By Allyson Duckworth
The Oaks is a gorgeous piece of heaven nestled in the center of Oxford, tucked behind the original clinker brick and weeping mortar wall. Before purchasing the The Oaks, the Alias family had been thinking of redoing their current home but decided to look around Oxford for available homes on the market. After an offer fell through on another home, a close friend said, “Why don’t you look at the Peddle Place?”
Neither William nor Margaret Anne was familiar with the property, but they knew it couldn’t hurt to look. By that time, it had been on the market for about two years.
When William visited the first time he immediately fell in love with the wooded property, especially the series of small ponds in the front yard. He thought it would be a wonderful place to raise their two daughters. The land and trees just felt right. He called his wife Margaret Anne and said “you have to come see this place!” Over two years later, in May of 2020, they moved into their new home.
The property’s original home was built and completed July 5, 1956, by Frank S. Peddle Jr. (Philadelphia, Penn.), and Marjorie Wallace Peddle (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Ginny Moss (Memphis), one their daughters, said that she was born on July 5, 1956, and the hospital kept her an extra day so they could move into the original house.
Ginny said her dad designed the outside and her mother designed the inside. She said that the original house was the only house she lived in growing up. She and her sister were raised at the Oaks. Frank, their father, had attended Ole Miss in 1947. After meeting Marjorie in Pensacola, the couple wed in 1951 and decided to move to Oxford after Frank completed his military service.
The Peddles’ love of Ole Miss, Oxford, its people and its community was well known. Mr. Peddle was known for his display of Christmas lights for 50 years. Oxonians would enter on eagle springs and drive through the property to see the lights and exit on Cullen. The Aliases still find remnants of the decor to this day all over the yard.
William and Margaret Anne both attended Ole Miss and ultimately made Oxford their home. Margaret Anne is originally from Belfast, Tenn., and William from Atlanta. They have two beautiful daughters, Mary Beech and Kate Carson, who are following in the footsteps of the Peddle girls. William is a partner in Equipro Investments. Their home office resides in Oxford.
Before ever even hearing of The Oaks, the Aliases had sought the help of well-known home designer, Frank Tindall. Originally from Indianola, Frank now resides in Oxford. He is one of the most sought after home designers in Mississippi and the southeast.
It was no coincidence that Frank was their choice to design their forever home. The Aliases had not actually been inside that many of his homes, but rather went with his reputation and the advice of close friends. In this they knew he was the right choice to design their family home.
I have been very lucky myself to work with Frank. He has a gift and an eye like no other. He recreates space and utilizes his talents to create a forever home with timeless features. You are super lucky if you have the opportunity to work with him more than once. Each home he designs is a masterpiece. I must say the Alias home is one of my favorites that he has designed.
After purchasing the home, the Aliases and Frank spent about six months trying to decide how they could modify the original home to suit their lifestyle. After rendering after rendering, the difficult decision was made to start from scratch and recreate their favorite spaces.
The original home was split into three levels with all bedrooms upstairs, and the pool was built at a much higher elevation that the house. The Aliases ultimately decided they at least wanted the master bedroom downstairs and the pool on the same elevation as the house. With small children at home, a bird’s eye view of the pool was top priority.
The new home pays homage to the original in several ways. Frank recreated their two favorite rooms: a sitting room and the Peddles’ dining room now serve as William’s home office and study. The aesthetic of the office is mostly floor to ceiling windows – just like the original dining room – overlooking a mass of azaleas and William’s garden. (The Peddles planted azaleas all over the property and most of them are still there today).
One of Margaret Anne’s requests was a large bay window. It is what you see upon entering the original gates. It, too, is a nod to the original home. Also original to the house are a pair of beautiful sconces. Margaret Anne had them wired and used them to light up the entry to their master bedroom. They were also able to use another pair of sconces and two chandeliers from the original home, so when you walk through there are remnants of the original house throughout.
One of my favorite features of the house are the cloister vault ceilings. During the design process Frank showed Margaret Anne pictures of a house he designed with a series of cloister vaults in a loggia. Margaret Anne loved them so much she asked Frank to be sure and find a place for one (or more) in their home. They decided to use the cloister vaults in the entrance by the bar, William’s office and the entry to the master suite. They also made the ceiling in the hallway by the side entrance a barrel ceiling.
Once the sheetrock was completed in all these areas they determined something was still lacking. That is when Margaret Anne and Frank agreed that what they needed was Venetian plaster. It truly makes these spaces stand out. Venetian plaster was added to the entry by the bar, the hallway of the side entrance, Williams office and the entry to the master suite. The cloister is spectacular in the entrance next to the bar and really accentuates the European antique shandelier. The barrel ceiling is just as spectacular as it leads you to the formal living room and baby grand piano. It was a great move by Frank and Margaret Anne and one of the elements of this home that truly stands out.
In closing, making your home your own is always important. The Alias have done just that and have created a beautiful space to raise their family. Also of importance, they created a space to entertain family and friends for years to come….. continuing the traditions of the Peddle family.