Perry Rice has built a lot of homes in the Oklahoma City area over his 35-year homebuilding career.
The one he built for himself and his wife, Quannah, seven years ago shares much in common with his company's model home at 19517 Fieldshire, which is tucked away in the Elms at Stonebriar near NW 192 and N Western: Both feature granite counter tops, high ceilings and an open floor plan.
But the Rices' personal home in Edmond's Sorghum Hill neighborhood, on Sorghum Mill Road between Bryant and Coltrane, is larger — around 5,000 square feet compared with 2,110 for the model — and it turns a different face to the world.
The model home's exterior is a rich mix of stone and tradition. The Rices' home, on the other hand, sports columns and a Mediterranean air that summons to the imagination the sound of waves lapping up on a beach.
“My wife and I, through our travels, like the Mediterranean style,” Rice said.
So, much of their home reflects that style: a lower-pitch roof, an exterior combining rock, brick and stucco along with arbors and overhangs. The columns line the curved front entrance.
“You don't see many Mediterraneans around Oklahoma,” he noted.
The Spanish cantera stone columns, made in Mexico, help “give our home the flavor, the Mediterranean flavor,” Rice said.
Other than that, the Rice home reflects the designs of the homes he builds for others, he said.
“You'll find an interior style and exterior style,” added his son and building superintendent, Chad Rice, “and they don't necessarily need to go together.”
For the younger Rice, design considerations fell closer to home in 2003 when he and his wife, Melissa, built a house.
“At the time I had a 3-year-old and newborn twins, and so what we needed was space,” Chad Rice said.
So their home in Edmond's Steeplechase neighborhood, on Coffee Creek Road between Bryant and Coltrane, offers bedrooms for each of the children as well as a retreat for the parents and a bonus room over the garage. With small children and dogs running around, they took things a step further, ripping up the carpet in several rooms and simply staining the concrete.
“We love it,” Chad Rice said. “Drop something on the floor, you don't worry about chipping a tile.”
The carpet has been slowly disappearing since, replaced by wood flooring in the living room. Carpet remains in the children's rooms, but the Rices more recently pulled the carpet out of their own room and stained the concrete in there “just because it's cool,” Chad Rice said.
He said people have asked him if concrete floors are harder on the feet or back.
“We haven't really noticed anything,” he said. “It's just more easily cared for.”
Perry Rice started building homes around 1977, drawn by a lifelong interest in construction.
“I guess it kind of stems back from when I was a kid, and we did a room addition — my folks did a room addition. I would come home from school every day and watch the carpenters do their thing. It was just really interesting,” he said.
After a stint in the National Guard, Perry Rice tried his hand at retail but soon realized he didn't like being indoors all the time. So he moved into real estate and eventually into homebuilding and development.
The homes he was building in 1977 are a world away from the ones Rice Homes builds now.
He and Chad Rice ticked off the differences: bigger doorways, taller ceilings, bigger garages, better security systems and ramped-up energy efficiency through blown-in insulation and low-e windows.
Decorative elements have changed too, Perry Rice said.
“The houses I was building back then, the only ceramic tile was in the showers,” he said.
Editor's NoteThis is one of an occasional series of features about homebuilders and their own homes.