‘A Place to be Us’

Southside family builds dream house

By Glenda Winders // Photography by Graham Photography

Steve Falls and Rose Kelly-Falls had many reasons for wanting to leave their previous home of 16 years in Waters Edge and build a new one in the Duke Homes neighborhood of Aberdeen. For one, it had three levels, and with their children approaching college age, they wanted something simpler — essential rooms on one level and adequate space for social gatherings.

“It was time to make a change,” Rose said. “With our kids transitioning, we were trying to figure out what life would look like for us.”

With plans to stay in a new home for many years, they had a list of features they wanted to include. In addition to a floor plan without multiple levels, they wanted to make sure they would have sun exposure. Rose wanted a sunroom that was open to the house and had a fireplace.

“Now, it’s a place where we hang out year-round,” she said. “It’s pretty much our room.”

Sliding barn doors close off this area when there is a need. To make the floors warmer and more comfortable, they installed waterproof carpeting.

They also insisted on having an outdoor living space like their previous home. Fortunately, they were able to meet that goal with a screened-in porch that looks out over a forested area in the back. They also added a pool and a poolhouse that has a workshop, storage, one-car parking and a bathroom with a shower. The garage is attached to the main house and has room for four cars and a golf cart garage at the end.

Rose said she and Steve brought most of their furnishings from their previous home and did some of the design work themselves, but they had help putting everything together from Sarah McCarty, Duke’s interior designer and selections coordinator. George Summers, owner of Amplified Technologies, also helped with their audio and visual equipment, and Heather Diers of Pro-Art Gallery and Custom Framing assisted with the artwork.

The entire home is designed on a palette of neutrals — mostly grays and white on the main floor with more brown tones in the finished basement.

“I love the color choices because it’s very bright and open,” Steve said.

Flooring throughout the house is luxury vinyl planking with rugs, primarily in grays, anchoring conversational furniture groupings that are also neutral but with colorful accents. Their sparkle and shine make the décor pop.

In the great room living area, glass lamps sit atop glass and chrome tables. A silver and glass tray holds books and flowers on a tufted ottoman/coffee table. Large windows and glass doors look out onto the screened-in porch and the forest beyond. The fireplace and the TV set mounted above it are flanked with shelving that holds objects d’art — many of them glass and silver, too.

The adjoining kitchen also gleams with white cabinets, white quartz countertops and cabinets with glass doors displaying crystal barware. Twin chandeliers hanging over an island, which easily seats four, are brushed gold, and the drawer pulls reflect that choice. The sink is in the island, and a pot-filler pulls out over the oven range. Appliances like the double-oven range are stainless steel, and a dining nook completes the area — almost.

Behind the main kitchen, there is a second-working kitchen, where the couple make breakfast and lunch with a speed oven. There is a dishwasher but no range, so when they make dinner, they move to a bigger area. The two kitchens together contain massive amounts of storage.

The powder room, with its own glittering chandelier, is also in this part of the house for a good reason.

“In the old house, we had a powder room that was next to the laundry room,” Steve said. “It wasn’t ideal because that’s where the kids would drop their shoes and coats and the cats would be there with their litterboxes. It was a mess trying to keep it straightened up for guests.”

The new laundry room/drop spot/mudroom with space for their two cats, Mingles and Maya, and their dog, a Pomeranian named Daisy, solved that problem. The washer and dryer are steel gray, and a window keeps the room bright.

The dining room is a reincarnation of dining rooms they have had in previous houses, the couple say, calling it “a little bit traditional, a little bit modern and a little bit transitional.” They created an inset on one side of the room so that a large hutch housing more crystal pieces is flush with the rest of the wall. A crystal chandelier is ablaze over the table, which easily seats eight.

The opposite wall contains photos from their trips around the world and shiny, silver decorative pieces. Rose was a part of the Greenwood Arts Council for several years, and her love of art is evident throughout the home in subtle but effective ways.

One hallway niche houses a painting they bought on a cruise, and two more spots await pieces they will collect in the future. On a wall nearby, is a map of the world filled with colored pins indicating where they have traveled separately and together and where they still hope to go.

The spacious master bedroom with its dramatic tray ceiling is on this floor, and the ensuite facilities include double sinks with spacious cabinetry and a shower with Moroccan tilework on one wall and a sculpture gracing a corner. The master closet, the size of a full room, contains lots of hanging space, shelves, a wall of shoe racks and a bank of drawers that form an island in the middle.

Every bedroom in the house has its own closet and bathroom, including the second master, which is also on this floor. In master bedroom No. 2, as with all of the other bedrooms, the light-loving couple chose minimal window coverings with disappearing roll shades that are operated by remote control and are on a timer so that they open each morning and lower in the evening. The bathroom has a tile piece on one wall of the walk-in shower that is a striking, iridescent blue.

The house is 6,400 square feet. Some 3,200 are upstairs, and a lighted staircase leads to the other 3,200 square feet below. It is difficult to call this space a “basement” since it is as carefully thought-out and designed as the main floor. More browns join the grays in the décor here, and a multipiece sofa arrangement allows for comfortable movie-watching or conversation in the living area. Paintings by a graffiti artist brighten the walls.

This level also has its own full kitchen with a bar that seats four and a dining area with egress windows that provide light. Next to it is a room that accommodates what Rose laughingly says is the reason they built the house — a golf simulator for Steve.

“That’s not the reason,” he teased back, “but as long as we were building a new house it was one of the features I wanted to include, a place where I could play indoors.”

The multisport device also allows their soccer-playing daughter, Eleanor, to practice with her friends, and when son, Rob, isn’t playing golf with his dad, he can try other sports. The rest of the room is decorated with sporting attire — Rob’s uniform from playing on the Center Grove golf team and an Indianapolis Colts’ jersey.

Steve said he spends much of his time down here because his office is also on the same level. The white desk and bookshelves are from IKEA, and a Murphy bed, housed in an attractive white cabinet, provides accommodation for any additional guests.

The couple decided to put their children’s bedrooms here since Rob is already a pharmacy student at Purdue University, and Eleanor, now a freshman at Center Grove High School, will be moving out in a few years, too. But they let the kids design rooms for themselves, so they will always want to come back.

The Jack-and-Jill bathroom the siblings shared in their previous house was hard to manage when they became teenagers, so now Eleanor has her own bathroom with a geometric, gray-tile art wall in her shower. Both large baths have a great deal of storage space, but Rob’s has a darker, more masculine feel than his sister’s, as does his bedroom.

For Rose, moving to Greenwood was a homecoming of sorts. She grew up north of West Lafayette and graduated from Butler University before pursuing a master’s degree from Purdue. She has spent her entire career in supply chain and procurement and operations management, mostly in the automotive and pharmaceutical arenas.

Steve was born and raised in Connecticut and has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Wooster Polytechnic in Massachusetts. He has spent his career working primarily in turbo machinery and automatic transmissions.

The pair met in 2000, when they were working on the same project at the Ford Motor Co. in Michigan and married at the Henry Ford Estate in 2002. Eventually, they decided to leave Michigan and after looking at jobs all over the country, they accepted positions with Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis.

“Migrating back to Indiana wasn’t our plan,” Rose said. “It just happened by circumstance, but it worked out. It was meant to be.”

Steve is still at Rolls-Royce, but Rose is taking a break. She needed time to deal with the deaths of both of her parents in 2020, her son leaving for college, building this house and remodeling their second home in Florida. With all of that behind her, she says she is eager to get back to work. Meanwhile, she and Steve enjoy the home they seem to have gotten exactly right.

“We wanted to have a place we felt comfortable entertaining in,” Rose said. “But it is also a place where we can just be us.”