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Friday, June 14, 2024

Treetop Trendy

The wild outdoors of McCutchanville offer a bounty of space for playing around with home construction, and many residents have used the available acreage to their advantage. From charming cottages and grand manors to eye-popping estates, no two homes look the same in the rolling hills north of Evansville.

Tucked in a valley down a long driveway, a 5,500-square-foot home fits that bill. Built in 2019 and fashioned with brick, stone, and neutral colors into a traditional style, the home blends well into the surrounding landscape. Inside, strategic elements are lined up to evoke the feeling of an upscale, cozy lodge that would welcome residents and visitors alike.

“There’s no wasted space. That was a strategic part of our planning,” say the homeowners, business professionals who moved to Evansville in 2018. “We wanted places we would actually use.”

Although they had lived in several previous residences outside the Tri-State, this home was the owners’ first build. Seeking a guide to help them navigate the intricacies of home design, they turned to Evansville resident Marjorie Bergen. An interior designer since 1994, she specializes in residential interiors and was referred to the homeowners by a friend who had collaborated with Bergen on a home build a few years prior.

“We worked together to choose everything from the exterior brick, stone, shake, and roofing to the interior millwork, the lighting, the flooring, and furniture,” Bergen says. “Every piece of their interior is the result of a conscious choice.”

The property sits on 14 acres that were originally part of the neighbor’s 20 acres. Surrounded by old-growth trees and chic, no-mow fescue grass interspersed with native plants, the home was designed to bring the outdoors in.

“We wanted to maximize the view,” say the homeowners, so they lined the back yard exterior walls with windows to cascade light onto the open concept living room’s exposed beams and natural stone fireplace. They purchased delicate, stenciled bird decals found on Etsy and perched them atop door frames, bookcases, and window ledges.

“We wanted to make it feel like you’re in a treehouse,” they say.

Braided rugs lining the living room hardwood meet luxurious, stain-resistant Crypton fabric on the custom-ordered sectional. The homeowners can curl up in front of the fire or challenge guests to a game of checkers on a cocktail table featuring a built-in game board.

“The cocktail table’s four bench seats are a great addition to the room because they can hide away when not in use but provide excellent additional seating when needed,” Bergen says. 

“We wanted a living room where you can sit down and kick your feet up and relax,” the homeowners add.

And by “kick your feet up,” they mean that literally. The solid cherry dining table with dovetailing was crafted by Darrin Kalb, owner of Kempf Custom Cabinets in Evansville, to include a footrest.

“The owner likes to rest her feet on a ledge, so she and I decided to add a stretcher under the table for that purpose,” Bergen says. “We took the time to have her sit in a variety of comfortable positions to determine exactly how high the stretcher should be off the floor.”

The home’s earthen colors and aesthetic are brightened by brassy-gold accents, which add a touch of elegance to mirrors, tables, hangers, light fixtures, and hardware. Still thinking strategically, the homeowners placed emphasis on accents that could change the tone of a room and give it pops of color.

“We like a blank canvas,” the homeowners say. “In five years, if we’re tired of the blue pillows on the couch, we can switch it out without redesigning everything.”

The homeowners and Bergen planned each room down to the last detail. The walk-in master wardrobe is motion lit and has a fold-out ironing board, while a nearby wall of drawers and cupboards keeps clothes neatly packed out of sight. The master bedroom has retractable blackout shades that operate on a remote control. The spacious master bathroom boasts heated floors, skirting the jarring sensation of transitioning from a hot shower onto cold tile.

The home’s custom design work is most evident in the expansive kitchen. Fans of cooking, the homeowners wanted all necessary supplies to be strategically positioned where they would instinctively reach. Every detail, down to the backlit Amish cabinetry and custom drawers, was planned by Bergen and the owners.

“We took the time to break down how the homeowner likes to function in her kitchen, and we designed it to be intuitive, so everything is exactly where you would expect it to be,” Bergen says.

“In our other house, there were always things that would drive us crazy — hauling the groceries halfway across the house, beating up the walls with cabinet doors,” the owners add. “We don’t have that here. Marjorie thought of things we didn’t think of. It’s been money well, well spent.”

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