A major addition and renovation for an anthropologist, folklorist, photographer, and Director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture (now head of the National Endowment for Hu-manities), his wife, and 14-year-old daughter. This project won an Honor Award from AIA/ Mississippi, in 2000.
The objective was to transform the house in a radical way while preserving its funky, rustic character and the homey patina it had acquired since Dr. Ferris bought and occupied it in 1979. The major impetus of the project was improved entertainment space for large gatherings, and an improved view of and engagement with the site, a three-acre oasis of wildflowers four blocks from the Square in this small-but-burgeoning college town.
Important components of the program included a new master bedroom suite, offices for Bill and Marcie, a major renovation of the kitchen, better vehicular access and accommodation, and more privacy from the street.
The house had been relocated to this then-tiny site some thirty years earlier, set on fill dirt held in place by a beautiful if precarious-looking concrete rubble retaining wall.
The expanded house is an assemblage of vernacular southern building types: a Creole cottage and a mannered shotgun house, the space between recalling the breezeway of a dog-trot. This is tied together by the new sunporch extending the southern length of the house, itself book-ended by two screened porches.
The sunporch is buttressed against the slope, its roof uplifted by the vertical steel trusses. The upward-sloping roof and ceiling carry the eye to the hillside beyond, abundant with wild-flowers, butter-flies and birds. The extended roof overhang protects the southern expanse of glass from direct sunlight between March and September.