the idiosyncratic architecture of belhaven

If real estate sparks your interest (it sure does mine), Jackson, Mississippi’s #Belhaven neighborhood is an endless trove of Southern architecture where no two houses are the same, as far as I can tell. Sidewalks start and stop, for no reason I’m able to summon. And the houses are so wonderfully different.

There is this stately Spanish Eclectic beauty on Gillespie Street.

Belhaven 1

And this bungalow a little further down Gillespie.

Belhaven 2

This traditional home on Manship is nestled in leafy spaces.

Belhaven 3

And then this Neoclassival Revival property–Kennington’s Mansion on Carlisle–boasts a broad, grassy lawn.

Belhaven 4

If you’re thinking about calling Belhaven home, be advised that Belhaven is a historic district and subject to design guidelines, which you can access here.

bloom on, azaleas

March 2019 marks the end of my third winter in central Mississippi, and I’m embarrassed to admit this is the first time I’ve noticed all the beautiful azaleas.

This shrub produces some fantastic flowers in the most saturated colors. A bright pink, as observed on Quinn Street in #Belhaven:

And vibrant red on Whitworth Street:

And even fuchsia at the Mississippi State Capitol in downtown Jackson:

How magnificent.

green clover, green clover

One of my neighbors in #Belhaven has a large clump of clover at the corner of his property. And every time I pass it by, I can’t help but peer closely and hope I find a four-leafer.

Jackson Mississippi Belhaven Clover Deep South

Clover is an herbaceous plant in the pea family, and its leaves are primarily three lobed. It took some diligence but I finally found a four-leafer–in my backyard when I was pulling weeds. Insert eye roll.

Honestly can’t remember the last time I found a four-leaf clover. Was I ten? Eleven or twelve? As a late 40-something, I’ll take this as a positive sign and hope that good luck might blow my way. (Now if I can just find a rainbow and a pot of gold.)

clean, vacuum, polish, repeat

I shared previously that my house in #Belhaven is for sale, and–Captain Obvious statement of the century–selling your house is quite an undertaking. My broker recently had the photos redone, and I love how they turned out.

House 1

House 3

House 2

I’ve tidied the house from top to bottom enough times that I’ve arrived at a cleaning formula. Cleaning this house (3 bedrooms, 2 baths) takes approximately 5 hours and involves cleaning, vacuuming, and polishing. Through trial and error, I have found these products work best:

– Scouring stick (you can use the scouring stick on tubs as well as ceramic tile)
– Comet
– Windex (cleaning glass with Windex makes a cool squeaking sound)
– Stainless steel polish
– Bona brand tile cleaner and hardwood floor polish

(The Bona brand is kind of spendy but really worth it.)

1109 pinehurst place

At 1109 Pinehurst Place in #Belhaven sits the home of one of Mississippi’s greatest authors–Eudora Welty (1909—2001). If you visit Jackson, the Welty House and Garden Tour is a must-experience experience. The tour takes about an hour; admission is just $5.

Constructed in 1925, this two-story Tudor Revival is where Miss Welty wrote her most famous works–The Robber Bridegroom, The Optimist’s Daughter, and Delta Wedding in addition to short stories and essays. The house is largely intact as Miss Welty inhabited and left it before passing in 2001. Books and manuscripts are everywhere. There’s even her Smith-Corona typewriter at her desk in her bedroom that overlooks the tree-lined grounds of Belhaven College (now Belhaven University).

Eudora Welty House Belhaven Jackson Mississippi Deep South

Source: Eudora Welty House and Garden, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Photos are not permitted, unfortunately, so you have to commit this house and its garden rooms (containing more than 30 varieties of camellia shrubs and trees) to memory as you move throughout. For those who cannot visit in person, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History offers an online photo tour, which you can experience here.

goodbye, honeysuckle | hello, crepe myrtles

I have a honeysuckle shrub in my back yard and the last 4 weeks have been pretty glorious. Is there a better smell than fresh honeysuckle blossoms? Walking the dogs in #Belhaven amid all of these flowering trees and bushes is such a wonderful experience. I look forward to walking this daily path. Penny and Nickel sniff and wag their tails the whole way. At some point I’ll try to capture it on video.

The honeysuckle flowers are fading fast but the crepe myrtles are in their full regalia. Such showy trees when they are in bloom. The flowers are pale pink, purple, white, red, and watermelon–a hot pink color that is my favorite.

Crepe myrtles

I hope Jacksonians know how lucky they are to live in such lush beauty. I don’t take any of this for granted as a Chicagoan. In fact I marvel at how alive things are here.

Last weekend I purchased some annuals for my backyard deck because, well, annuals. They’re just so colorful. And it was my birthday.


I was chatting with one of my neighbors and bemoaned the fact that I would only be able to enjoy them until September. His reply: “WHAT? You’ll be able to enjoy them until November. You’re in the South now.” Word.

clearance special: a love letter

If you read my last post, you might be thinking I was ready to hightail it out of #Jackson and head back home (Chicago). On the contrary, no. A thousand times no. I am a homeowner here. I knew from the moment I stepped into the house as a prospective buyer that this was the one for me. It has abundant windows. Sunlight everywhere. It also has that old house smell, which I find endlessly comforting.

Sometime in September 2017 I started redecorating in earnest. I nicknamed my house Clearance Special because I sought home decor on clearance. I love a good deal/bargain. Who doesn’t really? Anyhow, I filled Clearance Special with mismatched but colorful prints, tables, plants (fake), pottery. Some nooks have a theme, as this one does:


Other rooms were works in progress, as with the office. (It really needed a rug, which I found later).

Clearance 1

My home team–my two dogs and cat–also really love this house. And the backyard in particular. My little rescue dog, Nickel Short, has really thrived here. To see her leap around the back yard brings me a lot of joy. My coworker Elizabeth took some action shots of Nickel and Penny, and these photos pretty much sum it up. Heart you, Clearance Special.