Idea House sparks Taylor business interest
The Daily Mississippian
If you build it, they will come - even to a tiny town in
And, indeed, there has been lots of building going on in
Taylor, Miss. But the focus of the developers is on a
two-story Idea House that will receive a 20-page spread in
Southern Living magazine and bring thousands of people from
all over the country to a once-quiet little town.
Ever since "Southern Living Magazine" declared Taylor,
specifically the Plein Air Community within the city, to be
the site for one of the 2008 Idea Houses, the community has
gotten a lot of publicity. This exposure has given business
owners incentive to start businesses in the community with
the hope that the Idea House will bring heavy traffic
through the area and the businesses will benefit from it.
With the Southern Living Idea House on its way to being
finished, many people involved in the development of Plein
Air are looking forward to what the Idea House's opening in
June will do for the progress of the area.
Linda Fleming, co-owner of Emileigh's Bakery in Oxford
said she was excited about their new restaurant, Emileigh's
Table, opening in Plein Air in March.
"The Southern Living Idea House will bring lots of
traffic, so we are expecting our first year to be huge,"
The promise of so many potential customers coming through
the area has attracted entrepreneurs from Oxford to open
businesses in the new Taylor community. The Plein Air site
was selected by Southern Living to be one of the 2008 Idea
Houses. Plein Air is a developing community that aims to
recreate the old-fashioned neighborhood feeling along with
an emphasis on the arts.
Houses are designed to be close together, with generous
porches made for rocking chairs and swings, ideal for
chatting with your neighbors.
Every year, Southern Living partners with architects and
designers to build three houses that are created to give
readers of Southern Living the newest ideas for crafting
their own homes. The other two 2008 Idea Homes will be in
Asheville, N.C., and Fort Worth, Texas.
"The Idea House just fell into our lap," Campbell McCool,
who is developing the new community with his partner,
Stewart Speed of Jackson, said. "Many developers would kill
for an opportunity like this."
Ann Parker of Looney Ricks Kiss, Architects, Inc. in
Memphis was selected by Southern Living to be the interior
designer of the Taylor Idea House.
In 2007, Parker was the interior designer for the Idea
House in Watersound, Fla.
"We had around 22,000 people visit our house in Florida
in about 100 days," Parker said.
Parker has chosen to use local artists' work like pottery
and furniture to decorate the Idea House. A resource room
will display information about the sponsors, artists and
Parker said she is glad she has the freedom to use a lot
of local artists' work, and she wants to keep the majority
of the house "Taylor centric."
McCool predicts that during the three-month open house
that begins in June, the house will have an average of 200
to 400 visitors a day.
A $5 fee will be collected at the door of the house to
benefit a local charity. It is likely that they will raise
$30,000 to $40,000 for the charity, McCool said.
The first two businesses of the community plan to open
their doors in March.
Emiliegh's Table will serve a full breakfast and lunch in
a spacious area with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors
from a mill in Virginia.
Emiliegh's Table will be next door to Tin Pan Alley, an
antique store owned by Alice Hammell, a local artist from
Above these stores, four loft apartments, each with two
bedrooms, will overlook a grassy park area where the
pavilion is located.
This spring and summer the park will host the
Yoknapatawpha Arts Council picnic and a classic film series
shown on the lawn.
Todd and Courtney Nichols were the first family to move
into a house in Plein Air. After living in Oxford for a
year, they moved to Plein Air last May.
Todd Nichols, an architect with Mills and Mills of
Oxford, said Plein Air has a lot of potential for
Mills and Mills was hired to build a new restaurant,
Lenora's, next to the park area. The restaurant will be
Mississippi Delta cuisine, McCool said.
It will serve steaks, seafood and pasta and is predicted
to open in mid to late summer.
The publicity Taylor has received and the enthusiasts it
will entice is a big incentive for business owners to open
new stores and restaurants in the new Taylor community.
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