The Story of a Parade of Homes Abode from Start to Finish

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Lot selection. If you're eyeing a Parade of Homes home, it's serious business. It's competitive, to say the least. We're talking Central Ohio's most prized residential real estate, the region's best builders and the knowledge that your home, once complete, will be on display to thousands of parade-goers. Jed and Lori Kesler knew they wanted Trail's End. They just needed to nab the right lot.

"There were 12 builders here, and everyone had a choice based on what they pulled from the lottery," Lori explains from across the dining table in her grand, open-layout kitchen. "We were the eighth pick. And this was one of our top choices."

Along with their four kids, Lori attended lot selection, nabbed their plot of land-an elevated lot near the end of the 2014 parade route-and immediately got to work with P & D Builders to design a 6,158-square-foot, Tuscan-inspired home that would be functional and fabulous.

"I had looked into P & D years ago, because I lived in Powell and had seen some of their work," says Jed, who owns a dental practice off Bethel Road and wanted the convenience of a north-end location. "So, I called to touch base, and Lori and I both liked what they had to say."

First and foremost was the need for room to breathe. Jed's teenage triplets and Lori's son all needed a space to call their own.

"We just needed a bigger place for our kids," Jed says of choosing Trail's End. "We put our house up on the market thinking we'd go out and find something easily, but it wasn't happening. We weren't happy with what we were finding. So we called P & D up, and [owner] Dan Dillon asked if I was familiar with this neighborhood. I wasn't, but he informed me. And one thing led to another, and we decided to build here."

"They were very involved with our whole family, too, which was great," Lori adds. "It made us feel like we made the right choice with them. After lot selection, we'd spend our evenings at home making lists of what we wanted and didn't want."

From start to finish-including lot selection, collaborative design and build time-the process took about a year. Then, it was time to open up their home to the opinions of any and all parade ticketholders.

"Being the last house on the street … it was often the last one people went through," Lori says. "And we heard 'this is my favorite' a number of times."

As for her own favorites? "One of my favorite parts is that it's so open, and there are still so many spots for us to all have our own privacy," Lori says. "We didn't have any privacy before, and the girls were sharing a room. I love our master suite with the private coffee bar."

The coffee bar is one of the home's most interesting features. The second-floor master suite features a lounge-like space where Jed and Lori can enjoy their morning coffee-and a bit of quiet-before venturing downstairs to cook breakfast, pack lunches and get the kids off to school.

"Our mornings are a lot less hectic," she says. "Now we feel like we're on vacation every morning!"

The master suite also offers access to the outdoors-"It's an escape … our heaven," Lori says-and the entire home is wired to play different music channels in each room. "I love turning it on in the morning while I'm getting ready in the bathroom," she adds. Off the master bath-complete with his and hers toilets-is a walk-in closet featuring a full wall of shoe space and drawers. "This way, we don't actually have to have dressers," Lori explains. The bed, from Pottery Barn, offers storage, too.

The children each have their own room, suited to their unique personalities.

"The kids were very involved in the planning and design process, especially with regard to their rooms," Lori says.

The youngest's room features a mural of a family tree. "(P & D) did that for free! Nobody does that," Lori says. Each bedroom has a stenciled saying on the wall-two triplets opted for Marilyn Monroe quotes-compliments of the builder. "It was a really nice surprise," she adds.

On the first floor, it's all about communal gathering space. An open kitchen blends with the great room, which connects to a deck overlooking the developing neighborhood and a cozy sunroom.

"I love having a big kitchen island, because that's our gathering space," Lori says. "The open concept, which was our goal from the start, has really worked out even more than we thought it would. The triplets, for example, are always having friends over. But, even with 20 people in here, it doesn't feel crowded."

The walk-in pantry is another favorite, while mailboxes with the kids' names are a fun touch in the hallway off the kitchen. "There's a charging station there, if the kids will ever put down their phones long enough," Lori says, laughing.

The first floor's highlight, however, is the view. "It's awesome to see the sunsets," Jed says. "We love sunsets, and it's great because we're so elevated."

In the ground-level basement, entertainment is the focus. An open theater for watching sports, a large bar area-with a bonus wine closet-and plenty of games ensure the Kesler home is the go-to for parties. Their first weekend in the home, in fact, was a big one: They hosted a party for the first game of Ohio State's champion football season.

Now that they have their dream home, Jed and Lori can simply watch the neighborhood develop around them.

"Being parade homes made us all unique," Lori says of the original group. "I'm curious to see if they'll continue to be unique as homes are built. The uniqueness of every home hasn't worn off for me. I like that."

Parade of Homes

Building Industry Association of Central Ohio