Kim and Kenny Pearson’s newest home customizations have family-friendly appeal

By Jon Shoulders
Photography by Josh Marshall

In 2002, Kenny and Kim Pearson custom built their fourbedroom, 6,000-square-foot house in Franklin and, as avid swimmers, included a pool out back. Ten years and three grandkids later, the couple decided to transform the backyard area into what Kim calls “a little vacation space” for family and friends—an idea that originally grew out of Kenny’s simple desire for more garage space a few years ago.

“It all started because we needed some kind of place for Kenny’s tractor, something that would look nice,” Kim says. Now, a fourcar garage anchors an expanded backyard entertainment area that provides plenty of space for their large family, which includes three children—Amy, 31, Austin, 28, and Kyle, 21—three grandchildren and 12 combined siblings and their families, to relax and spend quality time together. Attached to the garage, a covered living area with a fireplace, a grilling station, a kitchen and a bar have become a part of the master plan. The lounge area sits adjacent to the family’s expansive in-ground pool.

The Pearsons enlisted the help of local designer Dale Hughes, owner of Franklin-based Dale Hughes Interior Design, to make it all happen. “I know the Pearson family well and knew how important family is to both of them (Kim and Kenny), so it made my job easier to help create an outside living space that could comfortably house their growing family and their many friends,” says Hughes, who also helped the Pearsons redesign their master bedroom and enhance their main interior living area five years ago.

Hughes worked with the Pearsons to pick out the granite, stone and brick used in the project, as well as the concrete pattern and color and bar design. Throughout the planning stages, he regularly told Kim “that we were going to transform the area from drab to fab,” he recalls.

“Before we did this, there was no shade or anything and no place for everyone to come together outside,” Kim recalls. “Even before the house was finished, we would bring picnic lunches and hang out at the pool on the weekends when the workers weren’t here, and it was fun, but there wasn’t any place to gather. Now we have a place where all the kids can come and hang out on the weekend.”

The couple’s thematic vision for their covered sitting area involved merging comfort with contemporary furnishings, resulting in what Kim describes as a combined outdoor living and family room. All-weather wicker seats and a fireplace made of Indiana river rock add to the relaxed aesthetic, which Kenny says the family enjoys even when temperatures drop.

Those lounging in the living area need only turn slightly to enjoy the flat-screen TV mounted above the sink in the nearby bar and kitchen space, which also features granite countertops, a microwave, an ice machine and a stainless steel refrigerator perpetually stocked with goodies for the grandkids, Brooklyn, 7, Colton, 4, and Zehr, 14 months. Vinyl windows, which open and close garage door-style via remote control, help to protect the kitchen and bar area from the elements when family festivities are forced indoors. Even the pool is family- friendly at 5 feet deep throughout, a feature the Pearsons take advantage of for family pool-volleyball games.

Born and raised locally, the Pearsons became high school sweethearts when Kim was a freshman and Kenny was a senior at Franklin High School. The couple currently owns Greene’s Auto & Truck Service on Raymond Street in Indianapolis, which specializes in repairs and maintenance for retail and commercial customers, and they have a second location downtown that services Citizens Energy Group exclusively. Fleet Services Solutions in Carmel, Kim and Kenny’s second auto business, handles on-site fleet auto maintenance and repair, and with clients based in Carmel, Louisville and Cincinnati, Franklin’s centralized location is one of many reasons why they’ve enjoyed calling the southside home.

“One of the biggest companies my business serves right now has a presence in both Carmel and in Louisville, and so it’s great to be right in between those two locations,” Kenny says. “And in this area, you’re far enough away from the city that you get more of the small town values and small town sense of community.”

The Pearsons’ grand designs for their home and backyard area are almost fully developed, but by no means finished. Next on the list is a home office that Hughes is in the process of designing and a guesthouse that will be built on the side of the outdoor living area, opposite the kitchen and garage, which will provide Kenny’s mother a place of her own during extended summer visits from her home in Pompano Beach, Fla. “We put that part of it on hold for a little while, but it was part of our original idea when we started thinking of what we wanted, because we were dreaming real big,” Kim says.

The outside construction process lasted from May to October of 2012 and included a few landscaping flourishes around the exterior of the home, which sits on a total of 18 acres.

Having to wait another six months before the weather would allow the family to reap the poolside benefits was more than worth the wait. “Kim said that they used the pool area more last summer (after the area was completed) than they had the entire time that they have lived in the home,” Hughes says. “It is a beautiful area that will be the center of many good memories for years to come.”