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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Downtown Rebirth

While others saw a foreclosed home built into the ground with little natural light, a cracked swimming pool, a basement with a sewer line leak, and the lack of a driveway or garage, Ron and Debbie Faupel gazed at their future home.

The Faupels saw a beautiful location with an Ohio Riverfront view on the corner of 12th and Main streets across from Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Kentucky. The couple, who met as freshmen at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, and were married in 1989, had no intention of building a new house and attempted to add onto the existing structure built in 1935. But after learning of the demands it would take to remodel the home, they had no choice but to build anew.

To stay consistent with the Southern-style of downtown Henderson, Ron and Debbie used architectural plans from Our Town Plans, based in Peachtree City, Georgia, and enlisted the help of John Logan at Logan & Logan Construction to build a two-story classic Southern-style house with a basement. Built in 2013, the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath house is painted creamy yellow with a central-placed large wooden front door surrounded by two-paned windows and dark green shutters on a wraparound front porch and has a pitched roof.

“There is so much happening downtown with the river walk, the new growth, and excitement that we wanted to be apart of revitalizing downtown and all of the improvements. There are great changes happening,” says Ron, who is the owner of Henderson Chevrolet, Buick, GMC located on U.S. Highway 41.

The Faupels relocated to Main Street after living 12 years in Grantwood subdivision behind John James Audubon State Park. Popular for its quiet wooded seclusion and wildlife, the neighborhood felt like home to Grand Rapids, Michigan, native Ron, who picked out the home after moving to Henderson in 2001 from Atlanta. Debbie, who originally is from the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, missed the sounds of bustling activity from other residents.

“Ron had his house and now I have my house,” jokes Debbie. “I moved there for him, and he moved here for me.”

Recently empty nesters, the Faupels have two children Kate, 23, an Indiana University graduate who lives in Milwaukee while working for Kohl’s corporate headquarters, and Nick, 20, who currently is attending Indiana University. Both Kate and Nick attended Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville.

Living in downtown Henderson with close access to the river walk and a central location for many events, the Faupels love hosting and entertaining family and friends at their home. The house also is a meeting place for friends to gather for bicycle rides and runs.

The atmosphere inside the home is what Debbie calls “laidback and casual,” with pieces personal to their family and their travels. Artwork from area artists including Jan Unfried, Nikki Pritchett, and Iris Gentry, among others, adorns several rooms in the house. Marsha Logan of TipTop Design Company, the wife of their builder John, helped Debbie plan the interior design and paint schemes.

“I buy very few things to fill a space,” says Debbie. “I buy things that mean something to me. Just about everything in my house has a story.”

Sitting atop a large hill, guests climb the stone staircase, original to the first home on the property, with a dark green rail if you need to catch your breath. Once on the wooden front porch, push open the large wooden front door to stand in the entryway. A beautiful staircase to the top floor greets you with the dining room on your left and Ron’s office on the right.

The dining room includes furniture from Alles Brothers Furniture Co. in Henderson and antiques given to Ron and Debbie from their families. The room, which has two chandeliers, is painted yellow and white and accented with floral paintings and centerpieces. One of the family’s favorite pieces is in the dining room — a china cabinet with glass doors that Ron’s grandparents purchased in 1929 before the Stock Market crashed.

Across the hall from the dining room is Ron’s office. White pocket doors with glass panes can close off both rooms. The home has two fireplaces, both painted white, including one in Ron’s office and the living room. Above the fireplace in the office is a painting of a wooden path that was the only piece Ron requested from his grandparents’ house. The office has several pieces that pay tribute to Ron and Debbie’s alma mater of Michigan State, decorative bicycles, medals from Ron’s athletic achievements in triathlons, and an aerial photo from the Faupel family farm in Michigan.

Continuing on the first level with floors entirely covered in hardwood, (the exception is the master bedroom), guests enter an open-air great room and kitchen. The Faupels enlisted the help of Square Yard in Henderson for all of the flooring. The great room furniture, clad in light blues and soft browns, was purchased from Lea Matthews in Evansville and The Barefoot Cottage in Newburgh, Indiana. Natural light spills into the room from the multiple windows, all purchased at Windows of Evansville, lining the back of the house. Some of the windows and all of the doorknobs were repurposed from the original house on the property. John handmade all of the doors inside. Another small sitting room is connected to the great room with doors leading to the backyard and the garage.

The kitchen is painted white with Amish-made white and dark wood cabinets, a beautiful light gray granite countertop from Cabinets & Countertops in Newburgh, and a backsplash of light greens, gray, creams, and blues that complement the great room’s designs. A small square tile that reads “Happy Home,” a gift from Debbie’s sister, was incorporated into the backsplash. A large island with dark brown wicker bar stools allow for easy entertaining and preparing of meals.

Off the kitchen is a small kitchen table Debbie received as a 30th birthday present from her parents with white chairs. A small hallway leads from the kitchen to the laundry room, decorated in artwork purchased from beach vacations and an enlarged picture of Debbie’s family vacation in the late 1960s at the Tan-Tar-A Resort on a branch of Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Also on the first floor is a half bath, painted in teal with colorful accents, which leads to the master bedroom and master bath. The master bedroom is carpeted and painted in a sea green with a dark wooden bedframe and a white accent chair. The bedroom also has a large walk-in closet and master bathroom with a granite countertop on each of the vanities and white cabinets. The Faupels purchased all of their appliances, toilets, sinks, fixtures, and a majority of their lighting from Ferguson in Evansville.

A door off the hallway to the master bedroom leads to the finished walk-out basement, which houses Ron’s exercise equipment including a treadmill, bicycles, and weights — one of his only requests for the new house. Another bedroom with two twin beds and an additional bathroom also is in the basement.

On the top floor of the house is the kids’ den, which can serve as an additional bedroom, a screened-in balcony, and two bedrooms and two full bathrooms — resting places for both Kate and Nick when they return home. Kate’s room is painted in a Lilly Pulitzer-inspired pink with greens and whites. Sherwin Williams supplied the paint for the entire home.

The kids’ den, which has two entrances including one from a hallway off the staircase
and one from Kate’s room, has comfortable seating and a large television. This room often is used by Kate and Nick’s friends and has doors to the screened-in porch with a view of the Ohio River. The patio furniture is clad in greens, creams, and browns. Homecrafters Paint and Glass in Henderson completed the screened-in porch, helped with the basement, and provided all of the interior shutters and blinds for the home.

“You spend so much time as a young adult trying to have a grown up house, but we wanted a really casual house,” says Debbie. “Sometimes when people come over for the first time they think it’s going to be a grandiose ‘Where do I sit?’ kind of house. But that’s not who we are. We like to have our friends over and have everyone feel welcome and know we are so happy that you are here.” 

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