The bones of the home were constructed in the 1930s as the first family breathed life into it. Through the years, the home has remained an elegant presence in the Parkersburg area as it changes and grows with each new family. The Reeces are the most recent family to breathe new life in to the home and connect its past with the present and future. Often times, older homes are forced to live in the decade they were built, displaying an aesthetic that clearly ties it to its birth. However, this is not entirely the case in the Reece home.
The house stands stately, yet welcoming with light blue shutters and doors. Windows dot the exterior allowing sunlight to drench the rooms and warm the home. The lack of insulation grants the home permission to change with the seasons. Drapes are used to either keep heat in or out depending on the season, and on hot summer days, the shady side of the house is utilized the most. As the house continues to age, the plaster wears and re-construction is necessary, but done only in ways that honor and keep the home’s structural integrity.
“The plaster and electrical layout in general for these older homes is difficult. Also there is no specific insulation material in the walls other than the inherent properties defined by the wall construction of that building era. Surprisingly the block does its job of keeping temperatures at bay during certain times of the day. Therefore, we attempt to continually extend our knowledge of using insulating design tools and pulling our living away from the single pane windows. We are, in a sense, gravely thankful for the construction craft and character given to the materials and order that makes this home function so beautifully with an owner’s open mind and readiness to adapt to external and internal climate,” Alan said.
We were looking for a city to immerse ourselves in and no longer be just passing through.
The house is made a home by Alan and Megan along with their two young sons. Alan and Megan both have backgrounds in architecture and appreciate what it means to live in, and care for, an older home. After living away for a bit, the couple decided to return to the Mid-Ohio Valley – specifically to Parkersburg.
“We were looking for a city to immerse ourselves in and no longer be just passing through. Imagining cities that had a plan to redevelop their future – we knew that the MOV was a fit, but it really wasn’t until we saw this house that a spark in our hearts started to grow for Parkersburg,” Alan said.
The Reeces’ personal style is reflected through every aspect of the home. The books, décor and furniture all hearken to a fluid aesthetic that is executed seamlessly.
“Within the home and work we are drawing from history and attitudes of writing, music and photography of our past and this era. I would say that our professors at University of Tennessee didn’t teach a style or an aesthetic, but a thought process and provided adaptive lenses to view the world. With these, I would say our inspiration is from asking questions about ‘how is my interaction with the world and home able to shape me into a more complete human,’” Alan said.
We would definitely ascribe to not necessarily considering ourselves minimalists, but unconventional traditionalists.
A whitewash lends a calm look to the home allowing it to grow and flex with the needs of the Reece family. The home isn’t entirely bare bones, but it also doesn’t include unnecessary clutter or distractions. This is especially evident in the nursery where a classic mix of wooden textures and pale blues paired with airy whites lend a classic and timeless look to the space.
“Our passions definitely start at the interior, and within the handheld. Our professional architecture background at University of Tennessee helped give us a backbone to essential watershed moments in our pure design and engineering conscience. We would definitely ascribe to not necessarily considering ourselves minimalists, but unconventional traditionalists.” Alan said.
As a couple who are not only homeowners, but also professionally vested in the home process, Alan and Megan continually remind themselves that design is something approachable and accessible. They believe that “the moment of fortune is defined when your hand opens the latch, shoulder opens the door, and feet make contact with home.” Megan’s interior business was conceived out of need in this area. The goal is to help the MOV rethink the way it uses the interior design and project management trade. She wants to redefine the types of relationships that are nurtured between clients and builders.
As the house has only seen three owners including the Reeces, pieces of the home’s history remain firmly intact. Part of the decorations include a beautiful set of nine framed architectural drawings of the house. The Reeces were excited to find out that the drawings were completed by local architect Charles J. Ross who had an office on Market Street. According to Alan, Ross designed the home to have the perfect amount of light coming into each room based upon its use.
The drawings were all intact with sketches and contractor notes for completing details.
“We had just signed the contract and the owner asked ‘have you seen the drawings yet? We found them in a closet and we also found some other blue prints.’ The drawings were all intact with sketches and contractor notes for completing details. Also found details for a breakfast nook that used to be in the kitchen,” Alan said.
The constant, yet ever-changing home is what the Reeces like to refer to as being flexible. They want to take a modern approach to the house, but still honor its roots. This includes the fact that many of their rooms remain flexible and rotate their function to serve the family. Alan considers the living and social space the most fun, but takes care to point out that the space does not revolve around technology. Technology is only an accessory to life, not the focal point. As such, the living room does not rely on the television being the center of attention – a custom that is the norm in many American homes.
The hard work of taking care of the house, and the lessons of living and growing in a family home, and the world, are important aspects of Alan and Megan’s life.
The Reeces love the surrounding parts of their home as well – which includes a lovely backyard that they utilize year-round. Alan considers his backyard another living space for his family; as such, the backyard and surrounding areas are next on the list of home projects.
“We are continually playing with ideas within the ever developing and evolving living spaces and bed rooms. I suppose the most pressing project is the rebuild of the leaning driveway retaining wall that, at the time of construction, was an alley. In the concrete driveway’s place, we would install new permeable pavers that connect to a new covered car port in the rear supporting accessories for a garden,” he said.
The Reeces are also using their home as a teaching tool for their young sons. The hard work of taking care of the house, and the lessons of living and growing in a family home, and the world, are important aspects of Alan and Megan’s life.
“The living room and backyard are where we teach our children how to dance and object to formality and preconceived or worldly ideas of what it means to be human. We hope the conversation of the home, in play and love, is surrounded by an understanding that when you study scripture, world and culture, you gain the ability to grow and this relatively adaptable structure called family and friends aid in the process of development,” Alan said.