Representing one of the more formal versions of the French Eclectic style, the home of Ronnie and Pat Young is located on two-plus acres of the gently rolling hills of Gray’s Creek subdivision in Hernando. With a symmetrical front façade and monolithic finish, the house’s steep roof line with arched-top dormers projecting through the cornice create a striking first impression. A custom-designed iron and glass front door opens to the entry hall, with travertine and slate cabochons and an iron stair rail designed by Pat Young.
When building their home, the Youngs wanted a house that was designed for entertaining, with a long center hall that serves as a walkway for all of the downstairs rooms. Additionally, outdoors on an expansive patio overlooking a stocked lake, comfortable seating welcomes guests, along with a teak table that will seat 12, a large mosaic-topped table, and a pair of faux bois benches.
“In the six and a half years that we have lived here,” says Pat, “we have hosted birthday parties for friends and family, retirement parties, many dinner parties, Sunday School get-togethers, teas for little girls and their mothers and grandmothers, Woman’s Club parties, garden club meetings, receptions for seminar attendees, and Christmas Open Houses for over 100 people.” As a National Garden Club accredited flower show judge and 3rd Vice President of the Garden Clubs of Mississippi, Pat has had multiple opportunities to make use of a house designed specifically to entertain.
Focusing on large common rooms that flow from one to another and a dining room big enough to host extended family for special meals, the Youngs put in a butler’s pantry with a Dutch door to be used as a bar area to serve beverages to a large group.
Beside it, the 17-foot vaulted ceilings of the hearth room add additional space for larger gatherings of friends and family, with solid timber trusses hewn by master craftsman Wade Burrus, owner of Architectural Timberworks. The hearth room also contains a French buffet au deux corps, an antique French tall case clock, an antique English pine sofa table, an antique French trumeau, and an antique English satinwood writing table. The cricket table there is made from old, weathered pine. “I like wood pieces that have the patina of age,” says Pat. “I like a thing with character, whether from its age or from the craftsmanship of the person who made it and the quality of its materials.”
Mantels in the home were fabricated from a mix of reconstituted limestone and concrete by Mark Pepke of European Stone Werks. All downstairs floors are made of natural materials, including limestone in the hearth room and kitchen areas, travertine in the master bath and two downstairs half baths, and wide oak floors elsewhere. To provide additional comfort for visiting guests during the winter months, the hearth room and kitchen floors are heated, as well as the floors in the master bath.
The kitchen features cabinets to the ceiling designed by Pat and made by Patrick Montgomery. The hood over the cook top is limestone, with a backsplash of tiles hand-made in California. Highlighted in the dining room are an antique English mahogany server, a Chippendale table and chairs, a French chandelier purchased on Magazine Street in New Orleans, and a handmade Persian Heriz rug.
The living room features an antique English mahogany secretary/bookcase, a rustic antique French dough table, two coffee tables by Amy Howard (an artisan commissioned to do a coffee table for former first lady Laura Bush), an antique French carved oak credenza, an antique Italian chandelier, and a handmade Persian Mahal rug.
Reflecting Ronnie Young’s love of the outdoors, the study has walls paneled in glazed alder by Lou Kerns of Kerns-Wilcheck in Memphis, an antique English oak chest of drawers, and a handmade Persian Heriz rug. The study bookcases hold part of a collection of Imari porcelain, contrasted by skull mounts of gemsbok from a safari the Youngs took to South Africa. “I have picked up small items to remember our travels,” says Pat. “A smooth rock from the Snake River in Wyoming that we rafted, a small Toby mug from Ireland to add to my collection, a hand-made basket from South Africa, and linens from France.”
The master bedroom has a custom-designed, hand painted bed by Bella Cosa Studio in Madison, MS. It also features an antique French enfilade (a long buffet with connecting compartments), and an antique French wine-tasting table.
The master bath has a salon tub and contains an antique English wire garden bench and chair. The two half baths downstairs have cabinets also made by Lou Kerns.
Art in the home includes a large barn painting by Freda Hamm purchased 28 years ago; an oil painting by Russian artist Yasharel Manzy; handmade paper reliefs by Blanche Batson of Jackson, MS; a watercolor by George Luks; an abstract wax encaustic by Memphian Mary Long; and most recently, an oil painting by Emily Ozier of Memphis. Neutral wall colors provide a backdrop for the home’s art and for the stained knotty alder doors throughout.
“Over the years, I have collected the things that I like,” says Pat, “whether from a local antique store or from Atlanta or New Orleans. To me, home is where you are surrounded by the people that you love and the things that you love. I am still looking for that special ‘piece’ to go in certain spots in certain rooms. A home is like a person, always changing and growing and maturing.”
Form meets function in a home built for entertaining
Home | July 2016
Story by Tonya Thompson | Photos by Yen Studios