The new home of Daniel “Dan” and Vicki Parrish is a study of living in harmony with nature. With no neighbors in sight, the home is located on a tree-filled, 7.5-acre lot on the outskirts of Natchitoches. The house takes full advantage of its setting with wraparound porches, larges expanses of glass and landscaping that embraces, rather than intrudes upon, the natural beauty of the site.
The couple enjoys the seclusion of the house that sits on a hill and is surrounded by trees says Dan, a long-time representative for popular men’s clothing lines such as Haspel. “We left the natural terrain of valleys and hills, that connect us to Sibley Lake, untouched” to take full advantage of the idyllic location, says Dan.
“This is our nontraditional dream house,” says Vicki, a professor of theater history and dance at Northwestern State University, where the students call her “Dr. P,” as she directs the plays for the university and serves as the freshman faculty adviser. “The massive windows make us feel as though we are living in the trees.”
Architectural designer James Hearron conceptualized the plan for the house that offers two separate buildings connected by walkways. The 2,200-square foot main house showcases an open floor plan with the den, dining room and kitchen sharing the space that features a unique beamed ceiling that reaches to a 20-foot peak, with a private master suite at the end of a loggia.
The nearby 625-foot guesthouse offers two identical suites that are self-contained with small refrigerators for visitors, who are most often the children and grandchildren of the couple. “Our two sons, daughter, their spouses and children love having their own ‘house’ when they visit,” says Vicki.
The couple praises Hearron for listening and spending a great deal of time just walking the property with them. “He appreciated our open style suggestions and was able to put on paper what we could only imagine in our minds,” Dan explains.
Hearron points out that the Parrishes’ house was one of his favorite projects. “This is about lifestyle, site, space, light, the uncluttered and unencumbered,” he says. “The goal was a strong connection between the interior spaces and outdoor environment that would contribute to an overall sense of well-being, balance and harmony in a well-proportioned plan.”
Once the plans were completed, Dan served as contractor for the project. Tommy Covington, the couple’s good friend from church who had recently retired as a mathematics professor at NSU, signed on as the builder. “Tommy was simply amazing,” Dan says of his friend, who carefully calculated every aspect of the construction as if it were a massive trigonometry equation. “He wanted to help us, and little did we realize how indispensable his talents would be. We both worked side-by-side for two years with a great sense of pride building this house.”
Vicki smiles as she adds, “Tommy was our meticulous craftsman, while James, our architectural designer, was our free creative spirit, and Dan was the man who made it all happen. When extra help was needed, we called in friends from church to come and ‘hold a beam’ for us. Andy, our son, was a great help often joining as a construction worker.”
Today the Parrishes’ house in the country is an architectural gem, built with love and lived in with great joy.