On the grassy bank of an oxbow lake in the Mississippi River Delta, crisp breezes ripple through the water’s surface and rustle through leaves of great, aged trees in an old pecan grove. Across the lake, gorgeous cypress trees stand proud, as if in a painting, their vibrant red fall leaves reach their peak beauty as winter’s arrival begins to pluck them into its snowy embrace. This gorgeous lakeside vignette, nestled in the Delta region of Eastern Arkansas, captured the hearts of an outdoorsy family, who decided to make it the site of their new home.
To design their dream home, the homeowners turned to architect John Harrison Jones of Memphis-based John Harrison Jones Architect. They wanted a home tailor-made to suit family gatherings and specifically outdoor activities such as water recreation, hunting, fishing, outdoor cooking, bonfires and leisure time on breezy porches.
So, John Harrison Jones designed a modern farmhouse that hearkened back to the land’s former life as a working pecan grove, while maintaining a modern, family-friendly aesthetic. Hemmed in by classic farm fences, the home’s elegant white exterior, sloping metal roofs and multiple porches exude a simplicity reminiscent of old-time Southern farmhouses. This design is made modern by a large kitchen, outdoor cooking area, mud room, outdoor fireplace and porches galore — all features that support the family’s desire for outdoor living.
This classic style is complemented by thoroughly contemporary interiors. An open floor plan with great fireplaces, airy gathering spaces and a wealth of windows anchor the interior. Says architect John, “All fenestration is intentionally positioned for optimal view destinations, panoramic views and to reinforce the communication of the living spaces with the nature of the surrounding environment.”
For the interiors, the family turned to talented interior designer Elizabeth Malmo of Memphis-based Elizabeth Malmo Interior Design. “There is an eclectic and layered feel to the interiors of the home that helps create a warm and inviting space,” says Elizabeth. “We incorporated antiques with modern lighting, classic prints with fresh fabrics, a variety of art and layers of texture from the shiplap walls, wallpapers and elements of cypress to the mohair, jute, cowhide and leather found in the furniture.”
John admits his favorite space is the great room with its fireplace and large windows, specifically because of its connection to nature, citing “the view of the cypress forest across the lake and the ability to feel part of it” as his favorite thing about the home. Similarly, Elizabeth used the Delta’s natural elements as her muse. “We also loved the idea of selecting fabrics that felt connected to the surrounding environment,” she says, describing details of the living room. “We selected a Hodsoll McKenzie sheer for the window treatments that has a ‘watery’ element to it, the pillow fabric reminded us of lily pads, and the Schumacher cut velvet on the game table chairs reminded us of the river. The large Maysey Craddock painting of a pair of cypress trees ties in all the blue tones throughout the space while referencing the surrounding environment.”
The end result is a modern family farmhouse with comfortable yet elegant living spaces that spill out into the lakeside pecan grove, allowing the family to enjoy time together in the shaded porches, al fresco entertaining in the outdoor kitchen and conversations over bonfires at dusk after a long day spent playing on the water.
All photos courtesy of Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography unless otherwise noted.
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