Who is Carroll B. Ishee, Anyway?
Whenever we mention the name Carroll Ishee along the coast we are met by two typical responses. The first being, "I love the Ishee houses!" and the second being, "Who's that?".
To explain this great man and designer a little bit more, let us tell you how we came upon this research project in the first place. A few months back our friend and Mississippi Heritage Trust Executive Director, Lolly Barnes, was asking for volunteers to help her with a project called MS MOD. MS MOD's goal was to begin to document and bring light to the modern architecture in Mississippi, something that few people even know of or think about. We mentioned to Lolly that we would love to be involved and the first idea she threw out was just what we had been hoping for, to research and document the Ishee buildings along the coast.
We went to work learning who exactly Carroll B. Ishee was, what his career path looked like, the interesting and simple material palette he used in his homes, and just how much people along the Gulf Coast have grown to appreciate his work. Thus far, we have toured four Ishee homes and we have about 25 more lined up in the queue (whew!).
A little background on the man, the myth, the legend-- Ishee was a lawyer, general contractor and realtor who designed over 150 structures in the three coastal counties (Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson) in only 26 years. He had a love of nature that ran deep and shows itself heartily in the sites he chose, the materials he selected, and the way that he tied the outside to the in, constantly creating a dissolving boundary. We have learned quickly that if you live in an Ishee home, you are a lover of Ishee himself. The owners feel deeply connected to their homes and the designer, and most are determined to stay true to his original intentions, making small changes in thoughtful and unobtrusive moves.
Want to learn more about this great designer and the legacy he left along the coast? Hop on over to the MS MOD website and click on "Call Me Ishee". Make sure you check out all of the other great research projects and find out how you can get involved!
Until then, we have included a few of our favorite Ishee house photos below. Check them out and if you have any additional information to share, it would be accepted (and appreciated) wholeheartedly!