Home Tour: One Designer’s Clever Remodel

Obsessed with functionality, iinterior designer and artist Lynn Andalman devised brilliant ways to transform an outdated home into a serene country retreat.

A gut renovation of a 1980 contemporary house spanning 7,500 square feet and boasting unusual angled rooflines would scare away most homebuyers faster than a pack of guard dogs. But it takes more than a 15-person indoor hot tub to intimidate interior designer and artist Lynn Andalman, who took on the challenge of updating the far-southside house (complete with that Holidome-style sunken tub) for her and her husband Greg’s blended family of six. All that space meant plenty of  opportunities for Andalman to unleash her creative problem-solving.

The home’s peaceful setting sold the couple on the daring, 18-month project. “I have to have trees,” Andalman says, “and Greg always wanted a barn bigger than a house.” (The onsite barn isn’t that large, but it would do.) With a one-acre spring-fed lake reflecting tall woods laced with trails, the property feels like a miniature state park. The water came stocked with bass, bluegill, and sunfish. “The wildlife is incredible,” Andalman says. “We have deer, rabbits, raccoons, mallards, those big green herons. We have wood ducks, which mate in the trees. I never knew that.”

Inside, the space wasn’t nearly as perfect. For one, the couple didn’t think they would use that party-size hot tub, so they took it out and turned the atrium into a sun-drenched space for entertaining. Andalman also improved the views of the lush landscape by reconfiguring windows. Mostly, though, she was guided by the couple’s lifestyle. “I can’t do frivolous design,” she says. Real life begot smart, efficient solutions—things only an interior designer would think of.


^ Family Front  One of Andalman’s sons is a sculptor and ceramic artist, taking after his mom, who has a painting studio in the Stutz building. He created the yard installation using bags of concrete mix as molds for the material. The clever composition foreshadows more ingenuity inside the house.


0715_LAKEJUMP^ Leap of Faith The rural southside property’s natural beauty and private spring-fed lake sold designer Lynn Andalman and her husband, Greg, on a massive renovation project. The family can swim, paddleboat, canoe, and fish in this backyard oasis.


0715_LIVINGROOM^ Higher Standard The wide-open living space appealed to Andalman, but the room’s original sunken design didn’t, for safety reasons. The steps would be dangerous when the couple got older, and in the meantime, the home’s foyer isn’t big enough to ensure guests wouldn’t trip down the stairs that led into the room. Creating a level space meant raising the floor 18 inches, which pushed up the glass between the living room and the atrium (now minus the giant hot tub). Luckily, the angled upper windows just fit under the roofline.


0715_DININGROOM^ Point of View The dining room (above) and kitchen (below) sit side-by-side behind the living room, but originally their placement was reversed. When Andalman found the house, kitchen cabinets and counters consumed the back wall. She replaced them with glass and added one of her must-haves: awning windows by the floor that crank open from the bottom, which allows fresh air in even when it’s raining. The designer also specified a built-in buffet and a door to the balcony. The grill sits right outside, convenient for transferring food straight to the buffet’s warming drawers. Andalman wanted to make a driftwood table base, so she and Greg went canoeing and noted the GPS coordinates of usable branches, planning to drive back to those locations—but they eventually just commissioned this piece from an artist.


0715_KITCHEN^ Flip Side  In what was the dining room, Andalman and Rob Klein of Conceptual Kitchens devised an open layout with Neff cabinetry, two types of marble for contrast, and a slim island with integrated seating, as well as an added skylight. The island’s sink seems standard, but it is positioned so Andalman can stand on either side of it—to look outdoors when she wishes, or to face the living room and watch TV or feel like part of the conversation when company is over. The touchless Brizo faucet has a motion sensor. The November Sky suede granite Andalman wanted is prone to chipping during installation, and two companies told her they wouldn’t touch it. “I don’t like the word ‘no.’ So I’ll always find a way to get it done,” she says. Indeed, she located a contractor who filled any small chips with resin.


Andalman Home Metal Table^ Split Decision Local metalsmith Lars Jonker fashioned a custom dining table for everyday dinners. The round end is a leaf (1) that doubles as a wall-mounted table when it’s detached (2), a purposeful way to store this typically unwieldy appendage. Without the leaf, the triangular table (3) rests against the window, giving Andalman and her husband a pretty view over dinner. If their adult kids are home, the table wheels out, and the leaf creates enough space for everyone. “Otherwise, four people are sitting around a huge dining-room table, and it doesn’t feel right,” she says.


Andalman Home Kitchen Prep^ Social Function Andalman has a few tricks for managing party clean-up. When the couple entertain, they slide dirty dishes through the opening and place them out of sight in the pantry and prep area (1), which is faced with stones from the property that were cut flat to create a veneer. It’s easy to put away dishes from the pantry’s dishwasher because the upper cabinets open on both sides. The hidden area also lends itself to efficient open shelving for groceries (2). But the most ingenious touch is a small door (3) over the counter that opens to the garage on the other side of the wall—acting as a grocery pass-through. No more schlepping armloads of bags through the house. “Everyone thought I was nuts,” Andalman says. “Now Greg uses it all the time.”


0715_MASTERBEDROOM^ Wonder Wall To create a headboard in the master bedroom, Andalman cut Nerf soccer balls in half and asked Outre in the Indiana Design Center to upholster them in a faux komodo-dragon texture. The bottom row forms a cushioned backrest.


Andalman Home Master Bath^ Revealing Details One of the coolest trade secrets in Andalman’s house is a magnetic material that turns the master bath’s opaque windows clear (1) with the flip of a switch. The design feature, which requires special windows, allowed Andalman to place the soaking tub in an exposed area yet still be able to enjoy the landscape. To install the same treatment in a door from the bathroom to a wraparound porch, the designer had to find an electrified hinge—a complication that might have stymied a DIY homeowner. Like a pro, Andalman sourced one easily through the window-maker’s representative. The wood cabinet behind the bathtub hides a hydraulic mirror (2) that rises when it’s needed but otherwise doesn’t obscure the view from the sink. Andalman commissioned metalsmith Jonker to create the vanity of her dreams. The top drawer on each side swings out—one with her husband’s toiletries, the other with her makeup (3). Another drawer contains electrical outlets, so Andalman stores her blowdryer (4) plugged in and ready to use.


0715_GUESTBATHROOM^ Floor Plan Interior designers are the first to learn about cool new products on the market, and Andalman used one of her trade secrets—glow-in-the-dark grout—in the guest bath (far left). The product helps with way-finding in the middle of the night. “It looks like the moon is shining down on the tile,” Andalman says of the effect. The milky-green countertop is a resin material.


0715_DOGBATH^ Pet Project Andalman (pictured) elevated a shower in the garage (and added steps on the side) so she doesn’t have to hunch over to bathe her dog. The limestone tile came from the interior makeover.