Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Victorian Houses of MS (copy)

We’ve all seen the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Before NBC bought the rights, you could watch the film on many channels at the same time. I remember actually watching the movie four nights in a row in the late ‘80s. Needless to say, I can quote some lines.

One of my favorite ideas from the movie revolves around the Granville house, a warped, frustrated, old Queen Anne in need of repair. We find Mary Bailey, babe in arm, wallpapering the foyer or scrubbing the wooden floors as she transforms the house into a home.

Nothing is more romantic than returning a run-down Victorian to its original grand state. I use the word romantic because everyone knows “practical” would not be appropriate. For it's true, you will spend more money when you are in love.

Contemplating such a dream? Victorian Houses of Mississippi by Sherry Pace is the first step on your long road to restoration. Pace has photographed 143 distinctly different Victorian homes throughout the state. She has taken great pains to provide color details of the infamous wooden spindles and gingerbread trim associated with this architecture.

Tour the State of Mississippi alphabetically as you flip through this coffee table-size reference. Towns included in our area are Batesville, Como, Hernando, Oxford, Sardis, Senatobia, and Water Valley. One could tour smaller towns and discover these beauties on foot, then relax with a meal from local establishments.

Before you go, be sure to read the essay included in the front of the book. “Late Victorian Residential Architecture in Mississippi” is written by Richard J. Cawthon, an architectural historian for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. His authoritative knowledge includes why “Victorian” may not be the correct word and the difference between styles like Italianate and Queen Anne. He will have you looking through the book as he provides visual examples to match descriptions.

I ran into Mrs. Pace serendipitously when she and husband John stopped in Como to photograph the United Methodist Church. This photo session will be included in her new book for Mississippians titled, Historical Churches of Mississippi.

So, if in the middle of your romantic restoration you discover a lack of money, leave Uncle Billy alone and include this book when you appeal to Mr. Potter.