Five sisters maintain their bond in a shared St. Francisville home
Across the nation, numbered highways connect towns, cities and people. Stretching from sea to shining sea, black pavement leads the way to the new and exciting, as well as the old and familiar.
For the five Fisher sisters— Margaret Bishop, Joyce Fisher, Martha Campanile, Mary Campanile and Faye Hewett— U.S. Highway 61 does both. The 1,400-mile stretch of roadway, which follows the path of the Mississippi River from Minnesota to New Orleans, connects the lives that the sisters have led together. From their new shared home in St. Francisville to their hometown of Cleveland, Mississippi, which they left behind as teenagers, the roadway serves as a symbol of how far they have come together.
“When I get on 61, I’m home,” remarks Martha. “It’s as simple as that.”
Over the years, the sisters have moved to different places, gotten new last names and built lives of their own. However, despite time and distance, they all remain close.
Growing older, the idea to purchase a shared property in historic St. Francisville became more and more appealing as their free time increased, as well as their desire to see one another more frequently.
“When we would drive through St. Francisville, Joyce just loved it,” explains Mary. “Walking into this house, she knew it was the one instantly.”
Designed by the original owners’ daughter, the spacious brick home is set back from the road and features many hallmarks of Southern design, such as a winding front staircase, solid wood doors with beveled glass, and intimate living spaces. And while the sisters were sold on the architecture of the home, they were eager to transform the style of the interior.
“At first, we tried to do all the decorating ourselves,” recalls Martha. “But it was just too much.”
A quick Google search by Mary turned up Patti DuPree Furniture and Interiors. The group quickly made their way out to the Perkins Road showroom and struck up a friendship with DuPree and her staff.
Spending hours sifting through furniture, art and accessories, the sisters worked together to choose pieces that spoke to their shared style, while still working functionally for events like holiday dinners and family get-togethers. A soft color palette combines with mirrors and glass, and a few personal touches gifted by DuPree herself—including books adorned with each of the sisters’ names and a portrait of the group—complete the space by illustrating the personalities of each sister.
“Our main objective for the house is to enjoy—each other’s company and the house itself,” says Martha. “Over the course of designing the house, we have learned to completely trust Patti. When she brings her ideas to life, it’s breathtaking.”
While the spaces throughout the home are meant to be shared, one special room is tucked away. Reserved just for the sisters themselves, an office has been converted to a domino room specially for their favorite pastime.
“It’s just something we have always loved to do together,” says Mary. “It’s our thing.”
Fuchsia and zebra print set the space apart and give it that “slumber party” factor, speaking to the nature of the sisters’ time together and the youth that they maintain while in each other’s company.
“We’re sisters, but more importantly we’re best friends,” explains Martha.
“We don’t want to portray ourselves as perfect, though,” adds Mary. “We argue about who has the best cornbread and who is the best cook. But over the years, we’ve learned that the most important thing is to bury the disagreements. Family is everything.”
As the holiday season creeps closer, the sisters are anxiously awaiting the pulling out of boxes as they prepare to decorate and entertain for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of the main motivators behind the purchase of the house itself, the holidays are a special time for the sisters, as they look forward to making memories with their sons, daughters and grandchildren.
“We never have to worry about where we will host dinners, or if that place will be big enough,” explains Martha. “It’s such a blessing.”
The sisters recently redecorated the dining area in anticipation of these treasured meals together. With the help of DuPree, the space has been transformed into a light and welcoming dining room with a stone table, velvet dining chairs and a new chandelier. However, for the sisters and for DuPree, the decorating process is never complete.
“The last time we went to Patti’s, I think we were there for five hours,” remarks Martha. “It’s so fun to do this together.”
“But no matter what is in this house or how big it is, none of that is what makes us happy. Being together and being with family, that’s what it’s all about,” adds Mary. “This house is something we will cherish until we die.”