It's open season on antiques!
As the editor of Country Living (@rachelhardagebarrett), I have seen and admired my fair share of before-and-afters, but it wasn’t until the spring of 2021 that I embarked in earnest on one of my own. It all started when I stumbled across a real estate listing for a foreclosed farmhouse in the Mississippi Delta, and before I could say “one Mississippi,” I was driving past long stretches of flat farmland to see it for myself. Built in the 1930s, the home had functioned as a hunting lodge for a family out of Memphis until it changed hands and ultimately fell into foreclosure. Still, despite its seen-better-days state—peeling paint, birds fluttering about in the foyer—I saw endless potential (Those paneled walls! That circular gravel drive!) and enlisted fellow old house lover and Country Living Contributor Holly Audrey Williams (@hollyaudreywilliams) to tackle the house in tandem. Holly was the perfect collaborator: She has restored more homes than you can count on both hands, and we shared a vision for this property that I can best describe as “design with a drawl.” Here’s how, with the help of contractor Obert Douglas and countless others, we got the 100-year-old home ready for a joint family Friendsgiving—and the lessons we learned along the way.
Make Room for Muck
Delta rains are no joke, so we wanted a mudroom that could handle the mess, while also evoking the tweed-cap refinement of the boot rooms you’d find in the English countryside. The black, brown, and white color scheme takes its inspiration from hunting dog breeds (also seen on the skirted table). An assortment of wool hats and waxed canvas coats, many from Alabama retailer Tom Beckbe, allow for guests to settle in to country-casual attire. Jute rugs placed in front of each cubby minimize boot removal mess.