ANDERSON — Phil and Catrina Cooper like change. Shortly after their marriage 14 years ago, they moved into a new home near Killbuck Lake. Before long they added a deck. Two babies arrived and kept their itch for something new at bay for a while, but the need to shake things up resulted in a total remodel of the interior in 2011.
“When we first looked at this house, I didn’t think we could afford it,” said Phil, an Anderson firefighter for 27 years. “But when we walked in the front door, we absolutely loved it. We were able to make it work. God has blessed us.”
Although the home doesn’t have lake access, it does sport a nice-sized yard and view of the lake. They quickly decided a deck would enhance outdoor living greatly.
“We like to be outdoors,” said Phil. “I’ve got my grill out there and we like to spend time in the yard. Now that we have two kids (Jaylon, 10, and Kyla, 5), they really enjoy running and playing out there.”
The spacious deck is also a great place to enjoy fireworks on the Fourth of July — without fighting a long line of cars for the front-row experience.
“They shoot off big fireworks every year from the island in the middle of the lake,” he said. “These are just as big as any of the shows around town. It’s so much fun to sit out there and watch them.”
When the couple began to get restless in 2011, they decided to take down some walls and reinvent their space. One separated the kitchen/eating area from a small family room. Pulling it down, the Coopers united the areas into one large room that is a perfect gathering space.
By removing a pantry that further separated the kitchen from the new open area, they fashioned a bar that doubles as extra seating or extra work space. Cabinetry received some TLC, but didn’t need to be replaced. New granite counter tops stretch over them, giving the kitchen a luxury feel.
Separating this area from the living room is a wall accented with spindles. During the remodel, these were removed and a salt-water fish tank was built into the wall.
“The contractor saw my aquarium and said: ‘Let’s get this up off the floor and into the wall,’” he recalled. “My wife took some convincing. She didn’t want it at first but now she likes it. It’s a real eye-catcher. Everybody that comes in really likes it.”
Currently two clownfish, two angel fish and one goby are sharing the water. Since the introduction of the goby, the tank has become maintenance free, as he enjoys eating moss from all the surfaces.
Hardwood floors now stretch throughout these changed living areas, providing an updated, modern look.
Not only does Phil enjoy change within his home, but in every facet of life. He may have remained with his employer for 27 years, but he has a very simple reason why.
“It’s something different every time I go in,” he said. “The fire department has given me a great job, a great career. Those guys are my second family — they are great.”
Now the need for a change on the home front has reared its head again and the Coopers are out of ideas for altering their lakeside retreat. They have placed their home on the market with an eye on moving...well, anywhere in the city.
“I’m open to whatever,” said the Highland High School graduate. “But I want to stay in Anderson. This is a great community and good things are happening in this city.”
He met his wife over a piece of cake at a wedding in Alabama and wooed her to Anderson from Cincinnati. She teaches fifth grade at Anderson Elementary School.
While the family looks forward to moving, they do feel a tug on their heart strings as they contemplate leaving their neighbors.
“This area is beautiful and our neighbors are excellent people,” said Phil. “We love them.”
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 email@example.com.