A Gathering Home in the Perfect Spot
It may just be the two of them living in their Tyler Lane home, but John and Elaine Zoeller wanted the large amount of space for their 11 grandchildren who visit for dinner every Sunday with their parents. That’s why the couple says they grew out of the home around the corner on Kings Highway that they had lived in for 44 years. So unlike most of the friends their age who were downsizing, they decided to upgrade.
The Zoellers had three objectives to reach in finding a new place: they had to be closer to their children, who mostly live in the neighborhood near Assumption High School; the lot had to offer acreage for the young grandchildren to play; and the home had to be a ranch style that would fit a dining room table for double digit seating.
The Zoellers found two out of three in the two-story New Orleans-style Tyler Lane home, but the third goal was not fulfilled — yet. So, the couple decided to tear down the home to rebuild a four-bedroom, four-bath, 3,600-square-foot one-story abode that would fit their Israeli-designed, Amish-built table for their four children and multiple grandchildren.
The couple, who have been together for 45 years, worked with designer Juliette Perito to create a modern farmhouse look straight out of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ cerebrums. The common areas were to be used the most, with up to 65 people visiting at Christmastime, according to Elaine, so the floorplan had to be an open concept.
The home was meant to be the “party house,” says the couple, but it was also built to last the Zoellers until old age. The builder made sure the house was as wide as possible, and each door is at least 42-inches wide to be wheelchair accessible. A large porch, fire pit alongside natural stone landscaping, and an outdoor kitchen create a perfect entertainment space. “The functionality is superb … beyond the standard,” Juliette says.
A mudroom and laundry room that would fit the whole family is located off the kitchen, with lots of storage for all of the kids. The boys and girls can hang their coats and place their shoes on shelves, all lined up together when they visit on Sundays. Even a “lost and found” cubby was added for the inevitable. A walk-in pantry in the kitchen was actually designed by John, who has a civil engineering background.
Juliette Perito created and designed the Zoeller’s modern farmhouse home.
The Zoeller’s mudroom.
Outdoor living area faces the outdoor kitchen.
The first bedroom is used as Elaine’s office, which has Amish-made furniture, and “a lot of things she loves,” according to John, including a drawing of the couple’s first home. Two of the bedrooms are dedicated to the grandchildren, one for boys and one for girls. The girls’ room is decked out in a unicorn theme with a built-in desk and chest of toys; and the boys’ room also holds a desk and small beds and is adorned in sailboats.
The master bathroom is minimalistic with light tones, a contrast to the dark doors and floors. Through barn doors, one will see the cement-tiled master bath with a built-in dressing table. The custom-built walk-in closet has a detachable ladder so that Elaine can reach her collection of Derby hats.
The master bedroom.
The granddaughters’ room and closet .
The grandsons’ room is undergoing a closet renovation to match what the granddaughters’ have, but in the nautical theme.
Downstairs, the University of Louisville fans added touches of Cardinal Red to the bar and game area, which sit below dark ceilings that have an unfinished look. What perhaps surprises visitors is the theatre room, with three rows of reclined seating and a treadmill for John to workout while watching the 15-foot screen. Reaching into a seemingly-normal bookcase in the entertainment room opens up into a safe room for the family.
John’s woodworking shop has every tool imaginable, which he uses to finish many projects throughout the home. A door leads up the stairs and into a six-car garage for the whole family.
The couple’s three objectives were obtained with this expansive home, but ultimately, their No. 1 goal was simple: “to keep the family together,” says the couple.