By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Rob and Lana Ranahan were so pleased with their home on Eighth Street that they had completely renovated the kitchen into a chef’s dream. A few short weeks later, they moved to a house that had been abandoned for several years.
“A friend told us this place was for sale and we drove by just to look at it,” said Rob, a production manager of live shows. “I grew up in New England and wanted land and a pond. She had always wanted raspberry bushes and a pool. This house had all of that.”
What it didn’t have was operational indoor plumbing, a kitchen or intact rooms of any kind. A great deal of work stared the couple down at every turn.
“Weeds were everywhere and the house wasn’t appealing at all,” said Lana, a homeschooling mother of two. “Someone had left the house open and animals were in here, pipes burst and ceilings fell in. But Eighth Street is really busy and we thought it would be more fun for the kids to be free and able to run around in the yard.”
The house was in such poor condition, the family lived in their camper while the renovations began. With a history in construction work from younger days and maintenance experience from owning rentals, Rob knew he would be able to complete almost all the repairs himself.
“He can envision what he wants to do, read about it and then he does it right and he does it well,” said Lana.
Originally from Michigan, Lana met Rob while singing on tour. Eventually she moved to Anderson for a singing job with the Gaithers. Rob travels extensively with his business, allowing his home base to be anywhere. Twenty years later, the couple still enjoys the area while Lana homeschools Matthew, 11, and Tyler, 9.
“We have entertained the idea of moving home, but we really like it here,” said Rob.
First on the to-do list was a bathroom and second was a school room. Education can’t stop for the sake of construction. Once those two necessities were in place, Rob began recreating the dream kitchen they left.
“We went back to Lowe’s to get the same cabinets we installed at the other house and (the employee) who sold them to us saw us,” said Lana. “He joked about wanting to sell us more cabinets – and then we told him we wanted some.”
Gorgeous dark wood cabinets stretch along the two walls of the kitchen and then wrap around the corner and across the eating area. Quartz countertops, stunning tile work, multiple sinks, a pot filler and a beverage center create a space of luxury.
By removing walls between the kitchen, living room and dining room (and installing steel beams to support the structure), they fashioned an open concept main floor from a previously choppy series of small rooms.
Feeling like the 18-foot vaulted ceiling in the living room was wasted space, they dropped the ceiling to create a bonus room on the second floor. Now the top of the stairs reveals a family room with double doors that let in a lot of natural light along with a view of the pool and the five-and-a-half acres.
While they were able to score a great deal on the property due to its atrocious condition, costs are adding up quickly. Rob knew the basic costs of rebuilding, but has found the upgrades keep increasing the budget.
“The costs become exponential,” he said. “We didn’t want to skimp on things that would come back to bite us. We wanted to have the finishes and appliances we really like because we have no intentions of doing this again.”
“This is our forever house,” added Lana.
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an email to email@example.com.