Symphony Home and Garden Tour peeks into local lifetsylesPublished 10:14am Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Less than two of weeks ago, antebellum houses shut their doors for the close of Spring Pilgrimage, and hostesses stowed their hoop skirts and lace collars. On Saturday, another set of homeowners will open their houses and gardens to exhibit lifestyles not of the past, but of today.
Saturday’s Symphony Home and Garden Tours, hosted by the Natchez Garden Club, will offer morning tours of three restored venues near the downtown area and afternoon tours of four houses in the U.S. 61 South area showcasing a more modern lifestyle. A Cocktail Party for Preservation will finish up the night at a house in Church Hill.
Fewer artifacts and century-old family portraits will be on display in exchange for inspiring décor and gardening ideas straight from the pages of a magazine that guests can apply at home, NGC President Cheryl Rinehart said.
Colleen Wilkins Lewis’ cottage on Auburn Avenue showcases 1950s nostalgia, French antiques and a modern “green” movement. Built in 1950, the cottage was restored after Lewis bought it in 2007.
“It was a labor of love and maybe sort of an obsession,” Lewis said.
Friends tried to convince her to remove the 50s-era white awnings, but Lewis wouldn’t budge.
“The awnings add to the whole time period,” Lewis said. “I call it my post-World-War II cottage.”
A white picket fence and fig ivy crawling up the small brick house create a picturesque feel with the help of splashes of colors from the Knockout roses, Mr. Lincoln Climbers, Fox Gloves, Daylilies, snap dragons and too many more flowers to mention.
And vegetable garden and compost bin make the atmosphere as natural and sustainable as it is beautiful.
“It’s an efficient and green way to include recycling, reuse and repurposing as a part of our gardening enjoyment at Rosehill,” Lewis said.
Lewis prides herself on the fire pit her son helped construct from chunks of concrete leftover from the renovation.
A wattle fence made from thin limbs discarded by the back yard trees lines flowerbeds behind the flagstone patio, creating a pathway for she, her husband, Rusty, and her dogs, Roxy, Caldonia and Lily.
“Nothing is perfect,” Lewis said. But that’s the way she likes it, she said.
“(The look reflects) something that looks like it’s been there (for years) or like it’s evolved.”
A mounted deer head and a kitchen countertop made of slate tile offset two chandeliers in the kitchen adjoining TV room area. An animal-print lounge chair was draped with a Navajo blanket.
Lewis said she’s enjoyed mixing tradition with whimsical details in her house’s décor and working with the space she has
to give the cottage its identify.
“Whether it’s 150 years old or 50 years old, a house has character,” Lewis said.
Lewis’ house at 109 Auburn Ave. will be on tour from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Across town, Faye Weatherly’s gardens received a trim Tuesday in preparation of Saturday’s tour of her Woodhaven subdivision house.
As Weatherly stood in her kitchen-slash-sunroom with its back wall made of floor-to-ceiling windows, she said it was that view that convinced her to buy the Duster Drive house, which was built in the 1980s.
The daily routines of Weatherly and her husband, Bob, center around the kitchen and the adjoining screen porch.
“Every night it’s wine on the porch and (in the morning) we’re inside with our coffee,” Weatherly said.
Much of the stonework and some of the landscaping was in place when the Weatherlys bought the house in 2006, but Weatherly added a putting green to the yard for Bob’s birthday as a surprise when he was out of town for the week.
“We enjoy getting out there in the evening and putting around,” she said.
Inside, Weatherly said the style reflects a mix of traditional antiques and modern comfort with unusual combinations of pattern and color.
When Weatherly lost a house full of English antiques in a house fire in 1999, she learned to detach herself from herbelongings, she said.
Since then, the furniture she’s acquired has evolved over the years to into what furnishes her house today.
“I don’t like to match a lot of stuff,” Weatherly said. The Weatherly’s house, at 129 Duster Drive, will be on tour from 1 to 4 p.m.
Other morning tours include the Sunset View Cottage Bed and Breakfast of Louise Peabody at 26 Cemetery Road and the condos of Bill and Bobbye Henley and Susan Barnes in the Depot Condos at 200 State St.
Other afternoon tours include the house Richard and Katie Grace Edgin at 22 Nottaway Trail, the house of Tom and Ginger Schwager at 7 Club Drive and the house of Dick Thompson and Evelyn Fairbanks at 48 Fairway Drive.
Tickets for the day-long tour, including lunch, are $40 per person and are available in advance or at the morning tour houses.
Lunch will be served at Magnolia Hall at 215 S. Pearl St.
After a day of touring, the annual NCG Party for Preservation will be at The Cedars in Church Hill, the home of David and Betty Paradise. Sponsors, guests and the public are invited to attend this benefit for the non-profit Preservation Society of Ellicott Hill, whose purpose is to assist the Natchez Garden Club in the preservation of their properties. Tickets are $50 for the Party for Preservation or $80 for both the tour and the party. For sponsorships and tickets, contact the Natchez Garden Club office 601-443-9065, email@example.com or me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the secret gardens to the mix of furnishings, tour event chairperson Cheryl Rinehart said the tours and party at the Cedars gives locals and tourists a chance to see how people live inside houses that represent of a number of different eras.
“There are little secrets no one ever knows when you’re’ driving down the street,” Rinehart said.