All Sandy Hankins wanted was a pool.
She got it, for sure. But, as she quickly jokes, she also got a home renovation project run amok – one that meant spending more than nine months living in a construction zone.
But ultimately, the Kendallville woman says, she got the home of her dreams, and one that can easily accommodate the needs of her growing extended family.
Hankins’ home is a light-filled, airy space with the feel of a contemporary Chicago loft – and stunning views through a wall of floor-to-cathedral-ceiling windows of Little Round Lake.
To go with the pool, the exterior now has a relaxing covered outdoor patio area reached from a renovated lower-level living area.
Hankins, 57, says the renovation project started after she had all but decided to move after about 17 years in the home in a quest for a pool. But she found such properties more expensive than she expected.
And, she adds, people would come into this house and say, Wow, what a view! How could you sell this and lose that view?’
Gears started spinning, and Hankins ultimately found Four Seasons Design and Remodeling in Angola. Reggie Johnson, project manager, found lots of extra living space by bumping out part of the rear wall and the front entry, removing walls and moving some key elements of the home, including a stairway to its lower level.
The changes opened up much of the first floor into one big area, and Hankins now calls the galley-style kitchen and an angled breakfast bar her favorite spot in the house.
I can see everything that everybody’s doing, and I like that. And they like it, too, says Hankins, who now has four grandchildren all under the age of 7 living with her as well as her two grown daughters and one daughter’s husband.
But the arrangement works, thanks to a lower level that now houses two bedrooms, a closed-off laundry room and a living area with a sink and spaces for a mini-fridge and microwave, Hankins says.
They can go down there to get away from me, she says with a laugh. But we eat together all the time I do like having the grandkids around. It’s no burden on me at all.
Her master bedroom with its view of the lake, and a small bedroom for her grandsons, open off the main floor’s living area, separated by an existing Jack-and-Jill bath with a skylight created earlier from two separate baths.
Part of a garage became a computer area and mudroom thanks to another wall tear-down, and a new metal roof, vertical vinyl siding and composite deck were installed to keep maintenance costs down.
The remodeled home also features new windows with better insulation values and that don’t leak and hardwood flooring and trim that complements the salvaged rustic hickory cabinets from the home’s previous kitchen.
Johnson says some additional cabinets were custom-made by their original manufacturer, but we tried not to just throw stuff away and buy new ones.
With all the structural changes, Hankins, who is studying to become a hairdresser at Ravenscroft Beauty College in Fort Wayne, says she hasn’t had much chance to decorate.
But she did repaint, changing the white walls in the main living area to a sage green and painting a brick fireplace wall buttercup yellow. She also has made the first floor living space seem more intimate by using area rugs to define smaller areas for TV-watching and conversation and dining.
Ironically, the pool hasn’t opened yet. But Hankins says she’s happy it’s there for herself and the grandchildren and as they grow older. I just love laying around a pool, she says.
And as for undergoing a remodeling marathon, she wouldn’t exactly recommend it.
But we survived, she says. It wasn’t horrific.