The Herald Bulletin

November 9, 2013

Farmhouse reflects personality of owners

Home first to have running
water in Madison County

By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Three years ago Chuck and Sandy North left their 60-acre property in Farmland in search of a different school system for their grandchildren. Raising a second set of kids changed their priorities and their lifestyle.

Rachael, now 10, is deaf with cochlear implants and needed to be in a school district that would transfer her to St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf in Indianapolis. This meant the new home needed to be in the Frankton/Lapel school district. She and her brother, Dustin, now 15, also prompted the Norths to place child-friendly elements on the must-have list during the house hunt.

“Moving into a new area, we wanted a place where the grandchildren and their friends would want to be,” said Sandy, mentioning the importance of the pool. “We wanted to know where they were and what they were doing. And I love the water. I used to teach swimming.”

In addition to the opportunity to splash in the pool with friends, the three-acre property supplies plenty of space to explore and play games. While the land is significantly smaller than what the couple was accustomed to, it also requires much less upkeep.

“We feel like we are on a farm but without the chores,” said Sandy, an aide on a bus for special needs students going to Hinkle Creek Elementary School in Noblesville. “We have so much space here.”

A basketball court in the haymow offers the opportunity for even more fun.

But Chuck and Sandy didn’t sacrifice all their adult desires in favor of pleasing the children. The grace and elegance of the high ceilings and wide trim of the farmhouse built in 1923 is the perfect backdrop for the antiques the couple likes to collect.

“When I walked in this living room, I felt my mom touch my shoulder,” said Sandy. “It looks like the one I grew up in. I love this home.”

They also like the history, in that it was the first home in Madison County to have running water. Their home inspector told them that he knew the people who lived in the house when he was a child. The large tank used for the gravity-filled system remains in the attic.

Antiques collected by Chuck and Sandy over the years fit nicely into the space. Many were lost when a previous home, which was a converted bank barn, was destroyed by fire in 1999. Fortunately, Sandy’s grandmother’s quilts were in storage at the time. They decorate the entryway and hang over the bed in the master suite.

While the couple has stamped their personality throughout the home by painting walls, the only major reconstruction project they tackled was a bathroom remodel. With the goal of moving the washer and dryer out of the basement, they turned their eye on a first-floor bathroom that had a strange and awkward shower that left no space to maneuver.

By removing the shower, they were able to add a great deal of convenience to their life. A shiny red set of appliances occupy the space of the unused shower and eliminate trips up and down the stairs with heavy baskets.

“My favorite room is the living room,” said Chuck, a counter salesman at Kirby Risk Electrical Supplies. “It has character and it is peaceful.”

Although they both love the home, they have placed it on the market due to the need to downsize.

“We love the character of the home and it reminds me of my house when I was little,” said Sandy. “It’s great to think of all the craftsmanship that was done by hand instead of a machine. But now we need something smaller. We don’t want to move but it’s time for a different chapter in our lives.”

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