With five sons in their brood, no one would blame Paul and Sarah Lushin for wanting to get away from the hectic demands of family life.
In designing their Carmel home, however, the couple took more of an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude, incorporating features that not only would cater to their boys, but also encourage neighborhood friends to congregate.
“In raising the first three, we found that they were always at other people’s houses. We decided we would rather be that other house,” said Paul Lushin, founder and owner of Castleton-based Lushin & Associates, the largest sales training firm in the state.
The result of their 18-month building project, completed five years ago, is a family-oriented retreat for grown-ups and kids alike. At 10,000 square feet, the sprawling French Country residence offers plenty of space for recreation and entertaining. It also serves as home base for the family’s quarter midget racing team.
Living full time in the house with the couple are their two youngest sons, 10-year-old Bennett and 9-year-old Addison. Paul’s grown sons range in age from 24 to 29. The eldest, Elliott, is a fighter pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps, while Whitney, 26, works with Paul at Lushin & Associates. Spenser, 24, runs the Lushin Racing team.
Forty weekends a year, the team is on the road with six cars or headed to local races. In 2011, Bennett collected a trophy for the Senior Honda Championship, and has accumulated plenty of other hardware that is quickly overtaking his bedroom and other parts of the house.
Owning 3-1/2 acres in the Valleybrook subdivision near 136th Street and Gray Road gave the Lushins plenty of options for accommodating their hobbies. On their wish list was a dedicated space to store and work on the cars between weekend races. A stand-alone garage situated just across the driveway from the attached garage serves that purpose, while a smaller piece of land the Lushins own across the street gives them an unobtrusive spot to keep the trailer that hauls the racing gear.
The property as a whole presented opportunities and challenges for the Lushins and their builder, Carl McIntyre of McCordsville-based Carrington Homes.
“That lot was pretty unique. They wanted a big piece of property but wanted to be in a neighborhood atmosphere for the boys,” McIntyre said. A landscape architect was enlisted to flatten the backyard and allow for a walk-out basement and dramatic three-story view of the house from the back.
In the summer months, the Lushin backyard transforms into a playground for all ages. A two-story treehouse, complete with a fire pole and lookout post, is home base for the kids, while everyone enjoys the swimming pool, miniature putting green and outdoor sound system. Every year, the family hosts 300 guests for what it calls the Lushin Summer Bash, making good use of the two outdoor fireplaces, pergola and fire pit.
The home’s interior offers plenty to do when the weather cools. Kids can choose from two areas in the basement to hang out, with one television set up for gaming and another for movies. Adjacent to the basement is perhaps the greatest mecca for the Lushin boys and their friends–a regulation half-court basketball court decked out in the colors of Sarah’s alma mater, Virginia Tech University.
The court is situated beneath the attached garage, requiring special reinforcements and insulation for stability and temperature control. The basement also features a small indoor kitchen that opens directly to the backyard and a concrete-encased storm shelter for emergencies.
All in all, the home is a massive undertaking for the busy couple, who take pride in maintaining nearly all of it themselves. Paul sees to much of the day-to-day grounds maintenance, while stay-at-home mom Sarah handles all of the housecleaning while also remaining active in her children’s’ Parent Teacher Organization.
The house isn’t perfect, but it suits them perfectly, Sarah says. “It’s a well-loved home, as far as dings and nicks. The compliment we get the most is that it is very inviting, warm and comfortable.” While her husband hails from Kokomo and has stayed close to his roots, Sarah grew up on the East Coast and never imagined herself as a Midwesterner. The two knew each other for several years as family friends and were married in 1998.
“Now,” she says, “I wouldn’t consider raising my family anywhere else.”•