hotel.
Much of the influence in the house comes from the Blowing Rock area where the couple has a cabin. A granite mural depicting a black bear amidst mountains and forest is installed in the walk-in shower just off the master bedroom. A wormwood table with a hammered-copper top has been turned into a vanity; a raccoon design dresses the toilet seat.
Plants, both real and manmade, and it is difficult to tell which is which, are tucked everywhere. Some walls have been decorated with flora and fauna through a process called tatouage, which is a high resolution dry rub transfer.
“I wanted a feeling of nature,” says Kimberly. “I see God in nature.”
Kimberly, a skilled quilter, signs her work with Bible passages that relate to the quilt’s design.
Her quilts have been done in a variety of sizes and patterns. Some feature her son’s drawings. Benjamin uses a fabric marker to draw on muslin. The artwork is then washed and ironed and incorporated into a quilt pattern. Kimberly once made a teacher a quilt of drawings by students.
This eye for detail also encouraged the couple to write a children’s book, “The Chickens and the Ice Cream.” The book is based on a real-life experience they had when they took Benjamin to visit Homestead Creamery. The creamery’s resident chickens drifted up as the family sat at a picnic table eating ice cream, and the chickens moved in to peck at Benjamin’s cone.
The book illustrations were done by Laura Petrocelli of Waterbury, Conn., a former nurse who also is the artist for many of the family’s painted rocks. The book is available from online sellers but also at area outlets such as Ikenberry’s in Daleville, The Roanoker Restaurant and the Floyd Country Store.
In addition to their interior work, the couple developed an extensive patio and flower garden at the back of their home, and they continue to add to a daylily garden at the front of the house. Entrance into the home is by way of a cozy rock path that goes through many plantings and up to an arched rose-covered front stoop.
Mark and Kimberly also have celebrated their years together through some of their displays. Quilt covered boards mounted in the master bedroom hold love letters they wrote each other while dating. Their bedroom was designed around the place they stayed in Vermont on their honeymoon.
An antique needlepoint ladies chair in the room was bought during a return trip to their honeymoon spot. They met through a relative; he is from Franklin County and she grew up in Salem.
“We have fun doing this,” says Mark McBride, a pediatrician known for fun neckties – one is shaped like an ice cream cone – that catch the attention of his young patients and their parents alike.
The couple enjoys finding ways to add a favorite piece into their décor. For example, a metal and glass display cabinet that once held a television is now a case for towels in the master bath. On an enclosed porch on the main level, a barrel has been turned into a water fountain complete with a fish.
In the lower-level family room, a former closet area was outfitted with wire-inset doors to create an aviary for parakeets