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Homes: Family Friendly

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Family Friendly

Carrie Barker is not the type to leave any details overlooked. Especially when it came to the new home she and husband Brad were building.

Story: Jodi Heckel

Photos: Rick Danzl

Carrie Barker is not the type to leave any details overlooked. Especially when it came to the new home she and husband Brad were building.

The couple built a home in Mahomet in 2013, after having lived in a southwestern Champaign neighborhood for six years.

They bought a spec home in Champaign from Premier Homes, and they were quite happy with it, especially with the features such as crown molding and tray ceilings.

“We loved it, but it wasn’t totally our style and we wanted to build our own home,” said Carrie Barker, noting the Champaign home was darker than she liked, with dark wood cabinets and wrought-iron spindles on the staircase.

“We wanted more of a Cape Cod feel, more of a beachy feel,” she said.

The lot she and her husband bought in Mahomet had more land than they had in Champaign and many mature trees.

“My main thing was, I wanted to walk through my front door and look out and see trees. I wanted to make sure there was no obstructed view of the trees,” Barker said.

She spent months looking at floor plans online and thinking about what she wanted, how the floor plan might flow and which way the house should face.  The home is 3,600 square feet, with four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and an unfinished basement.

Barker found a plan for a foyer she liked online and started to build the house plan around that. She wanted big windows and an open floor plan. It was important to have the master bedroom on the first floor, as she and her husband wanted to spend many years in the home.

She also wanted the main staircase near the master bedroom so if her children got up in the middle of the night, they could come right down the stairs to their parents’ bedroom.

“We took a lot of time poring over our floor plans,” Barker said. “We thought about this floor plan so much.”

The couple moved the location of several walls and doors to improve the flow, and Premier Homes of Champaign — which built the Mahomet house — provided the expertise on such things as the location of support walls and plumbing.

Barker wanted the crown molding, window casings and tray ceilings she’d had in her Champaign home. The living room in her Mahomet home also has a beamed ceiling.

She loves white cabinets, and her kitchen has a light, airy feel with windows looking onto the backyard. It is open to the living room.

The couple wanted a screened porch, and they also added a deck in back — perfect for summer parties.

Barker wanted a large laundry room. Her washer and dryer are in a mudroom next to the door to the garage. It features cubbies for each family member with a bench, hooks for hanging coats and drawers below the bench. A unique feature of the drawers is the small open space at the top of each bottom drawer, to help air out smelly shoes stored inside.

Barker’s favorite room is her office.

“My husband calls it my online shopping room,” she said.

Her office has slightly more color than the main rooms of the home, with a bench covered with green patterned upholstery, colorful artwork and shelves filled with books with colorful covers.

The main areas of the home are neutral, with only small, subtle splashes of color. Barker likes blues and grays. She used books, a large plate and some vases on the shelves in her living room to add color to that room.

Barker had wallpaper in her former home, including a lot of grasscloth wallpaper, a natural-looking textured wall covering. She has wallpaper in several parts in the new home, including the master bedroom, the powder room, her office and nook in an upstairs hallway. Barker favors geometric patterns, saying they lend themselves better to displaying items such as pictures or mirrors.

“I just feel like it changes the feel of a room dramatically. I think painted walls can get boring sometimes,” she said.

Barker originally didn’t want wallpaper on the walls in the foyer, living and dining areas of her new home, choosing to have them painted in a subtle color. But she loves grasscloth wallpaper and is now thinking of adding it to her dining room.

The Barkers are happy with both their home and their neighborhood, which has a lot of young families with children the ages of their daughters.

“I absolutely love my floor plan,” Carrie Barker said. “I think it’s perfect for my family.”