Local living room featured in national magazine

Published 12:07 am Monday, March 12, 2018

by Sabrina Simms

NATCHEZ — Lee Carby was not sure if people actually win social media contests — until she tried it herself.

Now her Natchez living room is featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

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Carby, who has lived in Natchez for six years, said she loves the city’s elegant old-fashioned houses but she wanted to make her family home a mixture of old and new.

“I loved the all-white and pretty look but I knew I wanted color,” Carby said of her family’s Victorian house on South Commerce Street where she lives with her husband, Hyde, and their children.

In October 2016, she signed up on Instagram through house furnishings company The Mine for a $10,000 living room makeover, because, she said, she is a fan and follower of professional designer Eddie Ross, who was the designer for the project.

“I wonder if anybody wins these things?” Carby said she thought at the time she decided to enter.

Ross mixes classic looks with modern colors and furnishings, which Carby said suited her house perfectly.

“I e-mailed the company and had to send a picture of the room and say why I wanted it re-done,” Carby said. “I tried to play up Natchez — being 1890s Victorian.”

Carby said the “old bones” of her Victorian house were perfect for Ross.

“I wanted to go bold,” Carby said, “… mixing the old with the modern.”

She said The Mine began sending items to her in the mail before the designers — Ross and his partner Jaithan Kochar — came to her house in June 2017.

They had curtains specially made to fit her high windows and decided to cater to the popping pink color of an area rug she had bought before entering the contest.

The designers went shopping around town and brought back books, magazines and ornaments with which they painted and decorated her shelves.

Carby’s white living room is now full of color: soft pink walls, yellow and gold lamps, a dark blue sofa and colorful throw pillows.

When the project was completed, Carby said an entire day was spent photographing the completed look. Pictures were sent to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and the feature made it into the magazine this month.

“The end of July, (The Mine) said Better Homes and Gardens would be picking it up,” Carby said. “They said it was a really big deal because typically everything in the South gets picked up by Southern Living.”

Carby said many of her friends and neighbors have asked to see and have complimented her living space since it has been redesigned. Carby said she believes having her house featured in Better Homes and Gardens can bring a spotlight to all the beautiful and old houses of Natchez.

“I think it does bring a spotlight to Mississippi,” Carby said. “It shows that these old, beautiful homes with old bones can be modernized as well.”