By Ginna Parsons
Susan Harp says everyone who comes through the door of her home in Itawamba County has the same reaction.
“They say, ‘Oh, this is so comfortable,’ or ‘I feel like I’ve gone to Grandma’s house.’”
And that’s just the vibe Harp was going for when she and her husband, Buck, started building their farmhouse near Smithville in 2015.
Harp, 57, came up with the design, then turned her sketches over to Roy Thompson of Hatley, who turned her ideas into blueprints. Glyn Hester of Nettleton was the general contractor and Steve Sanderson of Amory helped with the interior design.
“I wanted a farmhouse,” Harp said. “I didn’t want anything too country and nothing too faddish. I’m just a traditionalist at heart. I like my pottery and my wood, so this was a perfect house for us to build.”
The 2,700-square-foot home, with its cypress and brick exterior and tin roof, is one-story. It has two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, an open living/dining/kitchen area, an entry hall with a seating area, a laundry room that doubles as an office and craft room, and a screened porch with a fireplace.
“We have a big back porch we use for entertaining and we built a pool for the grandkids,” she said.
She chose a soft, earthy, green-gray palette for the walls in the home and off-white for the trim for a light, airy feel.
The ceilings in the home are all 12-feet high, except for the living area, which has a 20-foot cathedral ceiling made of shiplap and exposed beams.
“The heart pine floors and the beams are all from an old cabin in Red Bay, Alabama, that was built during the Civil War era,” she said. “The floors and beams are our pride and joy. The house was built around this wood.”
In the kitchen, Harp opted for a quartz island and countertops, stainless steel appliances and white subway tile for the backsplashes.
“The kids eat lunch here every Sunday. That’s a tradition,” she said. “I can seat close to 20 in the kitchen if I have to and still have room to walk around.”
As stunning as the cathedral ceiling and open floor plan are, it’s really the home’s furnishings that make it unique.
“What makes this home to us is the stuff that’s in it,” Harp said. “From the beginning, I knew I wanted the front hallway to be a mess of family pictures and stuff I love. That’s what makes it comfortable.”
The coffee table in the living room is an old quilt box that was Buck’s mother’s. A ginner’s desk in the corner of the room came out of the Delta. The dining room table is made from walnut that Harp’s father, Charlie McCarthy, had cut from his yard.
“The table’s base is from an old rubbish site my dad has,” she said. “When people throw stuff away, Dad goes and gets it. The stone on the chimney on the screened-in porch is from an old house in Fulton that Dad owned.”
The Harps call a long narrow table in the foyer the “pill” table.
“Buck’s great-great-uncle, Doc Stone of Tremont, would practice medicine behind that table,” she said. “He’d dispense medicine from one side of it.”
A pew in the foyer came out of the Tilden Church of Christ. A McCall’s pattern cabinet in the laundry room is from Grady Gaither’s store in Fulton. And an ice chest that serves as a side table in the entry hall/sitting area was handmade by Buck’s great uncle, Hugh Stone, when he was a student at Mississippi State.
“It still has the original liner in it,” she said. “It’s very well-preserved.”
Buck’s Grandmother Harp’s old china cabinet, newly painted, sits in the master bedroom and is filled with Harp’s mother’s old quilts.
“Overall, the feeling of this house is home,” Harp said “My husband jokingly says this is our fourth forever home because I’ve built four new houses. But this one is connected to 250 acres so, for now, this is the last one. This will be the house for making memories.”