By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
When Wendy Wash walked through an unfinished home for a prospective move, she was not sold.
Even though the house had been constructed 20 years prior, studs were still visible and the stairs were open — provoking images of her small girls tumbling to the bottom.
“I had to be bribed into buying this house,” said Wendy, accounting clerk for the Town of Edgewood. “Janet Sparks (a local realtor at the time) talked me into it. It was ugly but she said it had so much potential. We did want to get away from town and into the Highland district.”
“I could see that it was all work that we could do,” said Kevin, Wendy’s husband. “We would get to do what we wanted — it was almost like having a new structure. The guy who built the house had the right idea and the structure was solid.”
Not only was Kevin handy, but he knew he had backup. With a network of friends and family that taught them a number of skills, the Washes steadily worked on one room after another until they had created their dream home.
“We wanted to be able to entertain,” said Kevin, electrical engineer for Delphi in Kokomo. “When I laid out the basement, I knew I wanted a room where I could move things around easily for different activities. Even the light fixtures are capable of moving as our needs change.”
With most of the area dedicated to a party room, the basement has hosted card parties, church group meetings, slumber parties, family gatherings and weekly Colts parties. A large television, unique stadium-seating sofas, a fireplace, a cocktail Space Invaders game and fold-up ping pong table are waiting for visitors of all ages.
“We had 60 people down there one time for a sing,” said Wendy. “And I always wanted our kids’ friends to enjoy coming here so I knew what was happening.”
Not only have they regularly opened their home, but their 1.5 acres as well. Kevin mowed a baseball diamond so the softball team could practice their skills.
Constant construction affected Adrienne and Whitney, their daughters, as well. Growing up, they loathed to hear that their Saturday would be spent at Menards. At the time, neither Menards nor Lowes had stores in Anderson, so the announcement meant travel time. To appease the girls, Kevin and Wendy always threw in lunch at a fun restaurant like Chuck E. Cheese’s.
“Adrienne ended up working at Menards in college,” said Kevin with a laugh. “And Whitney is an interior designer. So they learned a lot.”
Not only did the girls pitch in with the construction, but they have added their own flair to the rooms. Faux finishes, textured walls and interesting designs abound in the home. Whitney created a masterpiece in her bedroom with bright blue walls that gradually become light blue at the bottom. Hand crafted quotes and Bible verses appear sporadically to inspire.
This time of year each room sports a Christmas tree that matches the theme of the room. In Whitney’s former room, blue ornaments take center stage. Adrienne’s former room boasts a Precious Moments tree, which is predominantly pink and features a collection of ornaments given to the girls by their grandmother.
Red and gold on the tree in the living room create an elegant look, while the tree in the party room has a more fun and lighthearted feel.
Kevin’s den sports a tree that is trimmed with fish, boats and fishing hooks – which happens to sit right next to his collection of fishing poles.
Wendy has solutions for rooms without much extra space. A tabletop tree with miniature ornaments appears in the master bedroom and a half tree is hung on the wall over the toilet in the bathroom. A skinny, but perfectly decorated tree even graces the landing.
“When I first walked through here, I just couldn’t see it all finished – I couldn’t envision it,” said Wendy. “But we love it now. We are finished with all the big construction projects and we love it.”