By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
After designing and building several homes to live in — and flipping 11 other houses — Frank Zebedis is finally satisfied with his beautiful residence and plans on building no longer.
He and his wife, Marilyn, enjoy plenty of space for large family gatherings and wildlife that ventures right up to the window to peek inside.
“We really like this area,” said Frank, who oversaw the construction of facilities for several corporations before retirement. “It is out of the city and we enjoy the woods. We like to see the animals come and visit us — we do get too many coons sometimes. But we like being at the crest of this hill.”
Only recently Marilyn was quite startled by a deer snacking on a bush with its head almost to the window pane. When she opened the blinds, she was face to face with an unusual peeping tom.
So fond of this area east of town, the couple has built all their homes less than a half-mile apart. Originally choosing Emerald Glen as a place to rest their heads, they constructed a traditional house. A few years later, they purchased 75 acres next to New Life Christian Church, their home congregation.
With a rich work history in energy efficiency, Frank designed an earth-sheltered home and found the savings on heating and cooling to be substantial. They enjoyed their cozy dwelling and built four condos next to them using the same principles of construction.
Once they decided more space was the answer to congested family gatherings, the couple built another home next door. Although they wanted to incorporate the earth-sheltered design yet again, the plot was simply not conducive to the process. A steep drop in the back makes the view beautiful, but the energy-efficient model impossible.
“I wanted a big open area so all the family could be here and not be crowded,” said Frank, who oversaw construction of Reardon Auditorium, the Christian Center, Tenth Street Elementary and Valley Grove during his working years. “This is the first open concept home I built.”
Missing from the large space that opens to the kitchen, eating area and living room is the idol of modern-day culture.
“We never have a television in this area,” said Marilyn, who worked at Eastman Kodak, Delco-Remy and Anderson Community Schools.
“We do not want it to be a distraction,” said Frank. “When someone comes in and sits down, we want to be able to converse without being distracted by the TV.”
Visitors can’t help but be distracted by the beautiful stained glass window prominently located in the great room. Frank designed the house around this treasure that is eye-catching even from the street.
“This was made by Jack Huffman for the restaurant we used to own,” said Frank, pointing out the three dimensional nature of the piece. “I loved it and decided I would incorporate it into the next house I built. I built the house around that.”
The stained glass window has many friends — although they may not be as colorful, they let in abundant light.
“This is such a nice, light-filled house,” said Frank. “It’s never dark with all these windows. We get to enjoy the light and see the deer. One day five deer were right here in the front yard.”
While Frank and Marilyn take pleasure in discussing their home, they revel in the opportunity to talk about the family that prompted them to build it. Three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren regularly fill the halls with laughter.
Scott, their son, is the executive director of the Garth Brooks Foundation. Pictures and stories of him and the country music star abound. Sue Long, their daughter, is a kindergarten teacher in Florida who traveled to decorate the White House for Christmas this year. Staci Vallance, another daughter, is a flight attendant for United Airlines and earns great travel privileges for her parents.
“We have great times together,” said Frank.
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.