Tupelo's Fairpark district site of St. Jude's latest fundraiser

If you’ve been meaning to tour the St. Jude Dream Home in downtown Tupelo and thought you’d missed your chance, you still have another month to get a visit in.
The home is located at 113 Midway Drive in downtown Tupelo in the Fairpark District, behind City Hall. The home is open Saturdays and Sundays for tours from noon to 5 p.m. on May 30-31, June 6-7, June 13-14 and June 20-21. From June 22-27, the home will be open from noon until 9 p.m.
“There’s a process we go through when deciding where to build a dream home,” said Scott Perkins, national construction specialist for the St. Jude Dream Home program. “We start talking with people on the ground, finding areas of the market where people want to be. We had a natural attraction to Fairpark and its revitalization effort. It’s good for Tupelo and it’s good for St. Jude.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis is a nonprofit facility that cares for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Perkins estimated it takes $1.2 million a day to run St. Jude.
The home tour is free. Tickets for a chance to win the dream home are $100 each and can be purchased at the home, the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association and from several area businesses. A limited number of tickets will be sold. The drawing for the house is June 28.
There are currently 30 dream houses being built nationwide, including ones in Memphis, Jackson and Biloxi. The bulk of the homes are built with donated items and discounts from vendors, Perkins said. Each home, on average, raises about $700,000 for the research hospital.
“Most of the time, we raise more than the home’s value,” he said. The 3,094-square-foot two-story Tupelo home was pre-appraised at $402,000.
“Of all the homes we have, this is far and away the best decorated one,” Perkins said.
Kitchen appliances, permanent light fixtures and landscaping come with the house. Furnishings, including rugs, window treatments and furniture, do not.
Interesting colors
Lisa Hawkins of Room to Room is once again the local campaign director for the dream home. She had a team of three professionals from her business – Molly Taylor, Janice Dancer and Sonia Billiot – decorate the home.
“We looked at plans as the house started coming together,” Hawkins said. “We needed to know colors before we could choose upholstery. It’s a very eclectic collection of home furnishings. In the living room, it looks like you’ve traveled the world to give the home its personality.”
There are only three colors on the walls in the home: a beige-camel color in the living room, entryway and stairway; a sage green in the master bedroom and the dining room; and a cream color in the rest of the house. All the trim is off-white.
“Everything was going to be cream with off-white trim, but we thought we needed a little more contrast to make the house interesting,” Hawkins said.
The home has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, bonus room, living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, laundry room, office, two-car garage and side-wrap porch and balcony.
“The home was built in the Southern traditional style with a little bit of Colonial influence,” Hawkins said. “It’s very Southern Living to me.”
Sod and landscaping give the home a polished feel. There are nandinas, compacta hollies, Indian hawthorns, tulip trees, a Japanese red maple, liriope, azaleas, variegated hydrangeas and a Little Gem magnolia. Other plants include wax myrtles, knockout roses, chamaecyparis, cleyera, spirea and camellias.
Builders broke ground on the home in late October 2008 and it was completed in May. But it didn’t become real for Hawkins right away.
“It becomes real only when you start meeting people who have been helped by St. Jude,” she said.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal