Keeping it Simple

Jan Wilson uses blended styles and a streamlined design scheme
for her Johnson County home

By Jon Shoulders

If you ask Jan Wilson to characterize the approach she takes in professional endeavors, artistic projects and even the design of her custom-built Johnson County house, she’ll likely answer with three words that, in their very brevity, reflect the essence of the philosophy itself: Keep it simple.

In April 2015 Wilson broke ground on a 2,200-square-foot home she felt would unify the various aesthetic styles she prefers while avoiding any unneeded space or visual convolution. “I didn’t want anything really extravagant or elaborate,” she says. “I have a very busy lifestyle even though my children are on their own now. I’ve always tried to keep things as simple as possible, which has carried over into the home’s design. I like simple lines and a blend of contemporary and traditional.”

Wilson had been living in a condominium for the previous four years and began longing for a residence that would be less constrictive yet space-efficient at the same time. She enlisted her cousin, Rick Campbell, a Greenwood-based residential builder with whom she had worked on a previous home, to bring her ideas to fruition during a six-month construction process.

“The style of the home is very much her own, and she brought so many of her own ideas that would fit her lifestyle needs,” Campbell says. “It has both a transitional and a little bit of a contemporary feel, and her decoration selections are really magnificent.”

Guests entering through the front door immediately get a sense of Wilson’s sleek design approach in the form of a great room with a stacked-stone fireplace, hardwood hickory flooring, plantation shutters and leather furniture. “It has a contemporary feel, and I went with these great handcrafted light fixtures in the entryway and dining area from a company in Vermont,” Wilson says. “They hand make every light fixture that they sell.”

Wilson’s open floor plan allows her central living space to blend with the kitchen’s modern look, which includes stainless steel appliances, cherry cabinetry with molasses staining, a mosaic tile backsplash and Caesarstone quartz counters. “When I’m entertaining, the open space is nice because guests like to congregate in the great room and also tend to gather in the kitchen as well,” Wilson says.

20170217_JD_JanWilson_11A few simple construction touches add utility while contributing to the home’s visual aesthetic, including a galley-style laundry room with granite counters and weathered porcelain flooring, a storage space with a sitting area just inside the garage entryway, and an enclosed space in the garage itself for the home’s water heater and furnace. “Since there’s no basement and those utility things are in the garage, I had Rick create a closet space to clean it up,” Wilson says. “There’s also a full staircase to the attic for easier access to storage up there for Christmas decorations and so forth.”

Campbell says Wilson’s choices for surface materials and fixtures helped to stylistically enhance the natural layout. “She was able to use a lot of different textures, from granite and stone to the hardwoods,” he says. “All the colors she selected really brought the home alive. A lot of people are starting to go for the new-style tub that she went with in the master, which is a standalone tub that’s a bit more modern than the bear claw style. There are a lot of nice touches like that.”

The great room and kitchen areas are flanked by two full baths and three bedrooms, one of which Wilson plans to convert to an art studio to further facilitate her passion for photography, art and music. “Whenever the time is right for retirement, photography is something I’d like to explore more,” she says. “Right now that third bedroom is more of a den with a pullout sofa for guests, but my vision is to transform it and put a piano keyboard in there.”

Born and raised on the southside of Indianapolis, Wilson attended Southport High School and obtained a business degree from the University of Indianapolis. She secured a full-time position at Eli Lilly and Co., where she has spent 25 years in various departments, including communication, marketing, legal and global conference planning. The work has taken her to London, Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, Prague, Geneva and a host of other locations around the world, which she says has enriched her artistic tastes.20170217_JD_JanWilson_15

“In designing and decorating I think a lot of my influences have come from seeing some of the countries throughout Europe and how the Old World and the New World are woven together to create a harmonious landscape,” Wilson says. “I like to cross boundaries, and I’ve found that because my brain is in a constant state of discovery, my tastes have evolved and transformed over time. So that’s fun for me to create things based on where I am at a certain time.”

With a part-time position at the Greenwood Kittle’s Furniture store in finance and administrative roles, Wilson spends as much of her rare free time as she can with friends and her children, Kelly, a guidance counselor at Center Grove Middle School; Elizabeth, who serves in a human resources role at Lilly; and Christopher, a musician who recently returned to Indiana from a two-and-a-half-year missionary stint in Northern Ireland.

“I don’t have a ton of free time and I’m very busy with both jobs, but I really love designing and creating, whether it’s my home or helping someone else decorate their home,” Wilson says. “I do floral design, and I’ve done that for weddings. I appreciate art from all different perspectives, and I’m always trying to broaden that whenever I can.”

Photography by Jennifer Dummett