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Scott and Bonnie Sparks enjoy their country home in Woodlawn Heights

ANDERSON — While many real estate professionals may hop from house to house, tempted by the allure of a newer design or an immaculate spread or simply the ability to be the first to pounce on a great deal, Scott Sparks has remained in the same home for the past 26 years.

“No matter how nice of a house you walk into, there is always another one that is a little bit nicer,” he said. “To me, a house is just a house. The setting — the outside — is what makes it home.”

With a passion for living in the country and a need for being close to the office, this location in Woodlawn Heights (an incorporated town within the city of Anderson) has been the best of both worlds. The back of the home descends into the woods with the river running along it.

“I have always enjoyed the area from Madison to Raible along the river,” said Scott, a Realtor in Anderson since 1974. “It is an ecosystem that has every form of wildlife that is present in Indiana. We get deer in the yard, along with foxes and coyotes and owls and hawks — everything you think about seeing in a rural setting we see on a daily or weekly basis.”

“It is beautiful here. It’s like being in the country but still in the middle of the city,” said Bonnie, Scott’s wife of five years. “In the summer when the leaves come in, you can’t see any other houses from here.”

Picturesque in every one of the four seasons, the yard displays a constant show for the couple’s viewing pleasure. To make the front-row seats even more delightful, one wall is made completely of windows overlooking nature’s scene.

Originally this view was in the living room, rarely occupied unless guests were visiting. Walled off from the rest of the home — most houses built in the 1960s were sectioned off into small rooms — the full impact of the windows was not utilized.

About 10 years ago, Scott and his late wife, Janet, remedied the situation by removing the wall and reinforcing the ceiling with a steel beam. Now the living room and family room are combined and flow into the open kitchen and added sunroom. The result is the open-concept design that homebuyers are clamoring for today.

“It was quite a production to do that, but it really changed the functionality of the house a lot,” Scott said. “This became a house we could have a lot of get-togethers in and it’s pretty easy for a couple to live in because there aren’t a lot of unused rooms.”

The closeness of nature has resulted in a disaster or two along the way. One year, a 70-foot tree fell in the yard, crushing Scott’s car and toppling the masonry wall separating the swimming pool from the incline of the hill.

When the couple married, the issue of combining two separate households emerged. Not interested in pushing Janet’s memory aside, Bonnie rather wanted to marry her past to Scott’s. Walking through the home, visitors will notice some of Bonnie’s furnishings (such as her mother’s bedroom suit and vanity in a bedroom), some of Scott’s fittings (including pictures of Janet and their children), and some items the couple purchased together.

“I didn’t want to come in and change everything and have the kids resent me,” said Bonnie, a retired Pendleton teacher. “I wanted to be considerate of everyone’s feelings.”

Not only will guests notice pictures of Scott’s past on the walls, but pictures of Bonnie’s past as well. Between the two of them, they have four children and one grandchild.

“Both of our histories line the walls,” said Scott. “I really appreciate being with someone where I really can blend our pasts together.”

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 emmagoldiemeyer @yahoo.com.

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