Real estate agent

Realtor Tupelo’s house will be on tour in the Joyner neighborhood

May 8 – TUPELO – When Chris Rakestraw bought his home in the Joyner neighborhood in 2018, he knew he was getting a piece of Tupelo history.

Tax records show the two-story folk Victorian home was built in 1930 and has had multiple owners over the years.

“I have a connection with a lot of houses, but not this one,” said Rakestraw, a real estate broker. “I never even really noticed it. Now you can’t help noticing it.”

Rakestraw’s home, on the corner of West Jackson Street and Clayton Avenue, diagonally across from Forklift Restaurant, is one of two homes and five gardens that will open to the public on May 21 as part of the Joyner Garden District. Home and Garden Tour.

The tour includes Rakestraw’s house and garden; Chanda Cossitt’s house and garden on Clayton; Debbie Houston’s garden on Clayton; David Moore’s Garden on Pinehurst; and Jerry Thompson’s garden on Long.

Participants can also visit the neighborhood’s two triangle gardens and the garden at Joyner Elementary. Additionally, a new deli kitchen and market across from Rakestraw’s home, Char Cutie, will also be on tour.

The self-guided tour begins at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church at 1400 Clayton Avenue at 9 a.m. and ends at noon. Next, there will be a luncheon at St. Luke’s hosted by Sweet Tea & Biscuits with guest speaker Tracy Shane Kramer, Master Gardener and Rosary Consultant through the American Rose Society.

Tickets for the tour, lunch and speaker are $25 each and can be purchased at Sweet Tea & Biscuits, Sonshine Candles and Pottery or by calling (662) 397-3060 or (662) 871-1069.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids and their moms to spend time together — to have a special outing — on Mother’s Day weekend,” said Joan Lansdell, president of Joyner Beautification.

Artisans from the Joyner neighborhood will also have their wares, such as paintings and pottery, for sale at St. Luke’s on the morning of the tour.

“All proceeds from the tour go towards beautifying the Joyner neighborhood, its public spaces and the Joyner Elementary garden,” Lansdell said.

Rake at home

The first thing Rakestraw did after buying his house was put a new roof on it.

“When I first visited the house, it was raining and the rain was falling on the hardwood floors in the dining room,” he said. “There were no buckets to collect rainwater or anything like that.”

He also had the metal siding removed from the exterior of the house to expose the original wood siding, and he installed new windows.

“We refinished all the hardwood floors — they’re pine — with a natural matte finish,” he said. “Then we started working piece by piece.

Rakestraw lived in the house for a few years, but now uses it as his real estate office. It has four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms.

“Each bedroom has an attached bathroom, which could make the house a bed and breakfast at some point,” he said.

The house has four functional fireplaces – the one in the living room is in Carrara marble – and 11 pocket doors. The ground floor rooms have 12 foot ceilings, with many crown moldings and mill work.

“You don’t usually find this type of factory work in homes,” Rakestraw said.

He has furnished the ground floor, which will be open to visitors, with an eclectic mix of antiques and modern pieces.

“It’s really a mix of different styles,” he said. “I buy what I like and try to make it work.”

In 2020, Rakestraw began landscaping the exterior of the house to make it a true Southern garden – lots of azaleas, camellias, soft-touch holly and derivative roses.

“We have two Jane Magnolias flanking the porch and Limelight hydrangeas planted under those,” he said. “Most of what we have is a perennial garden, with a few annuals for color.”

Rakestraw said that when asked to put his garden and house on tour, he didn’t hesitate to say yes.

“I feel like the house needs a reintroduction,” he said. “We have worked so hard here.”

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