Refreshing the familiar

Joanna and Miles Batchelor
reimagine their Greenwood home

By Jon Shoulders 

More than a decade after building their three bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom residence in Greenwood, Joanna and Miles Batchelor were ready for an aesthetic change to their domestic surroundings. After moving seven times during their professional careers, the prospect of yet another relocation wasn’t terribly palatable, so they decided to stay put, do some brainstorming with an interior designer and undertake, as Joanna puts it, a “simple refresh.”

“Now that we’re retired, we realized we like where we are and that we could freshen things up here instead of moving again,” Joanna says. “We looked at condos in downtown Indy for a little while, but we like being in Greenwood, and our three granddaughters are within five minutes of us. It seemed to make sense to treat ourselves to some revisions and refreshes here in our familiar surroundings.”

Stay in the lines

The journey began in 2014 when the Batchelors enlisted design consultant Susie Bibler of Indianapolis-based Home ReVisions to make a few choice changes to the living room of the 3,500-square-foot home. The couple removed both the carpeting and large entertainment center that dominated the space, choosing instead to mount a flat-screen television for a cleaner, more spacious feel. A midcentury-style Scandinavian sofa, sleek end tables and modern artwork exemplify the couple’s eclectic design tastes.

“They don’t have a specific style, but they do like clean lines and nothing fussy,” Bibler says. “It was more of a combination of midcentury modern meets modern meets transitional. That’s what I enjoyed: the fact that it wasn’t a design that was clearly defined. It was more of a design that we developed as we went along, based on their likes of certain elements.”

In the living room, blackout drapes and a pocket door linking to the dining room help to facilitate a theater-like atmosphere for one of the couple’s favorite pastimes: movie nights.

“When we built the house 15 years ago, we didn’t want an open concept because we have surround sound for the living room and you would lose all the noise,” Joanna explains. “So when we were refreshing the space, we decided that since we’re big on watching movies, why not customize our living space even more?”

Next came an update for the dining room, which involved a few creative touches to existing furniture pieces, most of which were wedding gifts from when Miles and Joanna were married 42 years ago. Bibler suggested reupholstering the chairs, painting the sideboard black to offset the room’s otherwise warm tones and adding a few design pieces to an old tea cart that stands in the corner.

Color me in

To add visual continuity from room to room, the Batchelors implemented a recurring color scheme that subtly pervades the living, dining and front entryway spaces.

“Tones of orange are my favorite; I like coral, orange and rust tones,” Joanna says. “All of our walls except for the kitchen were very neutral because in the back of our minds we’ve always thought about reselling since we’ve moved so many times. But when we talked to Susie she found out that we do like color, so she suggested that we use color in the drapes and other things than just pictures.”

Heart and hearth

Throughout late 2015 and 2016 the Batchelors embarked on a kitchen redesign with assistance from Compass Design’s Stacy Thompson, who reinvigorated the space with stainless steel appliances, quartz counters and island, a thin subway tile backsplash and dark cabinetry.

“The kitchen isn’t a gigantic space, but we were able to apply some updates and give it some modern touches without knocking down walls or doing anything major,” Thompson says. She designed the cabinets, then had an Amish family in southern Indiana build and install them. “It worked really well since the family is local and we could consult directly with them if there were any issues,” Thompson says.

The master bedroom and bathroom both received moderate facelifts last year, including custom-built drapes and bed, as well as new light fixtures and heated tile flooring in the master bath. A light touch-up of the primary guest bedroom followed earlier this year.

“Our oldest daughter is in a motorized wheelchair, and now the master bathroom and all the doors and rooms except the powder room on the main level are handicap accessible,” Joanna says, adding that the finished basement level serves as a relaxation spot with a TV and pinball machine. “It’s nice because we’re older, and as we age, if we would need that accessibility aspect of the home, then it’s available. We have a lift in the garage, too. So, we’re ready to stay here forever.”

The Batchelors have certainly done their share of traveling, both recreationally and professionally. Miles, an Indy native, met Joanna, who grew up in Greencastle, while both were employed with Indiana Bell. They went through several corporate relocations through the years to Colorado, Illinois and eventually back to central Indiana before retiring. These days they reserve their travel plans for the winter months, typically heading for warmer climates. For the couple, Greenwood is an ideal spot for the remainder of the year, not least because their granddaughters, Allie, Mandy and Tonia, live close by.

“It’s so easy to get around here, and the services we need are close by,” Joanna says. “We’re big Colts fans and have had season tickets for 35 years. You might not have the shopping in Johnson County that the northside does, but for day-to-day we really like it here.”

The Batchelors aren’t finished with their domestic changes just yet. With Bibler’s help they plan to punch up the secondary guest bedroom next, with new paint, furnishings and art.

“You’re always thinking about resale and how the house might look when you sell it for other people, and when we had to move so many times during our careers we had to consider that,” Joanna says. “But ultimately if you want to be happy in your own space you have to approach it remembering that you’re the one living there, so be comfortable and make it your own.”