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Home & Garden

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Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Jerry and Carolyn Rodman’s home outside Angola changed with the addition of an expanded master bathroom.
who lives there?

Ready for retirement

Couple in 70s redo ’70s home to meet needs

Rather than moving to a different home to meet their needs as they age, Jerry and Carolyn Rodman had their home renovated to set them up for the next 20 years.
The renovated kitchen features new appliances and a dual-level bar and dining area.
Ceramic tile, a second shower and grab bars were added to the bathtub in the Rodman’s master bathroom.

Retirees Jerry Rodman and his wife, Carolyn, both in their 70s, live in a home like many others in northeastern Indiana – built solidly in the 1970s, but starting to show age.

But instead of selling and downsizing to a senior living center, the couple decided to stay in their four-bedroom ranch outside Angola.

The couple have spent much of the last three years transforming the home, with an eye to staying in the place where they raised their five children while living, as Jerry, 74, says, “as comfortably as possible.”

About three years ago, the couple started by redoing the kitchen, with Jerry and a nephew installing Grabill cabinets and adding a two-level breakfast bar and new quartz countertops.

But then Jerry noticed that the roof needed updating, and the siding was looking a little weather-beaten.

And, having gotten a little older, he realized he probably couldn’t do the jobs himself or with his usual help from family members. So, he sought out Four Seasons Design & Remodeling, Angola, and, as often happens with home improvements, one thing led to another.

Today, the house has changed inside and out.

There’s a new dimensional-shingle roof, as well as aluminum soffiting and fascia with inset can lighting, new gutters and downspouts and a mechanical ventilation system.

New high-R-value insulated siding and wood-core vinyl windows and new doors have been installed to help with energy savings, while an updated fiberglass front-entry door, stained on the inside to match interior trim, gives the home a freshened look.

While that work was in progress, though, the Rodmans decided to go ahead with a project that likely will greatly affect their daily lives – creating an en suite master bath that accommodates aging in place.

The job, says Four Seasons Vice President Lou Salge, who worked on the design, began with a bath hardly bigger than a closet.

“You could barely turn around in there,” he says.

So, Salge recommended bumping out the back wall of the house by about 8 feet. While still not making the bath palatial, the recommendation nearly tripled the size of the room, giving it plenty of space for upgrades.

The addition allowed for a low-lip fiberglass-surround shower with a seat and an adjustable-height showerhead that could come in handy if either of the Rodmans would need to use a wheelchair.

The larger space also allowed for a 5-foot wheelchair turning radius in the room, and a 24-inch-wide pocket door replaced the swing-in door to the bedroom and to make it wheelchair-accessibile.

Grab bars were added to the toilet, tub and shower areas, and new towel bars were installed at waist height.

The Rodmans also chose some luxury touches – a new ceramic surround for the tub and a heated ceramic tile floor – and a new dual-sink vanity flanked by storage closets.

Jerry Rodman, who taught high-school science for more than 40 years, says he’s been extremely pleased with how the projects turned out – high praise from someone who chose the plans and built much of the house himself with the help of two brothers, residential contractors who worked on many homes in the Elkhart area.

Rodman says there are still things he and his wife, 73, a retired nurse, still want to do now that they’ve got the big things done. On the list are new carpets in the master bedroom and new window coverings.

Jerry, an avid gardener, also hopes to do some renovation of his landscaping after deer browsed through it during the recent severe winter.

He says he didn’t make the changes for resale value – he always had living in the home after retirement in mind, even nearly 40 years ago.

“I liked that it was all on one level,” he says of the house.

“It was comfortable for what we wanted when we built the house. And we wanted it so we could live here a long time.”

rsalter@jg.net

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