Home Town lovers who turn into Laurel visitors have an obsession with seeing the renovated houses on the show. Most people don't know that there are many treasures scattered around the historic district of downtown that have never made it onto the big screen. One of the most beautiful and historic houses has remained Laurel's best-kept secret until today.
Situated across the street from St. John's Episcopal Church and right down the street from the center of Downtown Laurel and Laurel Little Theatre is a stunning mansion and staple of Laurel history — the Deakle House.
Gwen and John Deakle are the new owners of this historic home, but they're not strangers to Laurel, Mississippi. Gwen was born and raised in Laurel and her four siblings, who remain residents just around the corner from her. Her husband, John, has been a respected lawyer in Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt area for over 45 years.
The Deakles have watched Laurel develop over the last few decades, and they are excited to join the community and contribute to its growth. Thanks to their hospitality, we are able to share a glimpse into this beautiful home that has captured the hearts of many.
The Deakles are lovers of art. They enjoy traveling, visiting museums, collecting artwork and furniture meaningful to them from local shops and around the world. It was no surprise that her entry would be a work of art in itself.
Gwen says, "We had custom hand-painted wallpaper fitted for this room. Every wall shares a different scene of the treasures of the world. The staircase was the trickiest part."
The wallpaper sheets were unable to fit perfectly to the angle of the staircase, so an artist, who previously worked for the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, came to their home and painted the missing spaces. It took several weeks to complete, but the artist painted hidden elements onto the pieces that most wouldn't spot without closer examination, including a miniature painting of the Deakle's family cat, Kitty. (You will see her soon!)
MAIN LIVING ROOM
"John uses this room often; it's got a portion of his books, and the mahogany wood makes it really cozy. While everything is still a work-in-progress, we love seeing the house's personality shine through, like these lights. They're original to the house, and they're real Tiffany glass."
"This room is paneled with mahogany. When we bought the house, the mahogany needed to be restored. It was sanded down and all that was used to refinish it was a clear lacquer. That is how dark and rich this mahogany wood is in this home. You can tell it was built with fine woodwork." — Gwen
"Originally, this porch was closed, but the screening had fallen into disrepair somewhere along the line. Everything had been taken down, and this was open. We found the photographs of the original home and decided to put the glass back in." — Gwen
"This is where we spend all of our time because we love the natural light. John loves to read, so you'll find books on every surface in this house." — Gwen
"We've collected a few pieces of furniture from The Remnant here in Laurel. I love finding treasures there!" — Gwen
The Deakle home is complete with four floors, including the basement on the first floor, the main floor on the second, the guest bedrooms and master bedroom on the third floor, and the attic/ guest space on the fourth floor.
"We have a large family to entertain during different parts of the year, and I love to have my grandchildren visit and stay with us. We wanted this house to feel like their own as well."
UPSTAIRS BEDROOMS & BATHROOMS
Gwen is a phenomenal designer, and she enjoys making each room tell a story or express a specific personality. The vibrant emerald and pink chinoiserie lamps in her granddaughter's guest room were stunning. The most surprising element was the framed photo of when the Deakles met the Queen of England.
"We love living here. The weather is so beautiful in the fall and spring, and our favorite thing to do is walk the neighborhoods in the afternoon. My sister and I walk downtown almost every day. It's just so fun to see our hometown filled with people visiting."
Thank you, Gwen and John, for your kind hospitality and allowing us to enjoy your gorgeous home!