News and Tribune


January 2, 2010

FLOYD COUNTY HOME: From watermelon farmhouse to modern abode

Marlana Robles has updated her home while keeping some original features to mix the old with the new.

The outside of the home keeps of its older charm, but the inside is more modern than classic.


Retired from the Marine Corps, Marlana Robles picked New Albany as her new hometown, randomly from a map of the United States.

“I couldn’t have picked a better neighborhood,” Robles says of Silver Grove subdivision in New Albany. “My neighbors are so warm and friendly. We check on each other, and they’ve told me so much about the history of the house.”

Now a teacher in Louisville, Robles has made remodeling her McClean Avenue home her passion. In a neighborhood that was once a 100 acre watermelon farm, her home is the original dwelling.

“I found a postcard inside one of the walls, dated from 1906,” Robles explains. “The sender told about the long trip back to Charlestown, after visiting this house when it was new.”

While Robles maintains a healthy respect for the past, there is nothing museum-like about her historic home, unless by “museum,” you mean “art museum.” Although she claims not to be creative, a centerpiece of her warm and sunny living room is a multi-colored sculpture Robles painted and assembled herself. “I found the cardboard forms in the back of a magazine,” she says. “I painted them and then turned them different directions, and framed it.”

Complementary colors throughout the house bring energy and liveliness to the stylish digs. The sunny yellow living room trimmed in blue and green gently glows from the deep violet kitchen. “Live,” “Love,” “Dream,” and “Laugh” are the four commandments that highlight the kitchen, in large script letters around the room.

“I’d like to insert ‘belly’ over this one,” says Robles, pointing to the “Laugh” sign, which hangs in the doorway between the kitchen and living room. “It’s not enough to just laugh, you’ve got to belly-laugh once in awhile.”

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