Joe and Callie Cain met as college students at Camp Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, Miss., in 2011. When the summer ended, they went their separate ways—Callie back to Bryan College in the mountains of Tennessee and Joe to Mississippi State University. In 2015, they reconnected, and they were married the same year. They settled in Tupelo, Miss., where Joe works as a web developer for Mabus Agency and runs his own wedding videography business and Callie works at the Autism Center and Origins Church.
Some might say the two had an old-fashioned courtship, and they bought an old home to match. In April 2016, on Joe’s birthday, the Cains purchased a quaint white house on Madison Street near downtown with a fenced in front yard for their dog, Koopa. They have tackled their labor of love one room at a time, transforming it into a space that is a reflection of their marriage—unique and comfortable with the perfect amount of each of their personalities injected.
The home features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living area, combination kitchen and dining area and a home office. For all the similarities Joe and Callie claim, their tastes can also be quite different. Surprisingly, in the main areas of the home, you cannot tell where one begins and the other begins. Joe’s artistic prints, clean lines and neutral tones are contrasted by Callie’s floral, lace and bright colors so that there is not too much of either.
For the newlywed Cains, the name of the game is compromise.
“It’s important to allow each other to have your little pieces,” Callie said.
“I want Joe to know his opinion and his likes and dislikes are taken into account.”
Joe agrees, and for him, that meant learning to live with color.
In the cool-toned kitchen with neatly stacked plates and cookware, a teapot collection is on display. Floral china hangs on the walls and a sunshine yellow teapot sits atop the stove. The living room showcases a handmade banner and flag, one made by Callie for Joe and the other crafted together. A floral pennant inscribed with the word “grace” in cursive lettering hangs in the bedroom, above the mid-century modern dresser given to them by Joe’s parents.
To make the combining of styles a bit easier, Joe and Callie have both claimed a space for their own. For Callie, it’s the guest room, which she fondly refers to as her “Jane Austen shrine,” although a few of her literary-themed pieces have escaped into the living areas. It’s the room where she can be impractical. There’s a smattering of mismatched florals and a desk she admits is impractical.
Joe didn’t ask for his home office, but Callie thought the previously empty room was the perfect spot for him to edit wedding his wedding videos. It features black walls and an accent wall showcasing the home’s original shiplap. White painted built-ins house books and trinkets and prints dangle from wooden hangers.
“It’s a space where I feel good about my work,” Joe said.
“I’ve been far more productive in a space I’m comfortable in.”
Joe and Callie prioritize character over matching pieces. Much of the furniture found in the couple’s home came from family. Callie does not see them as hand-me-downs, but as sweet reminders of all the people in their corner as they begin their life together. Joe’s parents, in particular, made a real investment in the home, sleeping on blow-up mattresses on weekends to help with the renovation.
Joe admits they are “habitual redecorators.” It isn’t uncommon for them to rearrange or add new pieces that are purchased at Ikea, found at antique stores or handcrafted by him and Callie. Her current project is floral curtains.
After nearly a year of hard work, the 1930s house feels like home for the Cains.
“We listened to each other a lot, and I like what happened,” Callie said.
“We just had to communicate our visions.”