They say a man’s house is his castle. That’s certainly true for Roger Hill and George Gerding as their beautiful home actually resembles one! No need to travel the English countryside to see this royal abode, it can be seen right here in Franklin, appropriately on King Street.

Set back from the street with a U shaped driveway, this unique house sits among mature trees, landscaping, and a curved concrete walkway winding around the magnificent and somewhat imposing turret, clad in Bedford stone. The turret is certainly the dominating feature of this two bedroom home and projects a size much larger than it really is, creating the look of a castle fit for any king, or in this case, two kings.

Roger was living in Irvington, a neighborhood of Indianapolis, and was looking to relocate to Franklin when he happened upon the house in 2009 while actually looking at the home across the street. George drove to look at the neighboring home to find that it already had a pending offer. He noticed the castle across the street hidden behind overgrown trees and was intrigued. He called Roger to come take a look at the vacant home. However, it wasn’t love at first sight.


sitting room in small home with modern decor
Castle House sitting room (photo by Christina Cochran)

The home resembled a small abandoned church, with wide concrete steps ascending to the main entrance and a front covered porch enclosed with chain link fencing. Around the back of the house, they were perplexed to discover no doors or entryways into the home. Instead, they found an additional smaller turret and a few unusually small windows.

Perhaps the contradictions of the home compelled them to purchase it and start the process of transforming it into the castle it has become. While the house wasn’t shouting “buy me” to Roger, the property surely was, as it was a full acre plot in the downtown neighborhood. The sweeping backyard with varying elevations makes the yard seem even larger. A perfect pallet to create a royal country manor within walking distance of the bustling downtown square. Both George and Roger love living here. “Franklin felt comfortable,” says Roger, “I love this town”.

The pair immediately went to work on cleaning up the property and the house built in 1940. Trees were trimmed, bushes pruned, and ivy was removed to reveal the stone house with that imposing turret. It also uncloaked the chain link encased front patio which needed to be addressed. The fencing was removed and wood casements with screening created a more suitable and welcoming environment where Roger and George now spend a lot of time enjoying the view of neighbors and friends walking past each day.

They also wanted their house to look more like a home, so they had the large concrete stairs removed from the main entry and replaced with a sweeping sidewalk that compliments the curves of the home itself, and draws the eye to the entrance located on the south of the massive turret.

Inside, the home felt very impersonal with all rooms separated with walls and even doors in the hallway. The duo wanted more of an open concept that would still respect the age of the home. A previous owner had installed multiple locks on both exterior and interior doors, with as many as four locks on a single door. “At closing our Realtor handed me a huge bag of keys,” George recalls with a laugh.

Roger and George did most of the remodeling themselves, and began to open up the interior of the home that now extends the open concept from the front living room, through the kitchen, and into the family room. The kitchen features modern appliances and a large island that serves as a central focal point while entertaining guests. Original hardwood flooring glistens with shine throughout the home with the exception of carpeted bedrooms.

Bedroom with a burnt orange wall
Bedroom in the Castle House (photo by Christina Cochran)

The main entry opens to the grand living room inside of the front turret. George had always wanted to have a room bathed in black paint, so the original Chartreuse colored Peacock wallpaper was stripped and a fresh noir coat of paint added. As the house was built in 1940, American design and décor was in an era of transition. The ornate Art Deco era was waning, making way for Mid Century Modern stylings. The castle relishes in both as George has a love for all things Art Deco, while Roger has a passion for the Mid Century modern furnishings. Somehow, the fusion of these competing styles blends seamlessly.

Personal stylings from both fill each room with period antiques sourced from countless flea markets and antique shop visits across the globe. The living room alone boasts artifacts from Germany, Costa Rica and Michigan. Despite the eclectic nature of the décor, nothing looks or feels out of place. Roger and George have created a peaceful and inviting palace they love to share with the many friends they have acquired in their 14 years of Franklin residency.

Once they reimagined the interior of the home, they refocused on the exterior of the home. The remodel allowed them to create two additional exterior doors on the rear of the home that open out to a large multi-level deck that gives a splendid view of the large backyard. They removed a crumbling shed and replaced it with a three car detached garage that also houses a single apartment for accommodating overnight visitors, affording them a private hotel-like suite complete with a full kitchen.

Like many homes in the downtown area, the Franklin Development Corporation (FDC) assisted with a façade grant, allowing for the beautification of the property that sits along the gateway entrance to Franklin from I65. Nestled between the highway and the courthouse square, it is an ideal location to live. “It’s a fun house. It’s located perfectly,” says Roger.

Both men are happy with their home and their adopted community. “Franklin is an accepting, progressive town with great values,” Roger adds. The work the men have poured into their home guarantees that the castle on King Street will have a long and prosperous reign.

Comments 3

  1. Knowing both of these innovators makes me proud. Having spent a major amount of time in the home makes me happy to see this article, which was VERY well written! The recognition of their hard work is warranted and I sooo look forward to seeing the exciting future for this amazing space! When I first came to Franklin, this was the MOST noticeable home…as it remains!

  2. Javier says:

    Beautiful home! Everything is so perfectly planned cohesive. Beautiful town, I love Franklin, is such peaceful place.
    And the owners are fantastic guys; And very hospitable.

  3. Love the two pictures featured above. Would you be willing to share more pictures as your work progresses? Sounds like you were in the right place at the right time! Good for you.

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