If you wanted a special getaway, maybe some acreage for hunting, fishing and enjoying the good life with your family and friends, what would you do if it came with this house? Most folks would probably tear it down, especially after seeing the inside and finding out the foundation was a complete wreck. Though Mac Thomas joked, “It was nothing that a match couldn’t cure,” he and his wife, Terre, took on the huge task of restoring this 1820 farmhouse in Fayette Mississippi known as, Laurietta.
Restoring the home required lifting it completely off its foundation via a crane, so the necessary repairs could be made to the foundation. This 2,770 square foot house sat on temporary supports for over a year while the foundation was repaired, new insulation was installed and the plumbing and electricity was completely updated.
What a labor of love but just look at the results! Both chimneys were rebuilt and the roof was replaced with a hand-crimped aluminum roof. When I first saw the two front doors, the design made me think of a duplex. Then I remembered having read something about how sometimes old homes were built with two front doors.
To refresh my memory, I googled the subject and honestly, I’m more confused then ever. Apparently no one knows for sure but there are lot of theories from having it there for symmetry, to extra ventilation, to providing a room that could be rented if needed, to having a formal vs everyday entrance for family and guests.
In one of the articles I found online, the author asked a neighbor who had lived in a home with two front doors his whole life (90 years) and he said that one was a formal entrance that his parents only used on Sunday when visitors stopped by. It kind of reminds me of when I was growing up how homes always had a “formal” living room that kids weren’t allowed to go in since it was reserved for company.
I’m glad we have mostly moved away from that, although there is something very nostalgic about the idea of company stopping by for tea, ala Downton Abbey. These days I think I’d rather it be iced tea shared out on the swing on my screened porch, instead of hot tea from a silver tea service in a formal living room. You can read a lot more about the theories behind why some homes have two front doors at Old House Web and The Craftsman Blog.
If you loved the restoration of the exterior, wait until you see the inside! This was how the entry of the home looked when the Thomases purchased the property. Interesting that it had a door halfway up the stairs. I wonder if that had something to do with ventilation and keeping the downstairs cool.
Look at this gorgeous entry now! Just stunning! I love the woven market basket under the table, such a cute touch for an entry.
In order to update the electrical and insulation, all the wallboard (is that the same thing as shiplap?) had to be numbered and removed. As years and years of paint was removed, the original details of the home began to appear.
The Thomases discovered the home originally had marbleized baseboards and faux bird’s-eye maple panels beneath the chair rail. Fortunately, these were able to be restored. Isn’t it funny how things sometimes get altered/updated in the name of progress or for the love of the latest trend (think wall-to-wall carpeting) then years later we’re tearing out the carpets and working to return it back to what it once was. It makes me wonder what we’re covering or painting over today that someone will consider a lost treasure in 100 years and will work to bring back.
With the aid of a journal kept by one of the daughters of the original owners, the Thomases were able to discover how the home originally looked and what daily life on their property was like.
The new kitchen is really beautiful! I wish we could see more of it! The cabinets were painted a Benjamin Moore color called “Gentle Cream.” I’m so making a note of that color because I love how it looks here!
The island was built from Cypress wood that was repurposed from another place in the house. I know from my trip to Louisiana and Mississippi last year, that though plentiful back in the 1800’s, Cypress wood is very rare these days. It’s so nice they could make it a focal point here in the kitchen. Such a cute, cute doggie!
A small bedroom was repurposed as a laundry room. Tere decorated it with her grandmother’s old washboards. We have it so good these days. Can you imagine scrubbing clothes on those?! It must have been hard on the clothes and on the hands! The cute baskets are from Kmart and World Market.
I love the quirky, slanted ceilings and plank walls in the bedrooms! You know a room like this is going to be adorable when restored and furnished.
And it is! I wish they hadn’t had to place the beds in front of the windows but I guess that was the only spot for them in a room like this. I may have been tempted to go with brass or iron beds so the light could still shine through, although I love those beds! Would have been a tough decision, choosing the beds. This bedroom has a feminine feel…
while the other bedroom with a similar configuration received a bit more of a masculine design. I love those red & white quilts; they pair so beautifully with the black finish of the beds. They are from the Americana Collection at Dillards.
The Thomases added two detached guest cottages on the property since they have a large extended family who like to visit. Love this toile headboard from Pottery Barn! Just beautiful!
It makes my heart sing when I see an old home being saved from the wrecking ball. Thank goodness for folks like the Thomases with big hearts and the determination to save a lovely old home like Laurietta. I know she’s breathing a big sigh of relief in having her original beauty restored for all to enjoy.
You can read more about the restoration of Laurietta and find additional information about the furnishings here: Renovating a Historic Home in Mississippi