Collina: A Greek Revival Cottage
Collina, Italian and Spanish for “little hill,” was built in 1832 in the early Greek Revival style. The one-story planter’s cottage design was common in this area of rural Mississippi. Situated on about 100 acres, the house acquired two wings, one in the late 1800s, the second around 1915, which was subsequently redesigned to accommodate a large kitchen. The oldest section retains its original features, including a pedimented porch, a fanlight and sidelights flanking the front door, and fireplaces with squared columns. The center hall, which is 40 feet long and has a 14 foot -high ceiling, leads to a veranda at the back of the house.
When the owners bought the house in 1991, they retained the structure’s vintage details, but adapted the rooms to suit their needs. Two parlors in the front of the house were transformed into a living room on one side of the hall and a bedroom on the other. The interior design of the center hall was inspired by a room at Castleton, a historic manor house in Ireland. During the 18th century, it was fashionable in such manor homes to have a “print room” where engravings cut out from pattern books were pasted directly onto the walls to create an “art” gallery. With the guidance of Nicola Wingate-Saul, curator of Castleton, the owners created their version of a print room: 18th- century engravings by Italian architect and artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi are framed with silver-leaf panels above and below the prints and arranged to create a gallery feeling in the spacious hall. Candlelight from a 17th-century Dutch chandelier and hurricane lamps resting on brackets on the walls light the space.
The focal point of the dining room is a commodious 19-century table that, with its original leaves, can accommodate up to 30 people. Swag and jabot curtains frame the windows and the transom above the doorway. The stately interior is reflected several times in three large gold-leafed mirrors on the walls, to resplendent effect.
Several pieces of furniture in the house, including a 17th-century English oak table in the library, were purchased from Bayou Bend, the home of Houston oil and real estate heiress, collector, and philanthropist Ima Hogg, who died in 1975. When she decided to transform Bayou Bend into a museum of American decorative arts, Hogg sold all European furnishings from the house, and the wife’s father purchased a number of her pieces; he later loaned them to his daughter.
Baccarat crystal and Royal Crown Derby china set the late 19th-century dining table. The painting above the mantel, attributed to Rembrandt Peale, depicts Revolutionary War General William Radcliffe. A New Orleans chandelier dates to 1860. In the library, an English oak side chair from Ginsburg & Levy in New York City is complemented by a 17th-century English oak table. In the sitting room is a John Trumbull portrait of Jacob Radcliffe, a mayor of New York City. The saber has an ivory and sterling-silver handle. An early 19thy-century Irish liquor cabinet holds a dozen antique decanters. The tall hurricane shade in the foreground was a wedding gift from President James Polk to an ancestor of the owner’s wife. The master bedroom includes a William and Mary japanned chest, a Baltimore side chair, and a late 19th-century bed in a Classical Revival style.
[From Colonial Homes, with editorial omissions for privacy.]