Dreams can come true

Couple builds new home at Lake Lemon
By Glenda Winders // Photography by FotoIndy and Maryalice Williams Photography

Chris and Tina Eason were introduced by a mutual friend at a bar on April Fool’s Day and have now been married for 28 years. Tina was raised in Noble, Illinois, and graduated from Southern Illinois University. She moved to Indianapolis after graduation because she wanted to live in a city. Chris, who is from Noblesville, Indiana, went into the military and served in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm.

When they bought two lots near Monroe County’s Lake Lemon, their plan was to build a vacation house where they could come with their boats on the weekends.

“But then I was down here in the fall,” Tina said, “and I looked across the lake. The color of the fall leaves was mesmerizing.”

Tina lobbied to live there full time, and Chris liked the idea of having only one home to maintain. He already commutes to their business in Indianapolis, TC Electric Inc., which handles traffic-signal construction and highway lighting, and much of his time as a traffic-signal technician is spent in cities all over the state, so the commute wasn’t an issue.

They say they loved living in Indianapolis when they were newly married but wanted to live in a smaller town to raise their children. They moved to Franklin and lived there for 16 years.

“We love it here, but we miss Franklin,” Tina said. “We have so many friends there, and it is a good, wholesome little town. I’m so grateful that’s where we chose to raise our family.”

The couple sold their Franklin home where they had raised their children — twins, Garret and Gavin, and their younger brother, Harris — once they were out of high school. While they waited for their new home to be built, the family lived in a rental by the lake.

They selected Johnson County custom-home builder Rick Campbell because their good friend Jeff Snodgrass works with him, and now, the Eason’s say if they ever build again, Campbell is the one they will call.

“He’s honest and upfront,” Chris said. “He has excellent subs and has good relationships with them. And he’s good about coming up with solutions to problems.”

Knowing the couple were living in a rental while they waited for him to finish, he built the 6,194-square-foot house quickly. They broke ground July 4, 2021, put up the framing that October, and the Eason family moved in the following May.

Along the way, Tina said they made several changes — such as flipping the plan so that most of their windows looked over the lake and adding larger garages to accommodate their boats and vehicles. The May move was premature, Tina said, because trim carpenters, electricians and the patio contractors arrived every morning at 6:30 a.m. until August.

The Easons worked with well-known Johnson County interior designer Dale Hughes, but Tina also provided a lot of input. She wanted a modern, coastal look with white walls throughout the house. She liked the play of light through the home’s many windows and the way the artwork that Hughes helped them pick out stood out against the stark white background. She also wanted to show off the floor-to-ceiling tile around the gas fireplace to make it more of a focal point. Despite its elegant appearance, however, the house is casual, inviting and relatively low maintenance.

“This is a lake house,” Tina said.

“We wanted to have space for people to come and enjoy it with us and have a place to stay.”

Because they want to be able to grow older in this house, the Easons decided against a basement and the stairs that it would entail to add it. Instead, they opted for what they call a club room, a comfortable space just off the living room, furnished with leather sofas and a long bar that has become the main-level hangout. The bar is quarter-sawn maple with a black countertop and tile backsplash.

The fireplace in the club room is on the other side of the one in the living room and, like all of the rooms on the first floor, it has a generous view of the lake. Also in this area, there is a pool bath with an exterior entrance and a storage room on the other side of the wall that stores pool chemicals, an icemaker and water toys.

Without a basement, storage could have been an issue, but the house is structured to accommodate in other ways. One closet where the couple had first considered the possibility of installing an elevator is now a convenient catchall for seldom-used serving items, Christmas decorations, etc.

The home’s color scheme is almost completely neutral — white with touches of tan and gray. The flooring throughout the home is a wood-look, luxury vinyl tile with rugs of tan and gray to anchor the furniture. The living room with its white sofas gives way to a small but useful dining room where the simple wood table and luxury chairs sit on a white, tan and gray rug like the rug in the living area. A dramatic black-and-gray art piece echoes the circular, crystal chandelier.

Tina said she spent a lot of time with Distinctive Kitchens of Greenwood to create convenient spaces that fit the family’s lifestyle. Because she isn’t tall, she didn’t want hard-to-reach cupboards. Instead, the home’s quarter-sawn, white, oak cabinets are minimal but have garage-style doors for easy access. Tina keeps plates, cups, glasses and bowls in a block of deep drawers that make up the center island. Countertops are a clean, white quartz.

Just off the kitchen, there is a large walk-in pantry with shelves, drawers and counter space.

“We’re 25 minutes from the grocery store, so we’re able to stock up,” she said.

Tina manages their business from home, so a compact office, also off the kitchen, has space for a built-in desk, shelves and cupboards. Large windows here offer the same spectacular view as other rooms on this level.

Paintings of blue herons that remind the couple of the real ones they often see from their deck adorn the walls of the hallway that leads to the master suite. This spacious room, too, is painted white with the bed arranged on a neutral rug. A dresser and chaise longue complete the furnishings.

While Tina liked the idea of privacy, she didn’t want to obscure the view. She and Hughes solved that problem with remote-control, electric shades that disappear into a trim-white cornice. Framed seashells on both sides create the illusion of drapes.

“I can lie on my bed and watch the sunset with obvious delight,” she said.

The adjoining bathroom consists of a large walk-in shower, a long vanity with drawers and a dramatic tile panel in the shower. This room and all the others are wheelchair accessible.

Their customized, room-size, walk-in closet started with an island of drawers. Tina also wanted glass-covered shoe compartments, glass doors to protect dress clothes and higher rods for Chris’ longer shirts.
The laundry room is another part of the suite, with built-in laundry bins and a closet for cleaning supplies. While the closet sits next to the washer and dryer, it isn’t as deep — another way Tina customized the home so that she can easily find what she needs.

From here, a long hallway with a coat and shoe closet for each of them leads to the garage door, where another block of drawers holds hats and gloves.

The guest room on this floor has a walk-in closet and features of the bathroom include: textured, white tile in the shower and charcoal, stone-like flooring.

With another nod to practicality, Tina chose to carry the shower tile to the baseboards for easy cleaning. Highlights of the powder room are black shades, a black, circular art piece and a night-light under the vanity.

Wooden stairs lead to the second floor, where a lobby area holds a conversational seating group. Each of the boys has a bedroom, and they share two identical bathrooms across the hall to save outer wall space for windows. Another room used for storage now houses a crib, since the couple recently became grandparents for the first time. Eventually, they say this will be a bunkroom for grandchildren. A second laundry room serves the rooms on this floor, and a long closet with lots of shelves houses storage bins and luggage.

Also on this floor, there is a workout room with dramatic, geometric windows and a wood ceiling. Panels along the catwalk leading from one side of the house to the other are glass so the view of the living room below isn’t blocked.

On the lake side of the home, a long patio displays a gas fire pit with built-in seating all around it, a space with picnic table and benches for dining, a pool, hot tub and outdoor kitchen. In the summertime, Tina brightens the area with colorful flower-filled pots.

Now, with the children grown, it’s the couple’s time to enjoy what they created. Chris loves the glassy lake early in the morning and in the evening. Tina enjoys cheering on the Indiana University rowing team as they practice and host events.

“I’ve always wanted a boat, a pool and a Barbie Dream House, and I got all three,” she said.