Evansville Living is several months into its newest Idea Home, and though the previous showcase homes featured new construction, this project, known as the 2010 Evansville Living Downtown Idea Home, is a community effort to revitalize the Washington Avenue Historic District. The once prosperous corridor of the city features large Colonial-style homes, which fell into decay after World War II. Stewart Sebree, director of the southwest field office for Indiana Landmarks, believes longtime neighbors of the 620 Washington Ave. home are “glad to see something happening.”
As the home develops, an interior theme is taking shape, Sebree says: a blending between historical and modern. “The concept is to use as much salvageable material as possible, but we also want to bring the home into the 21st century,” says Sebree. Construction crews are using materials original to the home and harvesting reusable materials from other historic buildings. (A slab of granite, used in the kitchen, was salvaged from the old Press Box building on Main Street recently torn down for the new stadium.) Numerous modern amenities also dot the kitchen, including an island with bar-style seating and an adjacent pantry with counter space.
A contemporary great room includes an original wood panel wall from the home. Doors have been stripped and hung again, and a three-bank window stays true to Colonial Revival style. Recessed lighting on the second floor leads to the master suite with a sitting room, a walk-in closet, and a private bath with a doorless shower and black and white pinwheel tile flooring.
Though neighbors can’t see this interior progress, Sebree says, he’s talked to them about the project. Some have spent decades in the neighborhood and have “social capital,” he says, invested in the area.