Oh, the 1980s.
When it comes to home design, can anything good come from the decade that brought us mauve carpet and turquoise leather couches, brass-and-glass chandeliers and metallic-foil wallpaper?
Larry and Carol Adelman’s home in the Sycamore Hills addition is evidence that design in the ’80s can be aesthetically pleasing – even though sometimes it can benefit from a bit of updating.
The couple’s sprawling 3,200-square-foot bi-level contemporary was built as one of 1988’s Street of Dreams homes, a showcase sponsored by the Fort Wayne Home Builders Association.
The home’s designer was Rich Hersha of Fort Wayne, and, the Adelmans say, when it comes to having good bones and a great location, their house is hard to beat.
“It has so many unique features,” Carol Adelman says. “I think (Hersha) was way ahead of his time.”
Hersha, Carol says, had an environmentally sensitive spirit, and, following in the footsteps of Frank Lloyd Wright, united the indoors with the outdoors.
The house has big, golf-course-facing windows in its family room and bedrooms. Two bedrooms have direct access to outdoor garden patio nooks, and the master suite leads to a screened-in dining porch perfect for summer evenings and just off the 15th tee.
“It’s my favorite room,” Carol says.
A cupola-like skylight illuminates an upper-level loft and spills light into the center of the house, while a living/dining area in the front of the house is backed by stacked floor-to-ceiling windows.
Hersha also used natural materials throughout, strikingly in the family room’s fireplace. It’s set into a corner of a full wall of curving stone that reaches to the cathedral ceiling, which is lined with pickled-oak beams anchored by pillars.
Hersha also seemed to have a sixth sense for upcoming lifestyle trends, the Adelmans say.
The open-concept floor plan places the kitchen in the center of the house, separated from the family room with only a curved wood-sided and wood-topped island.
There’s also a split floor plan for the bedrooms: the master suite, with a huge walk-in closet and bath, on one side and the additional two on the other side.
Before the Adelmans bought the house in 2012, they’d admired it for some time, having previously lived next door and socialized with the then-owners.
But, when the couple was looking to downsize from that 6,400-square-foot home after their three children left the nest, “This house wasn’t in our plans,” Larry says. “We had actually started the process to build.”
But, one day, Carol saw that the listing Realtor had scheduled an open house, and she stopped by on a whim. She says she fell in love.
“The possibilities of this house were just too good,” she says.
Not that the home didn’t need some updating, particularly in the baths. The master suite had “a lot of celery green,” she says. The walls are now a more neutral golden wheat with complementary flooring, a walk-in shower, separate toilet closet and a streamlined, free-standing soaking tub under a skylight.
A massive, built-in corner dresser went from the master suite to the loft, which now serves as a home office for Larry, 62, a partner in Deister Concentrator LLC, Fort Wayne.
The couple replaced carpeting and repainted some woodwork and the living room’s freestanding fireplace surround. They repainted kitchen cabinets to off-white and topped them with a chocolate-colored glaze to add texture and depth.
The pegged floor and a countertop were stained darker, and a mosaic glass tile backsplash, laid vertically to accommodate curves in the wall, was added.
But the couple left the light woodwork beams and columns in the family room, because “they seemed to cry out not to be touched,” Carol says.
They also left a wooden built-in wine rack in the kitchen – “You don’t see very many of them,” Larry says – and a built-in desk area with roll-top cabinets off the kitchen.
The area serves as an office for Carol, 62, a retired sales and marketing staff member for Northill Development Corp., the developer of Sycamore Hills.
They added a new leather sofa to the family room and put a concrete table on the dining porch. Another unusual touch in another dining area off the kitchen – a chandelier made from elk antlers – reminds them of their second home in Montana, even though they didn’t add the fixture.
“It came with the house,” Carol says.
The Adelmans say one thing they especially like about their home is how it has settled nicely into its natural setting among the greenery. After all, Larry points out, when the house was built 25 years ago, the golf course’s now-mature trees were mere saplings.
Living on the golf course, he says, has its perks – he and Carol are Sycamore Hills members and have a short stroll to recreational pursuits.
They also enjoy volunteering for the club’s events, including the recent inaugural Hotel Fitness golf championship, during which they hosted one of the pros, Darron Stiles, in their home.
“He just loved it here. He liked to get up in the morning and just walk out onto the course,” Carol says.
“We’re just really proud to own this home,” she adds, “and love living here.”