Interior motives

Tina and Chris Eason’s home renovation
blends traditional and modern elements

Last year while planning a high school graduation party for their twin sons, Gavin and Garrett, Tina and Chris Eason had an epiphany.

The couple had been considering the idea of freshening up their three-level, 2005-built Franklin home with a few renovations and decided to use the upcoming graduation bash as an excuse to move forward with some updates to their domestic surroundings.

“We figured we’d been at the house for 12 years at that point, and we were going to have this gargantuan party with a lot of people and food trucks in June of the following year, so I thought it was the perfect reason to do some nice remodeling in different spots around the house,” Tina says.

Picking a palette

The Easons enlisted Dale Hughes of Franklin-based Dale Hughes Interior Design and embarked on a renovation journey in areas of the home that they felt were somewhat dated, dull or drab.

“The house was very farmhouse-rustic initially, and I told Dale that I wanted to add modern touches,” Tina explains. “I like ultra-modern now, but I also like a lot of different styles, and the idea was to mesh some modern stuff with what we already had.”

Granite counters, updated hardware and fixtures, and textured travertine backsplash tile brought new life to the kitchen, which looks directly onto the central living space within the four-bedroom, six-bathroom home’s open floor plan. Hughes suggested swivel island barstools, as well as updated chairs for the traditional cherry dining room table, in keeping with Tina’s desire for a seamless blending of styles.

“We started by coming up with a color palette, which was shades of gray, and went from there as far as putting together the fabrics, artwork and accessories,” Hughes says. “Tina’s taste is very eclectic, but she realized as we talked that she had a taste for contemporary things, so it was a matter of subtly phasing in some straight-line fixtures, furniture and hardware.”

Carefully chosen furniture and accent pieces in the main living area help to retain the home’s original, rustic-inspired aesthetic, including a wood entertainment center with gridded glass doors and a slab of natural wood that serves as an end table.

Bathing beauty

After the kitchen and living room projects came a complete overhaul of the master bedroom and bath, which now includes a tub and opposing Jack and Jill vanities with additional storage space, courtesy of Greenwood-based Distinctive Kitchen & Bath.

“Contemporary fixtures and subtly sophisticated textures and light colors replaced the traditional look that they had before in the master bathroom,” Hughes says. “We also removed the carpet and put in a vinyl plank floor throughout the master suite. I think vinyl plank is more than a trend. It’s widely successful, and I think it’ll be around for a while because it’s durable and comes in amazing different colors and shades.”

Tina says the success of each phase of the project resulted from Hughes’ ability to incorporate the Easons’ style preferences into his input and recommendations.

The things that stay

“There were some things Dale convinced us not to change, like the original wood flooring on the main level, and then in some places we put all new materials like the master bed and bath, based on Dale’s interpretation of what we wanted. He knew when to make strong suggestions and when not to.”

A few years ago, Tina, who works from home, set up her office station in a space near the home’s front entrance that formerly served as a dining room, which prompted the couple to convert their hearth room into a dining area that sits adjacent to the kitchen.

“I’d say this is a very functional house, especially now that I work from home for our family business,” Tina adds. “When we built, we knew we didn’t want anything over the top. We use every bit of the space in the home.”

This fall the Easons completed a renovation of the former back porch space to include a stacked-stone fireplace and big-screen TV, as well as new windows and flooring.

“We’ve always wanted to enclose the back porch, but there have always been other projects that took priority,” Chris says. “I wanted to just screen it in, but Tina really wanted to make it a four-season room.  The cost difference between a screened-in porch and finished living space is substantial. Now I’m glad that we are making it a year-round living space though.”

In 2011 Tina, a Southern Illinois University grad with a business management degree, and Chris, a Noblesville native and journeyman traffic signal technician with more than two decades of experience, teamed up and founded TC Electric, Inc., with business partner Christian Gustin specializing in the installation and maintenance of traffic signals and highway lighting throughout Indiana. Tina serves as president in charge of operations, while Chris manages all construction and maintenance projects.

Community love

In 2004, the Easons made the move to Johnson County from northside Indy with Gavin, Garrett, now freshmen at Purdue University in West Lafayette, and their youngest son Harris, currently a sophomore at Franklin Community High School. The family rented a house in Bargersville until construction on their house was complete in October of the following year, and Tina says the southside felt like home almost immediately.

“We love it here,” she says, adding that the family spends as much time as possible in the outdoors boating, hunting and fishing. “Now when I have to go to the northside for shopping or for a meeting, by the end of the day I cannot wait to get back to Johnson County. It has that slightly more relaxed, slower-moving pace that fits our personalities. I can’t imagine moving back to the northside at this point.”

Tina says the open space above the home’s garage — formerly referred to by the family as the “dorm,” where the three boys would usually sleep and hang out — is likely the next space she and Chris will renovate with Hughes.

“There are a lot of possibilities with that space, and we built it in such a way that we can put up walls and have two bedrooms,” she says. “When we moved here, we had three little boys, so we used it for them to all have a big space. But that’s the nice thing about a home like this: You can always get creative, repurpose and change things up.”

By Jon Shoulders // Photography by Angela Jackson