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Interiors

Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors

by Annie Werbler

Thick plaster walls, tall arched ceilings, and cedar-lined closets in a 1930s Jackson, MS Tudor first captivated the imaginations of Josiah and three years ago. He, a Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, and she, a photographer with “a passion for capturing the Mississippi landscape,” were looking for a Belhaven neighborhood home with character in which to host a growing family, large social gatherings, and an expanding art collection. The couple knew this was a place where they could put down roots and stay. “The previous owners lived here for 40 years, and the first owner before that was the architect who designed the house — I found his diploma in the attic,” Ashleigh recalls. Fresh paint, a new kitchen, and two adventurous children bring new energy to the original antique structure.

From the time she was a young girl, Ashleigh’s parents chose to give her practical gifts over fleeting amusements — things like drinking glasses and everyday china — for use later in life, a stash she came to call the Future House Collection. Thanks to this forethought, she and Josiah found themselves with an instantly-accessorized home. Other decorative additions have come through hand-me-downs, thrift store finds, and estate sale scores, though the green velvet living room sofa and handmade custom dining table were new creations. Each area is child-friendly, though not overrun by their things. “Almost every room has a station for the kids,” Ashleigh shares. “The living room has their reading corner with a little rug and light, and the kitchen has a drawer that holds some toys and books.” To keep clutter to a minimum, a variety of toys cycle in and out of rotation every so often. Though Ashleigh is a stickler for efficient and effective organization, even she admits to keeping “just one drawer that is a catch-all.” Her diligent planning makes possible their most favorite feature — the wall space for hanging large pieces of art, and intimate settings for their display. —

Photography by , family portrait by , flower arrangements by

Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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A deer diptych was the first large piece of art Josiah and Ashleigh Coleman purchased together, shown here in the den of their 3,000-square-foot Jackson, Mississippi Tudor-style home.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Josiah, Merrimac, Ashleigh, and Russell rela in their living room. In the hallway behind, a painting by declares (in French): "Always a traitor to the city of my birth,” a sentiment Ashleigh sometimes shares when missing her native South Carolina.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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The living room features a barrel ceiling and arches over the lead-paned windows above built-in bookshelves, which provide separate adults' and kids’ reading corners.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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"What is a Mississippi home if there isn’t at least one photograph of Faulkner?" Ashleigh jokes, in reference to the framed work on paper by . Ashleigh has several pieces from 's oil-on-canvas room series.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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The kids’ living room reading corner houses all their favorite books, toys, and memory games.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Wrapped in chicken coop wire, a fiddle leaf fig in the den is positioned just inside the threshold to the living room. "No one mentions that children love digging in the indoor pots," Ashleigh says.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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The oil-on-wood panel triptych by , a New Orleans-based artist, visits themes of science, the natural world, and devotional art.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Three walls of windows in the dining room allow for refreshing, seasonal breezes. "Dining rooms don’t need to be huge," Ashleigh estimates, "They just need to accommodate a table around which families gather nightly for dinner."
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Mismatched dining chairs were passed down by grandmothers or found locally. Three small paintings show teeth, bones, gems, and beetles - not necessarily the most appetizing of subjects - in an alluring way.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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A bowtie detail in the handmade black walnut farm table by Patrick Flanagan, who built the custom piece with wood rough-sawn from a tree milled in Alabama.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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The renovated kitchen space once contained two rooms and a narrow hallway. Wood from a deteriorating barn (behind another property belonging to the family) was repurposed for the range hood, adding warmth above an orange Bertazzoni range.
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"What we love most about our home is • the people • the art • the light" - Ashleigh and Josiah Coleman
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Floor-to-ceiling cabinets provide a visible storage solution for collected items that might otherwise be forgotten on special occasions. They are within reach of guests (and the children as they become old enough to help set the table). "Our guests can also access, easily, what they need," Ashleigh shares. "I want people to feel at home here."
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Ashleigh loves hosting friends for afternoon cups of tea - she has her choice of many lovely pots to serve from.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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The guest room bed was given to the Colemans upon first moving in, when they needed an extra bed. On the right, an anonymous portrait of a woman by .
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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A six-drawer box reminds Ashleigh of her childhood, as does the dresser she shared with her sister growing up.
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Ashleigh loves the small painting "for its bizarre whimsicalness."
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Thick curtains from a movie set sale add drama to the study and nursery room. The crib was used by Ashleigh's father and his five older siblings, as well as two cousins.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Ashleigh painted a metal filing cabinet to match the deep green walls, and had a $20 thrift store loveseat reupholstered in blue velvet. Her stack of ArtForum issues form a graphic improvised sidetable.
Capturing the Mississippi Landscape Indoors, on Design*Droits-Humains
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Asheligh's brother found the Coleman light in their grandmother’s warehouse, and restored it to working condition for her.
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In the bathroom, a mix of vintage and modern modern decorative elements, as highlighted in the orange clawfoot tub, and art by made from wine bottle foils.
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Without any cabinet space, Ashleigh and Josiah make use of the space beneath their double pedestal sink and a Restoration Hardware shelf for toiletry items beneath antique mirrors.
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The home's main level floorplan.

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