ANDERSON, Ind. — Setting unmatched craftsmanship on land rife with wildlife, the builders of John and Susie Schieve’s home unwittingly created a paradise for the couple. Susie has enjoyed the location that backs up to the Anderson Country Club for approximately 38 years – and can’t imagine leaving.
“It’s like being in the country, but it’s right in town,” said John, a financial adviser at UBS. “We have three wooded acres here.”
“We get a lot of wildlife – raccoons, deer, foxes,” said Susie, who has also filled the house, yard and garage with dogs and cats. As the director of the Madison County Humane Society, her heart strings are often pulled by strays. “I love the quaintness of the house. It has a lot of old charm.”
Built in the mid-1930s, the home sports many features that simply ooze character.
“We have documents that show it was built for $19,000 and the quality of materials and the workmanship are outstanding,” said John. “They just don’t make them like this anymore. There are oak floors and copper guttering and the fireplace is beautiful.”
Over the years the couple has needed to update the home and change the configuration of some rooms to accommodate the family, but have been careful not to alter the integrity of the house. When they remodeled the kitchen, they came very close to replacing the stainless steel countertops – a very uncommon feature.
“I thought about removing them, but I’m so glad I didn’t,” said Susie. “I have changed a few things over the years that I wish I hadn’t, but mostly we have worked to keep the craftsmanship. We did add several skylights, which really helped with the lighting.”
It’s easy to imagine how dark the house would be without these additions.
Now, however, light pours in from above, allowing a comfortable and spacious feeling to flow through the rooms. In the master bedroom, they were also able to extend half the ceiling into the attic space. The result is a cathedral ceiling, skylight and stained glass window that greets them each morning.
Originally the bathroom was shared between the master and a second bedroom. By moving a doorway, the couple created a master suite. To accommodate guests, they shortened the length of the second bedroom (which was particularly large) and added a private bathroom and shower.
“We had great artisans as contractors that worked to carefully move the crown molding to keep with the integrity of the house,” said Susie. “They were patient to do that for us.”
Another major change has been the removal of most of the carpet.
“It made such a difference when we pulled up the carpet,” said Susie. “I always wanted hardwood floors but didn’t want them to be dark because the woodwork is so dark. Some of the oak floors hadn’t even been finished.”
“We both love oriental rugs and we have brought many things home from our travels,” said John.
“After a trip to Kenya we brought home a rug and I wondered if there was hard wood under the carpet in the den,” said Susie. “I started pulling it back and couldn’t believe my eyes – it was a parquet floor! I kept pulling it back farther, knowing there would be a big blemish somewhere, but it was perfect! I couldn’t believe it.”
A few years ago, Susie cleared out the walk-out basement to the garage to turn it into her private art studio. Then the need for an overflow shelter for cats reared its head. Sacrificing her hobby, Susie now has a makeshift shelter. The dogs and cats manage to live together peacefully.
“This has been a good home to live in with children and animals,” she said. “We like nice things and we like our animals. Sometimes it’s hard to find that balance – but this house has been perfect.”
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.