By ERICA EASON HALL •
Photography by GREG CAMPBELL
Lived-in, well-loved, and now updated, this home is ready for fall, family and friends.
In the Spring of 2018, Gary and Kathy Goode were ready for a change. The couple had lived in their home since 1997 and decided that it was time to make a major transformation to the home where they had raised their three children, Trey, Martha Katharine and Anna Douglas. The Goodes had enjoyed the house as it was for twenty-one years, but they were ready to give it a fresh open feel for entertaining friends and their adult children when they came home to visit.
Kathy was in love with the property since the very beginning. In fact, she first noticed the property when she was just a young girl traveling from her home town of Tunica to Marks, to visit her grandmother. Set in the middle of a sprawling pecan orchard outside of Clarksdale on Highway 6 with a long tree-lined driveway, the white house was idyllic. The family who built and occupied the house at the time had their name painted on the mailbox, “RITCH”. She laughs now, remembering that as a young child, peering out the window of the car at the mailbox, she thought to herself “rich people must live there.” So it seemed like fate when it became available in 1997 and Kathy could make it a home for her very own family.
The home’s history began with Horace and Nancy Ritch who built it in 1956. The Ritch’s had Texas architect James Butler McGee Jr. (a relative of Nancy’s) draw the plans. Horace was a Scotsman and Nancy was American. Horace Ritch was a cousin to Horace Allen with whom he planted cotton for a number of years in the area. The original design of the first floor included a great hall that stretched from front door to back terrace (which remains to this day), with a formal dining room, butler’s pantry, kitchen and library all to the right of the hall. Each of these spaces were originally separated by walls.
Gary and Kathy called on local interior designer Rachel Cirilli who is known for her spacial planning and kitchen and bath renovations. Cirilli gave the Goodes three options for opening up the rooms ranging from the minimal yet effective use of large cased openings to a dramatically different open floor plan. They went with the most impactful option of a wide-open floor plan. This plan meant taking down three major walls and adding large milky stained beams for stability and structure.
This large-scale renovation project took six months to complete. “We set the master bedroom up like an apartment during the renovation, and lived out of a dorm refrigerator, coffee maker, and microwave, but hey, we made it work!”
Cirilli chose a singular paint color and trim to go throughout giving the space a cohesive feel. The creamy white wall and trim color would be warmly contrasted by stained coffee nook, expansive butcher block island, antique brick backsplash, hardwood and brick floors.
There were plans to give the library wood-paneled walls a more updated wood finish. But the painters primed them (white) by accident. To correct the mistake, Cirilli asked them to sand them back to the original wood. She watched as they began working, and then she asked them to stop. They were unintentionally creating a textured look that would become the final finish. The Goodes agreed that it was a perfect mix with the warm wood tones peeking through the white wash, proving that in life and many times in design, mistakes can be wonderful opportunities!
One of Cirilli’s favorite changes of the project was changing the windows from the traditional nine over nine panes, to double hung single pane glasses. This design detail worked for both form and function because the family beagle, Ace, had developed a “taste” for the woodwork on the original lower panes. The new single pane windows stretch to the floor creating a seamless view to the front and back yards.
The pecan trees that surround the house on all sides were originally planted in stages by the Ritch family as functional landscaping for the large rural property, starting with the front orchard, then back orchard and finally the side orchard. The Goodes continue to maintain and harvest the pecans to date with Randy Hardin of Arkansas overseeing the endeavor.
The same year the Goodes began their renovation, Kathy made another big decision. With children grown and gone, Kathy decided to purchase the Magpie Gift & Art shop in downtown Clarksdale, which specializes in tabletop and home decor items. Her newly renovated home serves as a perfect testing ground for items that she can now personally recommend to her clientele.
Her dining table is set with gold-rimmed acrylic chargers, Juliska fall plates, gilt salad bowls, and rust-colored napkins held by glass cube napkin rings—all of which can be found at Magpie. She mixes vintage amber wine glasses with gold honeycomb water glasses. The centerpiece consists of three small cut flower arrangements mixed with antlers and lime green reindeer moss spread down the length of the table.
The beautiful custom window drapery Goode hung throughout the new space was ordered through Magpie, as well as the versatile white linen slipcovered sofa and swivel chairs. She explains these slipcovered pieces are perfect for families with children and pets and that you can simply unzip and remove all the pieces, throw them in the washer and dryer and add them back. Many of the home decor accessories such as lamps, mirrors and side tables seen in the Goode’s home may also be purchased through Magpie.
Avid supporters of local artists, many stunning pieces adorn their interiors of the home including works by Harris Fyfe, Taylor Knight and both Hayden Sr. and Hayden G. Hall.
Renovations are hard to live through, but when the final result so clearly reaches all the original goals, the hard work is worth it. This is certainly true for the Goodes. Although they enjoyed sharing their home with others for over twenty years, the newly open and comfortable space makes entertaining even more comfortable and enjoyable. In fact last year, the family began what they hope will become an annual tradition, hosting a dove hunt the second week in September for their family and closest friends—a perfect way to celebrate fall. Here’s to another twenty years!