Design*Sponge

designsponge.com · Aug 4, 2014

A Cottage with Plenty of Southern Charm


Growing up just outside the town of Laurel, Mississippi, Erin Napier, owner and creative director of Lucky Luxe, relished the opportunity to come into town and gawk at the beautiful homes on the avenues. In junior high school, she would come downtown to take photos and draw her favorite houses, and her most favorite of them all was the yellow cottage near the art museum. When she and her husband Ben were dating in college, Erin brought him home to meet her family and took long walks around the neighborhood. She pointed out her favorite homes and they imagined living in the historic neighborhood. Three years after their wedding, they realized that the sweet little yellow cottage belonged to one of the parishioners from their church (Ben is a Methodist student ministry director). They were taking a walk one afternoon and Erin saw her on the porch and said, “Oh Mrs. Mary Lynn! I LOVE your house! I’ve always loved it!” She invited the couple in for a tour and as they were leaving Erin made the offhand remark, “If you ever decide to sell it, please call us. We would love to buy your house one day.” She thought nothing of it, but a couple days later Mrs. Mary Lynn called. She decided living alone was too much work and she wanted to get a condo. She wanted a young family to have her house. And so Erin and Ben bought the yellow craftsman cottage a month later. Erin says that “Some little girls start planning their weddings as children, but I had been planning my dream house.” Growing up, she would tear pages from her mom’s magazines and save them in a plastic accordion folder. She found it when they bought the house and discovered that her taste hasn’t changed at all since 1999. There were white interiors and dark, weathered wood pieces and found art. She had done all the legwork in 9th grade. -Amy

Photography by Jean Allsopp

Image above: “Ben built our dinner table to fit the dimensions of our dining room from sentimental wood, if such a thing can exist,” Erin says. “He hand-planed my parents’ old deck boards to make the tabletop, and used their former front porch columns for legs. The chairs came from different flea markets all over Mississippi. We decided up front we wouldn’t spend more than $10 per chair, and they would have to be sturdy and wooden.”


Image above: “The kitchen was the only room besides the half bath that we renovated. While almost the entire house received a complete renovation after hurricane Katrina in 2005, the tree didn’t land on the kitchen so it went unchanged. When we bought it, this room was baby blue and 1960s dollhouse cutesy with formica countertops and an awkward appliance layout. We gutted the room, found stainless appliances on sale and on Craigslist, inexpensive butcher block countertops, white subway tile at 75% markdown, and all of the drawer and cabinet hardware came from an architectural salvage shop in Boston. We found boxes upon boxes of pulls and knobs from pharmacies, schoolhouses and factories across New England and bought them all for a song. Some are copper, some are brass, some are painted or oiled, and each one is my favorite one. The lights above the windows were originally wired from the wall, so to make things easy we just bought factory pulleys to suspend them from the ceiling without changing their electrical hookup point. Ben built a refrigerator cabinet with shelving, cookie sheet cabinets, and a chalkboard grocery list that I invented from my imagination. It totally solved the awkward layout problem.”


See more of this Mississippi home after the jump!
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