Life in the Country

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While Ray and Alison Reeves didn’t think life in the country was in cards for their family of five, after much consideration they decided to make Ray’s family home and property theirs. Looking back on the adventures of the renovation process and the memories they’ve made over the past 10 years since they moved in, they couldn’t be happier.

Situated on 40 acres, the home is shaded by oaks that are more than 100 years old. A guesthouse, pool and barn are tucked behind the house on either side. Providing additional living and entertaining space, the guesthouse and pool are frequently used for parties, fundraisers and meetings. On a more frequent basis, Ray and Alison enjoy relaxing and boiling seafood in the space with their children Rayford, Harrison and Baley, and their friends.

What started as a four-month renovation turned into a year and half long project. “Originally built by my father-in-law, the home had lots of rooms including a formal dining room and in kitchen dining area, a kitchen, a sunken living room, formal living room and library, and all of the bedrooms and bathrooms,” shares Alison. “During the renovation, we knocked down several walls to create a more open floor plan. We now omit have one very large kitchen with dining area, two living areas and a bar downstairs.”

Looking back on the renovation process, Alison admits, “It was a huge adventure with many obstacles! And life in country came with some interesting encounters. During the renovation, we encountered honeybees, wasps, wood boring beetles, a chicken laying eggs on the mantle, a peacock that got trapped inside and even birds flying down the chimney. We never knew what we were going to get when we got we walked in. But, we had a lot of good times!”

As the renovation evolved, the Reeves worked with their carpenters including Jerome Yesso and are still pleased with the outcome. Leaving all of bedrooms upstairs, the Reeves decided to install an elevator for convenience both now and in the future.

“Some days we started with blue and ended up with orange, or we thought about brick and wound up with something else, but we are very happy with the choices we made,” shares Alison.

A casual, French country style was achieved by using items that were found in the original home as well as collections of family china, figurines and artwork. Reclaimed wood from an old barn on the property that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina was also used throughout the home both unfinished and milled, depending on the application. Completing the French country decor in the kitchen is a custom French range–Alison’s 20th anniversary gift from Ray, which they celebrated during the renovation. POV

Photos by Misty Leigh McElroy