Appanoose County natives Alan and Amanda Sells are raising their three children in a two-story historic home on Drake Avenue in Centerville.
Built by Dr. Elbert Heaton in 1912, the home features a portico and large front porch, 11 stained glass windows on the first floor, dark ornate woodwork, beamed ceilings and an open stairway. A picture of Dr. Heaton, given to the Sellses by local historian Dr. Brad McConville, hangs above the fireplace.
Alan and Amanda purchased the house in 1998 after Amanda’s mother brought its architectural details to their attention. The young couple fell in love with the home and have spent the last 15 years making it their own.
“There are not many surfaces in this home we haven’t touched,” Amanda says. “All the rooms have had either paint or wallpaper changed. The crown molding in the living room had been painted many years ago, and we have stripped the paint and restored the molding to the original dark stain. Other than that, the woodwork is as it was originally including the three sets of pocket doors.”
Several changes were necessary, like updating the wiring and insulation and putting a new roof on the house and the garage. Other work was cosmetic. The deck on the back of the house was not original, so Alan and Amanda removed it and built a brick patio using pavers taken from Drake Avenue when the street was resurfaced. The back porch was rebuilt and a bay window was added to match those on the sides of the house. The Sellses added dentil molding to the entire front and back porch fascia to conform to the molding on the upper levels of the home.
Avid gardeners, Alan and Amanda constructed a large hosta garden in the backyard to complement the original fish pond.
“We have over a dozen gold fish and koi in the pond each summer and around 50 varieties of hosta in the garden,” Amanda says.
“Updating is a forever thing,” she admits. “Our goal has been to get the house as close to original as possible and still maintain a comfortable place to call home.”
And home it is. The Sells girls — Elizabeth, 16, and Abby, 13 — are competitive dancers and use the large living room as a practice studio. Son Reece, 10, is already planning to raise his own family there someday.