Photos by Gina Morgan Photography
When Frances Reid passed four years ago, her family faced a difficult question: what do you do with a home that held countless memories of dinners, teas and showers for people in the Ripley community? For Elizabeth Reid Behm, the answer was clear. She would re-open The Reid House as a bed-and-breakfast and small event venue, preserving her grandmother’s legacy and creating one for herself.
“The Reid House has been the centerpiece of our family for three generations,” Behm said.
Reid was known locally for entertaining in her home, especially her family, who came over every Sunday for dinner.
“My grandmother was my best friend,” Behm said. “Everyone loved that woman.”
Behm, an artist and designer by trade, also owns White Barn in downtown Ripley. The custom framing and home decor shop is located in the building that once housed Behm’s great-grandfather’s law firm.
The Reid House’s updated interiors reflect Behm’s personal style—an eclectic mix of traditional and modern, polished and rustic. Many of her grandmother’s belongings remain, including a few lighting fixtures and pieces of furniture, but Behm said the wallpaper had to go.
“The whole house, even the ceiling, was covered with silk wallpaper. Underneath was the real treasure. There were beautiful exposed wood walls. Under the carpet were the original hardwood floors,” Behm said. “I love the informal look of the wood walls with the chandeliers and ornate lighting throughout the house.
Behm also included artwork from local artists that is available for purchase in the decor, and she plans to host paint parties and pottery nights when the house is vacant.
The home features two living areas, a dining room and an enclosed sun porch as well as three bredrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen with a working flair stove from the 1960s. Accommodations can be made for up to eight overnight guests.
According to Behm, The Reid House is an ideal rental for parties, rehearsal dinners, teas, showers, retreats or a quick getaway to Ripley. A night’s stay comes with a breakfast voucher for a restaurant located downtown, which is within walking distance.
Since returning to her hometown of Ripley six years ago, Behm has become a champion for Ripley and the local businesses there. She encourages visitors to browse the local shops like Nance Hardware and sample the fare at nearby restaurants like Dymond Marie’s. First Monday flea market is a popular regional attraction as well as the cemetery statue of Colonel W. C. Falkner, great-grandfather of William Faulkner.
The Reid House has its own piece of Faulkner family history in its living room—a chair that once belonged to the Colonel himself.
Behm “broke in” the new venue with a tea party for her six-year-old daughter, Holland Pierce, just as her grandmother Frances would have.
“She might roll over in her grave if she knew what I did to the wallpaper,” Behm said. “But I think she would be really happy to know that we are still hosting and entertaining in her home.”