A look inside a charming family home
Conveniently located between Oxford’s Square and The University of Mississippi’s campus sits Jodie and Bo Marsalis’ beautiful home. With ideas and guidance from Oxford architect Julie Spears and landscape architect Joby Jackson of Winona, Mississippi, the decade old house is a wonderful rendition of the Marsalises themselves. The residence has a welcoming and warm character. “Well, I love everything about the house, but really my favorite spot is the front porch,” Bo said. “There’s a lot of entertainment up and down the street, with moms strolling their babies, kids with backpacks coming home from school, and people walking their dogs. It’s just kind of a small town feel.
The charm of the front porch is noticeable in its coloring, cypress door and shutters, and wooden chairs and swing. “ I guess the things that people notice most about the house are the unusual front door and the wooden bridge from the sidewalk to the house with the dry creek bed underneath,” Bo explained. The three-quarter acre lot once held two dilapidated homes built after World War II. The homes needed a new sense of ideas and inspiration, so in 2010 the Marsalises began a fourteen month construction project.
Inside, there are antique oriental rugs collected over the years, wooden beams atop the ceilings, a combination of old heart pine and old Chicago brick floors, and walls filled with artists’ works. There are both pastel and oil portraits of their three children by portrait artist Jenny Latham of Atlanta, Georgia. As you walk through the house, soft tones and an eclectic blend of family antiques and modern day furnishings give the home a relaxed quality. Custom made light fixtures in the entrance hall and over the kitchen island lend special touches to the decor. The powder room is particularly interesting with an onyx sink atop an antique chest. A lovely textured, leafy wallpaper completes the room.
The inviting landscape is overseen by Jeff Mc Manus and maintained by Chris Hughes. A mix of drift roses, shrubs, and ornamental grasses greet you as you cross the wooden bridge that leads from the sidewalk to the front door. A crushed rock path then directs you from the end of the front porch to a walled courtyard that is anchored by a large fountain. The courtyard is planted as a formal parterre garden with sheared boxwood hedges as borders. The plantings in the courtyard are primarily perennials, but there are also terra-cotta pots filled with colorful annuals. Jodie has an herb garden in one corner nearest the kitchen. “I consider the courtyard my favorite part of the house; I love the idea of a secret garden behind the high walls,” Jodie said. Exiting the courtyard, the crushed stone pathway continues to the backyard where Jodie has four raised cutting beds. Echinacea, lamb’s ear, yarrow, garden phlox, rudbeckia, and zinnias are among the plants that occupy this area. These plants attract an abundance of hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. By the steps to the back door is a vibrant hibiscus plant and on a side fence in the backyard is tangerine crossvine which produces luscious orange flowers each Spring.
Jodie and Bo agree that they are delighted to be in such an enjoyable home that seems to be absolutely perfect for them.