Doug and Anne Duell enjoy life in the fast lane. That hasn’t changed in retirement.
Since selling their Evansville Kia dealership to Lou Fusz of Saint Louis, Missouri, and Evansville Hyundai dealership to Barnes Crossing in August 2022, the couple maintain one residence each in the Midwest and the South while traveling for vacations as well as Doug’s competitive racing hobby. But when they want to slow down and relax with friends, they land at their custom home in Newburgh, Indiana’s Victoria Estates.
The Duells’ prior Indiana home base was one level with a gabled roof and walk-out basement in Newburgh’s Seaton Place subdivision off Frame Road.
“I loved our last house, but it didn’t have a view, it wasn’t on a lake. We built the pool on the walk-out basement level, so you didn’t have that to look at out your living room,” Anne says.
Enter Chris Combs. The Victoria Estates resident was selling a neighboring lot — the last one on Shadow Creek Lane overlooking the lake that leads up to Victoria National Golf Club.
The Duells took notice while riding bicycles in Victoria Estates. The wide, pie slice-shaped lot checked many of their boxes, and they provided Combs, owner of CAC Custom Homes, the chance to try a different style of building.
While the Duells enjoy their waterfront house in Bradenton, Florida, it doesn’t leave much room for guests. Presented with the opportunity to construct a custom version of their Florida house back home, they said yes.
Gregg Kissel of Home Design Group, a division of H. G. McCullough Designers, Inc., led the architectural drawings, sketching out a four-bed, three-bath, 7,399-square-foot open floor plan offering unimpeded access to the home’s common areas.
“That was something we really liked about nicer homes we saw in Florida,” Anne says. “We liked the U shape around the pool. We wanted the pool to be level with the main part of the house. When you build on a lake, your house will be two stories or split level. We decided to build a house that didn’t have a walk-out basement, and we kept the pool high. It looks over the lake; we’ve got a beautiful view from there.”
Instead of prominent peaks and gables, the Duells employed a Midwest-born technique. “It’s a modern take on Prairie Style. The ceilings are high, but the roof hugs the ground,” Anne says. “I was looking for a hipped roof instead of a gable roof, and multiple windows like in a Frank Lloyd Wright home.” Instead of sandstone, the Duells opted for gray stone laid by Interstate Stone and a neutral stucco-like finish called DriVit. Kight Home Center provided a black metal roof and black-framed Marvin windows and doors. Construction started in early 2019.
To tie different rooms together, the couple decided on a Lumi white granite from Cabinets & Counters for the kitchen and bathrooms and eschewed the popular waterfall style cascading down the side by installing a lip to retain the look of a traditional slab. The large kitchen island accommodates matching custom cabinets by Kitchen Interiors and bar seating and is illuminated by tape lighting underneath, visually setting it apart from stainless steel appliances from King’s Great Buys.
Also crucial to the home’s flow was flooring. With a pair of large Airedale Terriers named Jax and Calli milling about, the Duells opted for the same kind of durable hickory hardwood their last home sported. With assistance from Kristy Jones at Greer’s Flooring America, “We found a gorgeous floor with different tones — super-dark brown to black seams to lighter hues — so it gave us something to play with. It gave us flexibility,” Anne says.
The great room breathes under a soaring 16-foot ceiling — the rest of the main level displays12-foot ceilings — with custom tray-like features to distinguish the dining room from the living room. Kristin Proctor with Illuminating Expressions toured the house to select the best light fixtures to complement each space. Oversize fixtures that might dwarf a room with a lower ceiling are perfectly proportional next to the Duells’ floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the in-ground swimming pool and lake beyond.
“We wanted a feel of the outside is in and the inside is out,” Anne says.
That design style extends to their choice of decor. Preferring “very simple lines,” Anne says the couple selected items to give their home a rustic, informal look. Once through the attractive custom Jeld-Wen front door, a live edge table from Minnesota and Scandinavian-influenced Restoration Hardware cabinets mix with a Dorian sectional topped with Natuzzi Italian leather.
“We always end up in the living room at night, both of us and the two dogs. The whole great room area is well used,” Anne says.
Just off the great room, the primary bath is dotted with patchwork tile Doug selected from Evansville Tile — “he likes to say, ‘I didn’t design anything in this house, but I did pick out that tile!’” Anne laughs — plumbing fixtures by Ferguson Bath & Kitchen, and two-tone cabinets master- minded by Kitchen Interiors.
Anne, a self-professed “shoe girl,” wanted closet shelving she could adjust so no pair of footwear would be overlooked. Kary Dolbee with Install It All devised a floor-to- ceiling system in which the Duells use a hook to pull down and rearrange storage cubicles.
The primary suite is rounded out with an office attached to the bedroom, with sweeping lake views and immediate access to the pool.
When guests visit, they can retreat to their private suites up stairs flanked by Vintage Iron aluminum railings.
“Because of the dogs, we need an area for guests with two nice bedroom suites and a sitting area. I wanted that railing to close off the space, so I don’t have to put up baby gates,” Anne says. “We talked about cable railing, and Vintage Design had another idea. The aluminum has a very clean line. It was ingenious of them.”
“It’s well thought out,” Doug says. “Everything’s on one level mostly, and the upstairs guests have everything they need.”
Down the stairs, Doug’s “man cave” shows his eclectic range of interests. Originally planned as just a small basement, instead a 3,000-square-foot finished space welcomes guests to a recreation area with a sitting room and TV, bartop, and pool table. Doug — a fitness enthusiast who’s “been to every gym there is and didn’t like any of them,” he quips — installed a two-room workout center with weights, cardio machines, and more professional equipment secured by Scott Gilles of Fitness & Exercise Solutions. Popped on one wall are colorful skateboards, a nod to Doug’s lifelong affinity for the sport. Around the corner, he’s set up his racing and automotive dealership accolades around his racing simulator, which helps him stay sharp from October to April when he’s not racing on the National Hot Rod Association circuit.
Like Doug’s racing command center, the Duells have added little touches of personality. Anne likes color in the bedrooms and opted for her standard choice, a comfortable blue found at Newburgh’s Sherwin Williams. The crystal knobs used in several doorknobs are a tribute to the 1940s home she grew up in.
So many tiny details have combined for a custom home that is truly theirs. The couple moved in January 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was settling in. Without the pressure of entertaining immediately, the Duells took time to feel out their new home.
“Once you get into a space, you think you might have done some little things differently. But there’s nothing I would change,” Anne says.