Newlyweds build new home on middle ground with space for the whole family
By Glenda Winders // Photography by Angela Jackson
When newlyweds Andrew and Jamie Kendall became a couple, they faced a dilemma of combining two small households into one large one. Their solution was to build a spacious, new home with room for everyone — two parents, five children, three dogs and three cats.
Andrew, a graduate of the University of Evansville, lived in Plainfield for his work as a health care administrator. Jamie, a graduate of Center Grove High School and Indiana University, worked as a tax credit syndicator and lived in the Franklin Township.
So they decided to build a home in Greenwood’s Kensington Grove neighborhood. “This was the middle ground where we could bring our family together,” Andrew said.
The couple met in 2019, on the Bumble dating site, and they “just really clicked,” Andrew said.
They soon discovered they had many common interests — dogs, sports and travel — and eventually they decided to make their relationship permanent. That’s when the idea of building a new home came up. “We searched the different options and websites and finally decided on Duke Homes in Bargersville,” Andrew said. “We really liked the work they did, and their houses had so many special features and buildouts and so much attention to detail.”
They also liked that they had control over what went into their new home.
“Jamie had built before where they had some semi-decision-making,”
Andrew said. “But everything you see, we picked out. We went down the list of people they gave us to meet with and looked at all the options. It was fun. There were things I felt strongly about and things she felt strongly about, but it wasn’t that hard. We were able to put it together quite easily.”
Construction took 11 months. It was mid-May of 2023 when the family moved in, and Andrew and Jamie married on June 10.
“We didn’t have much of a cushion,” Jamie said. “But we made it.”
The Kendalls have been told they live on what is the highest point in Johnson County. This means they have 360-degree views that take in morning sunrises and evening sunsets. The original plans called for the living area’s ceiling to be lower to accommodate a recreation room on the second floor, but the couple chose to move that room to an area that would have been wasted over the garage. That made it possible to have a wall of huge windows to let in tons of light and provided for a wonderful view.
They had many other decisions to make, too.
“We started with the floor and worked from that,” Jamie said. “Once we picked the gray LVP (luxury vinyl planking), we knew we wanted to have a blue-and-gray color scheme.”
One of the most remarkable qualities of this home is that every single item fits in perfectly. The couple had the luxury of starting over completely, so except for a blue painting that Andrew already owned, they bought all new furnishings. Each item is a part of the greater whole determined by the powder blue paint and gray flooring throughout.
Charcoal gray stone surrounds the fireplace in the living part of the great room, and white molding, like that used around the doorways, serves as a mantel. This focal point is flanked on both sides with white cabinets and shelves to hold family photos and treasured items. A pale-gray area rug, blue-gray and white sofas and glass-and-chrome side tables with blue accessories complete the look.
The kitchen area continues the color scheme with no disruption. The island and cabinets are Amish-made, as are all the cabinets throughout the house. The Kendalls traveled to Loogootee to meet with the carpenter and talk over what they wanted. They decided to use white wood with brushed nickel pulls and fixtures. The upper cabinet doors are partially glass to display special pieces. Appliances are stainless steel, as is the range hood and the backsplash is charcoal gray subway tile.
While there is a lot of white granite countertop and storage space galore, the range against one wall and sink in the island were purposely positioned close to one another for cooking ease. On each side of the range is a pullout spice drawer, but only one is filled with spices. The clever couple filled the other drawer with kitchen implements so that whisks, spatulas and spoons are always at their fingertips.
“We cook a lot,” Andrew said, “so I love having these two things right here.”
Above the island, which easily seats four, oversized mercury-glass pendant lights lend drama and interest to the room.
“When we saw these lights in a catalog, they looked much smaller and we expected them to be much smaller,” Andrew said. “We weren’t sure about them at all, but they have really grown on us.”
Numerous can lights provide additional illumination. Other features in the kitchen include double ovens and a cupboard door that swings up to reveal the microwave.
Several spots adjacent to the kitchen help this busy family function easily in their home. One is a walk-in pantry with its own window. A family of seven, Andrew commented, buys a lot of food.
Another, is Jamie’s office. While some kitchen layouts provide for a lower counter for making grocery lists and paying bills, their kitchen has its own tiny, efficient room with a door Jamie can close when she needs to. A white counter runs along all of one wall, providing adequate workspace and room for a computer. Charcoal cabinets overhead provide wine storage. Andrew, who works mostly from home, has a larger office with desk and bookshelves also on this floor.
A short hallway leads from the kitchen to the garage. An alcove provides space for each child to have his or her own locker and coat peg, and there’s also a counter that serves as a catchall for car keys and mail. Here, too, is a powder room.
Across the kitchen, there is a good-size dining space. From there, a door leads to a spacious deck, made of Trex composite decking, which looks like wood but doesn’t have to be painted or stained and won’t deteriorate. A dining set extends the possibilities for entertaining.
Located in the kitchen area, is the “smart-home” control center. With apps on their phones, the Kendalls can open the garage door, monitor the cameras and alarms that secure their property and more. In fact, when Jamie’s mother came to stay with the children while the newlyweds honeymooned, Andrew and Jamie used their phones while in Greece to let Mom into the garage.
The commodious master suite finishes out the first floor. A large window looks out over the neighborhood, and a recessed ceiling customizes the bedroom. Andrew and Jamie each have a walk-in closet with built-in racks and drawers as well as a window. Between them, is one of two laundry rooms in the house. The children have their own laundry room upstairs.
According to Andrew, the couple wanted to create a spa feeling in their bathroom. To that end they included a shower with both standard and rain heads and pebbled flooring. The tile is charcoal with white accents on the shampoo niche and foot ledge. A soaking tub beneath a window, double sinks with charcoal cabinets and vanity with a lighted mirror finish the getaway.
The stair treads on the way to the second floor are the same gray planks, and the couple had planned to paint the newel post and railing to match. When that didn’t workout, they opted for charcoal paint, which ended up matching the metal spindles.
The second floor is completely carpeted and cozy. The children have their own bedrooms, each with a walk-in closet. Luke, the only boy and also the youngest, who probably will be living at home for the longest time, has a private bathroom, while the four girls — Chloe, Taylor, Aubrey and Reese — share two, larger charcoal-and-white bathrooms in the hallway. The massive amounts of storage space continue upstairs with three linen closets.
They decided to use the expanse over the garage for a recreation room. It contains a comfortable sectional sofa for television viewing, along with a foosball table, shelves filled with games and a craft table. It has its own big window, too.
Including the finished walkout basement, the family has 7,500 square feet of living space. Outside, there is a large pool and a patio area for relaxing or dining with stairs leading to the upstairs deck.
“We knew we wanted a walk-out basement,” Andrew said. “But we never imagined how beautiful this was going to be. We love hosting pool parties, and that will be our fall and winter hangout for watching football — our family spot for when it gets cold.”