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 a plethora of treasures scattered around the historic district of downtown that never made it onto the big screen. One of the most beautiful and historic houses has remained Laurel's best-kept secret—until today!
Nestled around the corner from the Lauren Rogers Museum and a brisk walk from downtown, this Mediterranean mansion is a breathtaking sight for visitors and locals alike. The terra-cotta facade, green shutters, and landscaping meld so ideally, a passerby could easily believe they've transported to Europe.
The Marcellino home remains a local treasure, a testament to Laurel's history, and a surprise in the middle of a southern Mississippi town. Mrs. Dawn Marcellino graciously opened her home to our team and allowed us to take a peek into her family's four-story home so that we could share the beautiful history with you, dear reader.
"In the state of Mississippi, there are four houses built with poured concrete rebar around the turn of the century, and two of them are sister homes. Our house is four stories and made with foot-thick concrete rebar. They [contracted builders] built the house with electricity, which was very new at the time. We didn't see any sign that it was originally outfitted for gas, but they ran conduit for the electrical wire through all the concrete walls."
"At the time, there were barely any houses around this one. It wasn't uncommon for people to have small pastures around their houses, but what we've seen in pictures is that there were dirt sidewalks, and then eventually they put board sidewalks with wooden bricks."
FIRST FLOOR: ENTRY | SITTING ROOMS
"This is a big house for Jerry and I, so that's why we like to host people from all over the world— missionaries and friends. That's why we feel like we're here. My dad gave us this gift, and we just take care of it. We hope to serve God's people and enjoy this gift for a time."
In true southern fashion, Mrs. Dawn offered us tea and poppyseed bread upon arrival. We sat in their fabulous glass-paneled room that would make an en Plein air artist weep.
"The dining room is the room you see when you first walk in. It's where we shared holiday meals with our seven children, but now our family has grown so much, it's hard to fit all of our kids, their spouses and children in this room. It's a good problem to have."
"We've collected furniture from all over the world. These burl walnut pieces are from France and Italy."
"When the previous owners lived here, there was a massive explosion on the railroad tracks in 1969. It burned up a couple of streets of homes, and it shook the whole town, and it actually cracked the plaster of these ceilings from that far away."
SECOND FLOOR: MAIN BEDROOMS
"There used to be an open well underneath the house. It was cutting edge at the time to have an open stream running under the house with the furnace sitting on top. They think that's how the family humidified their house in the winter."
The third floor is the intimate family space. Floral wallpaper covers one room while others take on a bold color or a neutral palette. This space reflects their family's personality while preserving the history and character of its past owners as well.
"This small room is off of our master bedroom. It's where we have Christmas with the kids, but now we've got too many to fit in there. We used to cram in there and drink hot tea, eat pumpkin bread and open their stockings."
The Marcellino house has seen many things since it was built over 112 years ago. The history continues with the birth of their seven children, their daughter's wedding in the backyard, and the continuation of hospitality that they've extended to missionaries from all across the world.
"This house has been a blessing to our family, and we hope that it continues to be a place where we can bless others."