Showing their true colors

Magical touches enliven family’s Bargersville home
By Jon Shoulders // Photography by Angela Jackson

When Roger and Catherine Brunette began the process of redesigning their 2007-built home a few years ago, they couldn’t quite put into words what sort of visual aesthetic they had in mind. They weren’t going for an ultra-contemporary design, nor were they shooting for an exclusively traditional or rustic feel. Soon a simple realization struck the couple, which ultimately inspired their design journey.

Who needs labels?

“People ask if we like traditional and we say no, and then they’ll ask if we like contemporary and we say no. I guess it’s somewhere in the middle,” Catherine says. “We just took it room by room and went with ideas that inspired us. There’s no sense getting boxed in by a certain style if you have your own preferences depending on the setting.”

The result is a seamless incorporation of both modern and traditional elements, with some carefully chosen artwork and accent pieces that add a personal touch to the seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom residence.

In 2016, three years after purchasing the home, the Brunettes sought out Susie Bibler, owner and main design force of Indy’s Home ReVisions, for some assistance with fresh color choices, furniture styles and input on the home’s overall design layout.

“When we first moved in, we worked with a different designer and just weren’t meshing style-wise,” Catherine recalls. “I think it’s important to find someone that can see your vision and help you realize it. Susie’s great at finding the things that you want and making suggestions when you’re not sure which way to go for a color or furniture piece.”

The main thrust of the project involved revamping and revitalizing color schemes, fixtures and furnishings for most rooms, including the master suite, great room, basement and living area adjacent to the kitchen.

“The people who lived here before were fans of deeper tones, so the house was styled with dark browns, dark reds, mustards and tones like that,” explains Catherine, a Northern Ireland native who relocated to the southside of Indy in 2004 to attend IU and eventually IUPUI to study counseling psychology. “So one of our first things was to lighten it up. I like things light and bright, and I really like blue, which is not hard to tell if you walk through the house.”

A relaxing range of blue tones permeates the living room that sits adjacent to the kitchen, complete with a built-in TV, fireplace and plenty of natural sunlight. Distressed, dark wood flooring provides a stylistic contrast to lighter hues throughout the home’s main level.

“Having the living room off the kitchen is nice because when our little man gets home from school, I can be in the kitchen making dinner and keeping an eye out while he’s playing,” Catherine says of their 7-year-old son, Benjamin. “It’s where we usually spend our time as a family. There are usually about 14 Lego stations and paper airplanes around there.”

Bibler incorporated a new rug, draperies and accessories to complement the existing table and wooden accent furniture pieces in the great room, which includes a piano on which Benjamin is beginning to learn the basics and, like several areas of the home, artwork inspired by Disney.

“We’re all huge Disney fans, and I think letting that show in various areas gives the house a bit of our personality,” Catherine says, adding that several paintings by Howard Ross, who hails from her native Ireland, also liven up the main level.

Not unlike the great room, the Brunettes’ design challenge for the master bedroom involved bringing in accessories and a color palette that would breathe new life into the space yet fit in seamlessly with the existing set of furniture and chairs. Bibler started with new curtains and lamps, then suggested going bold with a dark hue for the tiered ceiling and exchanging the traditional ceiling fan for a decorative-yet-understated light fixture.

The basement level provides ample space for entertaining friends and family, with a big screen TV and sectional sofa for movie nights, a playroom for Benjamin, a full bar area with countertop seating, as well as artwork inspired by classic animated films such as “Fantasia,” “Toy Story” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

“The family that lived here before us was bigger, and we took some of the bedrooms and turned them to our purposes,” Roger says. “One bedroom we made into a kind of school room, and then in the basement we transformed a part of that into a golf room. We figured why not have fun and use some of the space for what we love?”

Roger has a few plans to further enhance the golf area, which includes a putting green and a screen that tracks actual golf shot distances upon ball impact.

“I love practicing my swing in that room, and our son loves it in there too, which we didn’t expect,” he says. “I tailored the putting area to look like the 16th hole at Firestone (golf course in Akron, Ohio), which they call “the monster,” and my plan is to get pictures of it so we can put them up in here to see the trees, clubhouse and everything.”

Back in 1985 Roger, a Michigan native, relocated to the southside along with his family business, BCC Products, which is now based in Franklin and makes polymers used by parts manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive and other industries. He and Catherine were married in 2005 in Hawaii, one year after they met in Greenwood. Although they still enjoy traveling — they take

Benjamin to Disney World as often as their schedules allow —  they feel the southside is an ideal family-friendly spot to come home to.

“It’s a little more relaxed and welcoming down here than other areas in and outside of Indianapolis,” Catherine says. “The southside is getting built up more and more, but to me it still feels like a countryside versus city living. It fits us nicely that way.”