By Lena Mitchell
The journey for Linda Caldwell, a retired teacher, and her husband, a Tupelo banker, has led to the interior transformation of their Frank Lloyd Wright-style home.
Linda Caldwell said the changes blend the furnishings left to the couple by Rick’s late mother and her own design preferences.
“I couldn’t have done it without the help of the people at Staggs,” she said. “Kelly Holcomb and Pat Kilpatrick helped with every aspect of bringing it all together.”
The late Dr. Gene and Mrs. Eugenia Caldwell, Rick’s parents, had the home built in the early 1950s and worked with one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s proteges, Linda Caldwell said.
When Rick and Linda Caldwell married in 1980, it was in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the home’s living room.
“I couldn’t have asked for better in-laws,” she said. “We were so lucky to be left this house.”
Eugenia Caldwell lived in the house until her passing in 2008, and along with the house, she left her extensive collection of Asian-influenced furnishings.
Linda Caldwell’s design goal was to blend the elder Mrs. Caldwell’s style with her own contemporary and antique pieces.
The home’s footprint encompasses 2,500 square feet and features the simple, clean lines that are a signature of homes designed with the renowned architect’s influence. The main floor is constructed in a linear design that lies left and right of two front entry doors.
Both Asian influences and antiques are displayed from the home’s front entrance that leads to the signature Wright-style of open floor plan.
In the living room, no draperies frame the three tall windows, welcoming the natural light and giving a panoramic view of the 10 acres of park-like property with its man-made lake.
“We’re in the city of Baldwyn, but it’s like being in the country,” Linda Caldwell said. “Our lake has carp, catfish, bream, a variety of fish, and we’re always seeing herons, ducks, deer and all kinds of animals.”
Walls in the living room soar to a ceiling constructed of shiplap boards. The room’s accent wall displays both a sculptural piece and a painting by famed Mississippi artist George Wardlaw, whom Dr. Caldwell sponsored in his early career.
The accent wall also supports the living room side of a pass-through raised fireplace, whose other side opens into the dining room.
The entire living area brings the outdoors in. Waist-to-ceiling windows surround the dining room, opening the room up to another view of the downhill path to the lake and a gazebo constructed in the 1970s.
Family gatherings take place around the same rectangular Danish modern dining table the elder Mrs. Caldwell used, though the kitchen has been completely remodeled.
“Rick is a fabulous cook and he wanted a gas top range and Jenn-Air appliances, so I said, ‘Honey, whatever you want,’” Linda Caldwell said.
The ceiling-high and under-counter cherry wood cabinets, along with an island, provide plenty of storage. One feature Linda Caldwell loves is a drawer-style microwave, so she doesn’t have to rise on tiptoe to see inside an over-the-range style.
Cork rather than hardwood has been used on floors throughout the home, a material that is considered easy on backs and knees.
From behind the kitchen island, the flow is through a butler’s pantry that leads right back to the front hallway.
“It’s a design I saw in Southern Living magazine, and Barry Pierce and Anita Dillard of Pierce Cabinets did a great job creating just what I wanted,” she said.
The open pantry design includes a custom display cabinet that houses Linda Caldwell’s crystal and china collections, as well as a felt-lined drawer for her silverware.
Continuing down the front hall, and on the opposite side of the formal living room is the den, where more high windows allow light to permeate the room.
“Rick wanted to keep some things like his mother and daddy had it, and I wanted it to feel a lot like his childhood home,” Linda Caldwell said.
The hallway is situated along the house’s front wall, and leads to the three bedrooms and baths. The windows throughout the house that are a highlight of the home’s design are mostly unadorned, so that the views outside those windows become a focal point.
From the outside, many of the house’s unique features are not visible, enclosed by the house’s linear brick front walls.
A small courtyard and garden with bubbling fountain are the setting for a table and chairs for a quiet cup of morning coffee.
Across a two-vehicle carport from the courtyard is a hidden patio with more tables, chairs, and a good vantage point above the hillside garden that leads down to the lake.
“It was unexpected that we’d decide to move from Tupelo to Baldwyn at this stage of our lives, but Baldwyn is such a nice town, it’s really come alive,” Linda Caldwell said. “It’s been a nice transition and I can’t say enough nice things about Baldwyn.”