If the house at 198 Natchez Street, just off the historic Collierville town square, could speak, we’re pretty sure its first words would be “well done.”
The Colonial Revival home, built for Dr. Asa Stratton and wife Mary before the start of the Civil War, was charming before its recent renovation into the Stratton House Bed & Breakfast. Now, it’s a show-stopper that incorporates all the home’s historic flourishes with modern amenities, which enhance the character and charm of the original structure.
For owners Katie and Hampton Parr, restoring the Stratton House was kind of an homage to family. Here’s the family tree (we promise there will not be a test at the end!):
The Strattons were Hampton Parr’s great-great-great-grandparents; Dr. Stratton was a Collierville physician, merchant and land investor; his wife Mary Elizabeth taught school in a one room schoolhouse on the property. The Strattons passed the home to their daughter, Mary Eudora, and her husband, Turner Humphreys, who in turn passed it to their daughter Maude and her husband, Paul Baker. The Baker’s daughter, Elizabeth Baker Parr, was Hampton’s grandmother. Although he was born in Collierville, Hampton moved to Chattanooga as a young boy, spent many a summer with his grandmother back at the family home.
“I think she would be really happy to know that we’ve taken such good care of it,” says Katie, stopping beneath an oil painting Hampton commissioned for his grandmother’s 100th birthday. It hangs in the living room of the home, a constant reminder of her love for and influence on her grandson.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Stratton House renovation stayed true to the homes original architectural elements while incorporating lush upgrades to create a luxurious retreat that doubles as an event venue. Architect Michael Walker, of WalkerArch, designed an updated kitchen and gathering area, and updated and added bathrooms to the three downstairs bedrooms with the goal of keeping the historic integrity of the house intact.
“We all wanted to maintain the true character of the original house,” says Michael. “We matched everything that we could and only deviated from the ‘historic’ when we wanted to modernize the spaces for today’s living.” Ashley Binkley, of York Binkley Interior Design, had the same goal in her design plan for the home. “When your client has such rich ties with the home you are designing, you want to create spaces that pull out the essence of that richness,” says Ashley. “That is what I really tried to do with the parlor. It is classic yet versatile. It is comfortable in the morning with a cup of coffee and elegant in the evening with a glass of wine. Most importantly it exudes the character of the house… which is important as the late Mrs. Parr is still keeping watch.”
For Hampton and Katie, who live in another home nearby Stratton House, owning a bed and breakfast wasn’t their first plan for the family home. But with two small children, Katie says it made sense “to stay where we are now and let other people enjoy it.”
Each of the three bedrooms available to guests is decorated in soothing colors; beds are topped with luxurious linens, and simple prints or paintings adorn the walls. Historic touches are seen throughout each suite, from a claw-foot tub to antique accessories. The tall, graceful windows allow for loads of natural light to filter through. The atmosphere is warm and luxuriously comfortable.
Related: 5 Fun Reasons to Visit Collierville
The new kitchen is a cook’s dream, as well as a functional catering space for parties and events. Wine and snacks are offered for guests in the evenings, and the restaurants along the historic town square are just a stroll away for dinner.
Stratton played host to its first wedding earlier this year, held outside on the broad lawn. The curved brick back porch with columned façade — additions to the original home — served as the backdrop for the wedding and reception; a tent and tables turned the open space into a festive event venue. Depending on the configuration, up to 200 guests can be accommodated outside and about 50 guests inside for parties and weddings.
In the home’s expansive attic area, new rooms were constructed including a bed and bathroom for the innkeeper, and a large open space for a family room. While it’s a lush bed and breakfast for others to enjoy now, the Parrs likely will eventually move their family into Stratton House, and another generation of Stratton ancestors will call 198 Natchez Street home once more.
Thanks to Julie Wage Ross for her fantastic photos of Stratton House.
See more beautiful homes in Memphis and around the South — click here to visit our “Home & Decor” section. And make sure you subscribe to StyleBlueprint for the best of Memphis delivered to your inbox every morning at 5 a.m. SHARP!