After seven years, John and Cindy Ludlum wouldn’t change a thing about the home they designed for a wooded lot, one of the few such properties in the Willow Bend neighborhood in southern Delaware County.
CityScene first profiled the Ludlums and their Bob Webb Group custom home in the May/June 2006 edition of the magazine.
As the pair reflects on the home Bob Webb built after they greatly altered one of the builder’s plans to fit their wishes, much of their attention focuses on the outdoors so readily visible through the many large windows they incorporated into their plan.
Cindy, a middle and high school French teacher in New Albany, waxes fondly about the gardens that have been created, filled mostly with perennial bushes and flowers she has selected so something is in bloom throughout the entire growing season.
On a warm November day, the beauty has turned to fall foliage as Cindy says, “Our gardens are spectacular,” the result of a lot of planning and planting, with an big assist from John who, laughing, says his job is “mulch.”
Turning back to the inside, Cindy’s seated on a stool at the kitchen counter while John’s at table in the dining area, all part of a wide-open great room complex.
In the original Bucknell model plan, windows were shorter, and a fireplace separated them on a rear wall; some rooms were narrower; and there were three bedrooms upstairs in the two-story that has a first-floor master suite. Among the many changes the Ludlums made: a corner rather than mid-wall great room fireplace, an expanded window wall with transom windows, a 12-foot rather than two-story kitchen ceiling, some walls moved to enlarge some living areas and to allow an expanded front porch, the addition of an all-season room with a heat pump rather than a separate furnace for comfort, and two bedrooms with a loft upstairs rather than three bedrooms.
Their favorite part of the home: “This whole area,” John says, with Cindy readily agreeing, referencing the great room and kitchen/dining accommodations. “The outside is just so spectacular” with its large paver patio and furniture in the center of their expansive gardens, she says.
There’s not much hesitation about what they have changed or would change: next to nothing.
One big effort inside the house was the anticipated interior decorating of the dining room that had a table and chairs and a china cabinet.
Cindy used window treatments she made in an upstairs bedroom that doubles as her sewing room. And they had a china cabinet custom-made by Amish Originals in Westerville – a horizontal piece, rather than a vertical one, to allow wall space for pictures, Cindy says.
“There’s nothing like it,” she says.
While the dining room faces the street, other windows face the side or rear. Cindy has no window treatments on any that face the woods or neighbors, though they have added Venetian blinds that are lowered on side windows for privacy, usually in the morning, John says.
Otherwise, they’re pulled up and not readily noticeable in the generous white wood trim around all the windows and throughout the house.
They have an exercise room in the basement. The garage is spacious enough to accommodate the motorcycles they bought – thought the Ludlums admit they have seldom used them.
That’s mostly an effect of the weather, though, John says. Last summer, “It was either hot or rainy,” so the cycles stayed in the garage. The couple enjoyed the gardens through the windows when the weather wouldn’t allow them to go out and work.
An effort to entertain outside, even with a large cooling fan, wasn’t very successful, Cindy explains with a slight scowl.
The Ludlums are empty-nesters. They’re still working, but talking about retirement someday – he’s an Otterbein University professor of communications and leadership studies.
“It has the functionality of a ranch (with the first floor master),” and will be their lifestyle for the immediate future at least, either at work or retired, John says. Extended vacations, especially to the great Northwest, are more immediate matters.
Duane St. Clair is a contributing editor. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.