A Weekend Retreat In Mississippi Gets A Whimsical Update

A fun-loving New Orleans couple reimagines a 1940s house in Pass Christian, Mississippi, into a weekend escape packed with coastal whimsy.

Pass Christian Master Bedroom

Dane Tashima; STYLING: Buffy Hargett Miller

A doctor and a lawyer walk into a truck stop. With their collared shirts and pressed shorts, you might expect them to go right for the Evian water and trail mix. Instead, they walk out with a dozen plastic mermaid dolls. What gives? Dr. Quinn Peeper and his husband, lawyer Michael Harold, were planning to host a “Seas the Day!” party at their home in Pass Christian, Mississippi. They’d invited guests to come in costume, sip Goombay Smashes poolside, and nosh on Harold’s shrimp dip. They used the mermaids as table toppers. “We love a theme,” admits Peeper. The couple chronicles their entertaining adventures on the Instagram account @classicalshindig, and their book by the same name is set to come out this summer. Monday through Friday, they indulge the “classical” side of their lifestyle brand at their 1862 Greek Revival home in Uptown New Orleans. Both talented pianists, they often host friends for dinner and a concert. But come the weekend, it’s “shindig” time at their Gulf Coast retreat.

Historic Pass Christian, about an hour northeast of the Crescent City, was an obvious choice for a nearby escape. However, the house they bought there was not. The 1946 structure came with dated metal awnings, a yard dominated by azalea bushes, and none of the soaring ceilings or grand architecture of their full-time digs.

Even so, Peeper says it was love at first sight. “The circular driveway, the scalloped awnings, the front door that opens into the living room—it reminded me of my grandmother’s house in the Arkansas Delta,” he recalls. “I spent summers there as a kid, and I was very attached to her and to that home.”

So the new owners kept those awnings but painted them turquoise. “No one noticed them before,” Harold says with a laugh. “Now, the neighbors call this the blue-awning house.” The over-the-top fun spills inside the home, too, with rooms punctuated by vibrant colors and collections. Tour the inside-and-out tropical transformation.

Pass Christian Living Room

Dane Tashima, STYLING: Buffy Hargett Miller 

Round Up Pieces with Personality

“Quinn knew exactly the look he wanted,” recalls Harold. “Bamboo and rattan, painted beachy things, an eclectic mix of artwork. The project sent him down an eBay/Chairish/estate sale rabbit hole.” The resulting bounty reinforces what the couple calls the Palm Beach-meets-Bahamas-meets-Fantasy Island vibe.

Pull It All Together

They scored most of the sunroom furniture—the peacock chairs, a pair of Moroccan poufs, the rattan chest—antiquing on Dixie Highway in Palm Beach. In keeping with the color scheme, the Louis XVI-style daybed, found at an antiques store in New Orleans, got a coat of Sherwin-Williams’ Blue Nile (SW 6776). “I am drawn to a particular shade of screaming turquoise,” says Peeper with a laugh. “The dealer of this piece nearly fainted.”

Pass Christian Porch

Dane Tashima; STYLING: Buffy Hargett Miller

Call On a Craftsperson

“We hired a cabana whisperer,” says Peeper. “I dreamed it up and drew it out; then our builder, J.R. Walsh (of One Coast Homes), made the dream come true!” Peeper found the fern-frond chandelier on Chairish. The sturdy vinyl mat on the ground, which convincingly mimics the look of Portuguese tile, came from the online shop Hudson & Vine.

Fortnum and Mason Tin In The Pass Christian House

Dane Tashima, STYLING: Buffy Hargett Miller 

Take Cues from Color

Peeper is from Memphis, but three years at the University of Oxford cemented his love for all things English. The inspiration for his favorite blue comes from Fortnum & Mason, the legacy British food emporium. The signature shade shows up on this porcelain pot that held anchovy relish, which they enjoy on toast in the winter.

Pass Christian Bedroom
Seeing Stripes: A custom glaze with a base of Benjamin Moore Golden Beige (100) covers the walls.

Dane Tashima; STYLING: Buffy Hargett Miller

Befriend Your Favorite Vendors

Designer and collector Simon Paul Scott of Jardins en Fleur sold them the vintage bamboo tester bed that’s now in the primary bedroom. “It was the last one Scott had, and he did not want to part with it,” says Peeper. “Then he saw our Instagram, chatted with us, and eventually gave in.” New Orleans artist E. Lee Jahncke Mead (of E. Lee Jahncke Fine Finishes) added the coral stripes to the walls. Peeper bought the turquoise quilt at a shop in The Royal Hawaiian Resort, a Honolulu hotel.

Pass Christian Guest Bedroom

Dane Tashima; STYLING: Buffy Hargett Miller 

Channel Faraway Influences

The guest room is a playful ode to the Anglophile: Colefax and Fowler Bowood drapes frame the window, English toile de Jouy coverlets featuring a British fishing village wrap the twin beds, Union Jack bunting trims the ceiling, and framed 19th-century political cartoons sourced from English print shops accent the walls.

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