Kyle and Kelsey Kasting take full advantage of their Franklin home’s diverse characteristics

By Jon Shoulders | Photography by Christopher Whonsetler

At the end of a hallway leading to the master bedroom in Kyle and Kelsey Kasting’s Franklin home, a large assortment of custom letter K’s adorns the painted gray wall, some large and some small, some plain and some ornate, all accumulated throughout the couple’s life together so far. One is from a recent trip to Europe, one is a wedding gift and another is made of corks from bottles of wine the couple enjoyed together. The collection’s attributes serve as a fitting analogy for the rest of the home — plenty of aesthetic variety within a consistent larger theme.

A few months before their wedding in the fall of 2012, the Kastings acquired the 5,300-square-foot home, situated adjacent to Hillview Country Club’s golf course and previously owned and built by Gary and Judy Nichols. “Gary and Judy owned several houses over the years, and this one really shows that they learned how to build and design,” Kelsey says. “We didn’t have to do much to it at all.”

As the founder and owner of C&M Cabinets, a Greenwood-based custom cabinet company, Gary brought his wood expertise to bear throughout the building process, which took place throughout 1999 and 2000. “We thought the open concept and having space downstairs really worked well, and also the separation upstairs with the bedrooms having their own bathrooms and walk-in closets,” Gary says. “We were proud of the cabinets and the way the home turned out overall.”

In addition to repainting most of the rooms, the Kastings made a few small modifications after taking possession of the three-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home, such as expanding the basement’s bar station, adding an elevated table with a central gas fire pit to the back patio and cutting a space for a recessed television in the ground floor living area.

“We were nervous about moving into a neighborhood,” Kyle says. “I grew up on a farm, and Kelsey grew up in a house with a lot of acreage. The golf course behind us helps retain that sense of space. The neighborhood is fun and we have great neighbors, but at the same time you never really feel closed in and you never really feel like you’re in a neighborhood.”

Feeling “closed in” isn’t an issue inside the home, either, as the front dining room and adjoining living room feature vaulted ceilings and high windows for ample sunlight. Silvers, whites, grays and golds embellish the dining space, from the hand-stenciled filigree pattern on the 18-foot painted wall to mercury glass candleholders on the hardwood dining table that served as centerpieces at Kyle and Kelsey’s wedding.

The main living area features select hickory flooring ordered by Gary from a custom wood company in Virginia. “We found out about the company at a local home show,” he explains. “It was one of the few places that had larger, 5½-inch-wide boards with longer lengths. When you want that type, you have to use a select grade. It was one of those things where you’re glad later that you went to the trouble, because it enhances the great room area.”

The kitchen, which features Corian countertops, an oak dining table and cabinetry consisting of maple and knotty pine, allows access to a screened-in porch and a short outer stairway leading down to a back patio where the Kastings enjoy spending time with friends and family regularly. An exposed stone pattern on the base of the patio’s fire pit table matches the base of the home’s back and front exterior, creating a subtle visual consistency. “We’ve hosted baby showers, bridal showers and engagement parties,” Kelsey says. “The fire pit table is great for dinner or just drinks later in the evening. The longer term plan is to add a grill and kitchen area to complete the patio.”

A fireplace and flat screen television add comfort to the master bedroom, and matching vanity stations stand on either side of the roomy master bathroom’s doorway. In the middle of the spacious walk-in master closet, Gary’s woodworking savvy shows in the form of a custom cherry cabinet with shelf and drawer space for clothing and accessories. “It saves some space out in the actual bedroom because we don’t have to have a dresser out there,” Kelsey says.

Two guest bedrooms and an office space with maple cabinets and drawers await guests venturing up the stairs and across the walkway along the home’s upper level. “Each of the bedrooms is kind of like a little mini suite with the full double sink bathrooms and big closets,” Kelsey adds.

The basement provides an abundance of comfort both as a gathering location for parties and as a winter retreat once the weather starts to turn in late fall. “The patio is where we try to spend a lot of time with friends and family, but in the winter it’s nice to be able to go down there,” Kelsey says. “We have Colts season tickets, and for away games we’ll have chili or something and have people over. We have a Super Bowl party usually every year and also an annual Christmas party. We like to entertain. Kyle’s parents live in Franklin and my parents live outside of Bargersville, so they’re over quite a bit.” 

To aid in their entertaining endeavors, Kyle, 33, and Kelsey, 27, added a wrap-around Corian countertop, matching the kitchen countertop upstairs, and a glass subway tile backsplash to complement the original cherry cabinets installed along the back wall of the basement’s bar and kitchenette area. A pool table, a mini gumball machine and two functional vintage pinball machines contribute to the casual atmosphere, and a TV area sits secluded in a corner alcove where two of the basement’s walls would normally meet. A full bathroom, a storage area and a staircase leading directly up to a three-car garage offer convenience and practicality to the basement level.

“If we would have built a house at this point, I don’t know if we would have thought of some of the little helpful things like the garage entry to the basement,” Kyle says. “There’s also an automatic light when you enter the pantry for when your hands are full coming in. Gary and Judy had been through the design process so often, you can really tell they knew what they were doing going in.”

The Kastings, both born and raised in Johnson County and graduates of Purdue University, fully value their time spent relaxing at home, not least because they don’t get much of it these days. When not at their day jobs — Kyle at Midwest Communications Group, his own political consultancy, and Kelsey at the national Future Farmers of America organization as an event planner — much of their free time is spent volunteering locally. Kelsey helps with fund development and marketing for Youth Connections, a Franklin-based group serving at-risk youths through crisis intervention, community education and mentoring, and Kyle recently completed his fifth year as an executive board member of the Johnson County Fair. “We both showed animals at 4-H growing up, so we do whatever we can to support it,” Kyle says. Both the Kastings are graduates of Leadership Johnson County’s nine-month networking program. 

Kyle says that frequent travel, including a Mediterranean cruise in May, annual trips to Las Vegas and frequent summer jaunts to Dale Hollow Lake on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, keeps the couple busy and has led to a renewed appreciation for their lifelong Johnson County surroundings. “I spent a lot of time traveling around Indiana when I first got out of college, and even traveling to the different places we go to now makes me realize that with Franklin there’s a lot going on, from weekend festivities to activities at the college,” he says. “Not a lot of communities can say that. You’re 20 to 25 minutes away from downtown Indianapolis, so you’re close, but you’re not too close. It’s a unique type of spot in that way, and it’s a lot of fun.”