Originally created 09/14/03

Home recreates Confederate leader's estate



JACKSON - Although they had more than 400 acres on which to build, it was easy for Wallace and DiAnn Cassels to decide on a site for their home.

"This is why the house was built," said Mrs. Cassels as she gazed out her back windows onto ponds, trees and grass. "We have five ponds. We love nature. It's nothing to see deer, egrets, heron, any wildlife."

Built 15 years ago, the home is patterned after Confederate President Jefferson Davis' home, Beauvoir, in Biloxi, Miss. In front of the home is a large live oak draped in Spanish moss. Mrs. Cassels contends the tree was probably around even before Davis built his final estate in Mississippi.

With 7,000 square feet, plus 1,200 square feet of porches wrapped around its exterior, the home has four bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms on three floors.

The middle level is the main part of the house, with the formal living room, dining room and master bedroom.

Each room on the main level is highlighted with classical architectural elements, including columns leading from the foyer into the formal living room and an archway leading from a short hall separating the living and dining rooms. Plaster crown moldings are from England. Each room has a different crown molding design.

Empire period antiques fill the living room and Oriental rugs cover the dark-stained pine floors. An elaborate ceiling medallion accents the room's chandelier.

French doors that once led to the back porch now lead to a 900-square-foot addition built two years ago that houses the kitchen, den and another dining area.

Mrs. Cassels said she loves to entertain and would much rather cook for a large group of people than just two. "I can seat 32 people with this room, the formal dining room and butler's pantry," she said. "And I have used every space."

A dishwasher, ice maker, bar and other cabinets are under an 18-foot-long island that has green and black granite countertops. A wide aisle separates the island from the other side of the kitchen and the rest of the mahogany-stained cherry wood cabinets and appliances.

"Wallace can do his thing and I can do mine, and we will not be in each other's way," she said.

This kitchen replaces the original kitchen, which now serves as a butler's pantry and provides extra seating during large family and friend get-togethers.

The den area of the room features a gas fireplace with a built-in television above it. The "flop" room, as they call it, is the favorite spot during the summer. To the side of the room is a screened-in porch. "We have dinner out there every night we can," she said.

The downstairs was originally created for Mrs. Cassels' parents.

The living area is now known as "Wally's Mole Hole."

Low ceilings give the rooms a cozier feel, and the lower level with its brick fireplace is a favorite spot in winter.

While Mr. Cassels, who is self-employed, doesn't hunt and doesn't allow hunting on his property, the room is filled with animal trophies from friends of his who are hunters.

African history is a love of Mr. Cassels, and his room is decorated with original African pieces, including a hand-carved face statue from Swaziland and a Makondi wood and ebony carving.

The third floor features two more bedrooms, which are used by the grandchildren.

A room with a hunting theme is used by 4-year-old grandson Sterling Goodman; the second room is decorated with a yellow floral motif and is used by granddaughters Ashley and Kayce Greene and Alex Goodman.

Also on the third floor is a finished space that was added during the flop room's construction. It will one day be the master bedroom.

AT HOME WITH ...

THE OWNERS: Wallace and DiAnn Cassels

THE HOME: A 7,000-square-foot old South-style home on 400-plus acres in Jackson; four bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, formal living room, formal dining room and butler's pantry

IT'S A FACT: The home was patterned after Beauvoir, the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, in Biloxi, Miss.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at (803) 441-6927 or czbrackett@hotmail.com.