A Tour of Charming Benulee

September 4, 2015

21  comments

Historic Benulee home in Fairhope Alabama

Crepe Myrtles line the long winding drive that leads to Benulee, which is a derivative of the name, “Benu,” the Egyptian version of the Phoenix, which rose again from the ashes. Benulee in Fairhope didn’t exactly rise from ashes, but it is the revived version of it’s predecessor across the bay in Mobile, Alabama.

 

Benulee is a replica of an old home in Mobile Alabama. Built new in 1993 in Fairhope Alabama.Owners Perry and Harriet Outlaw decided to rebuild a replica of the much loved family house where Harriet was born, so in 1993, they pieced together photographs, memories and measurements of the original house and  furnishings, and with the help of architect Ron Brannon, came up with a duplicate, yet modern version of the original which had been built in 1835.

*A few of these photos were used in the previous story about the wedding shower held at Benulee (HERE).

 

Beautiful Southern Front porch at Benulee in Fairhope, Alabama.

The large front porch is a traditional Southern feature which takes advantage of cool breezes, even on hot summer days.

 

Foyer of Benulee, a beautiful home in Fairhope, Alabama.Upon entering the front door, you are immediately in the large entry foyer which doubles as the dining area. The four bedroom, three and a half bath home has large rooms, but feels cozy and friendly.

 

stairwell at Benulee in Fairhope AlabamaThe stairway landing has the perfect ledge for displaying some of the many collections the couple has acquired over the years. Perry is a history buff and Harriet is a well known local author who has written several books dealing with the history of Fairhope, Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Her newest book, which I’ll soon review deals with  . . . the Ghosts of Baldwin County!

 

Foyer area in Benulee, beautiful house in Fairhope Alabama. And yes, there is a ghost that followed Harriet from the original house to this newer version!

 

display at beautiful house in Fairhope, Alabama. Here’s another view of the collections and family memorabilia.

 

Hand painted window shades at old home in Fairhope Alabama. Downstairs, the parlor has unique character and is decorated in a different theme every Christmas. Take note of the window shades . . . the original shades were bought from an old Mobile family in 1838, then eventually passed down to Harriet and Perry. Too fragile to display, Perry’s Uncle, Cornell Outlaw, of Jackson, AL, reproduced 3 of the shades in meticulous fashion. He worked on the shades depicting lush landscapes when he was 95-97 years old.

hand painted window shades at home in Fairhope Alabama. Here’s a closer look at the beautiful artwork on the window shades. Harriet still has the originals which are not in very good shape. If you know anything about preserving hand-painted window shades, let us know!

 

Steinway piano Fairhope Alabama.

The dollhouse was featured in one of Harriet’s many Christmas themes a few years ago and the upright Steinway is over 100 years old. Remember, the chairs were askew because we were getting ready for the ladies to come for the bridal shower!

 

Pull down wall maps in Fairhope Alabama house.

The thing I love about Benulee is that everything has a story or meaning. Nothing was bought in haste to fill a space. Each item was chosen with love and great thought. The old pull-down maps on the wall of the back room are from Harriet’s days of teaching school. She recycled them when they were being replaced (probably with boring computers).


Library in Fairhope Alabama home.And Perry’s study . . . ahhh. It’s the heart of the home with so many good books, maps, globes, flags and other  memorabilia that would keep you busy for years!

 

Library in private home in Fairhope AlabamaI think I know a 10th grade young man who will be taking a field trip to see Mr. Outlaw when it’s time for American History.

 

Benulee house in Fairhope Alabama.The story behind the construction of Benulee, the precious memories it provides the owners, and their willingness to open their doors to friends is what makes this such a love-filled, happy home in the heart of Fairhope.

Be on the lookout for my upcoming post about Harriet Outlaw’s latest book.

 

Harriet Outlaw, Haunted Baldwin County Alabama, Fairhope.

 

 

 

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    1. Uh-oh. A new project around the corner perhaps? I know how you feel, because every time I visit Benulee, I come home with big inspiration!

    1. Yes! She said it’s name is Abby and she moved in with the old window shades. I didn’t see her, and although Harriet says she’s friendly, I don’t think I’ll house sit alone at night for them any time soon!

  1. Just beautiful Leslie Anne. I love old Southern homes but a reproduction would be much easier to care for! We have some friends who have just built a house in Fairhope, Paul and Marilyn xxxxx if you ever run across them. Our nephew is married to their daughter. I have seen a few photographs of their house and I would love to see it in person!!

  2. You’re right about the upkeep being easier on a new house, not to mention the convenience of air conditioning and central heat! Hope I meet your nephew’s family someday soon!

  3. No wonder she wanted a reproduction of her childhood home. What an amazing place they have created, filled with family treasures, including the ghost. I love this house.

    1. I know! Although I have fond memories of my childhood home, I don’t think I’ll go recreating that ranch style any time soon!

  4. Cool house! This reminds me so much of my late cousin Eleen’s place where there was a story behind EVERYTHING. The shades are beyond fabulous, as is the provenance.

    1. As an artist, I’m sure you appreciate those shades. I think it was a “thing” back then to have custom painted shades. Very fancy, even now!

  5. Wow, this home is fabulous. My hubby would love the study/library. Did you hear about the 5 year old boy (and his parents) who took goody bags to the Fairhope police department? Great story.

    1. Yes, I saw that story about the little boy. Isn’t that great? I don’t know him or his family, but I like the way his Mom and Dad think.

  6. What a special place! I have one of her books, and it’s neat to learn a little more about her, and the best way to learn about a person is to step inside their home. Thank you for sharing it with us. Looking forward to the new book…..Did you see or hear the ghost?
    Judy

    1. No ghost sighting from me. I would have high-tailed it out of there in two shakes of a lamb’s tail if I had seen any haints!

  7. I would like to contact Harriet. I visited her original home many times as a child with my mom janelle ernest. I wonder what became of her siblings. I went to school with Gary two years

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