By Sadie Fowler | Photos by Michael Kemp
Most homeowners can likely relate to the bit of nerves that might be attached to someone asking to tour and photograph their home for the purpose of publishing photos and a story about it in a magazine. One’s first reaction to such a request might naturally be:
“Why my home?”
“Oh no, now I have to get my home perfectly ready!”
Michelle Gorman admits feeling both of those things when approached about her family’s home being featured in this month’s edition of VIP Bowling Green.
“We’re just your everyday, average family in a very normal home,” she said.
Christmas hadn’t been over long before she was approached and “un-decorating” a house on short notice would feel like a chore to anyone.
Also, Gorman wondered if their split-level, everyday home had the bells and whistles one might expect to see in a magazine feature about homes.
“It’s not extravagant,” she said with a laugh.
But it’s a one-of-a-kind home — a home that’s made of all the good stuff.
Michelle graciously agreed to allow VIP into their home with a kind attitude that reflects exactly why the essence of the Gorman home at 1318 Broadview should be shared with as many as people as possible.
Filled with love, the Gorman home sends vibes of a story like no other — a story of a blended family that has drawn upon each member for getting through life’s challenges and celebrating its victories.
Adding to the heart of their story, the physical aspect of the house is also interesting. The family — mainly Michelle — turned an average and outdated house into a modern, spacious and comfortable home upon purchasing it nearly eight years ago.
The Gorman family’s journey together began when Doug and Michelle chose to purchase the home at an estate auction. They were newly married and both Michelle and Doug had homes of their own prior to uniting.
“After we married in 2010, the first thing we wanted to do was purchase a house together so that it would be ours, not ‘Michelle’s’ or ‘Doug’s’,” she said. “When we blended our families our first goal was to never use the word ‘step’ in describing our kids.”
Michelle and Doug agreed sharing a home would be a good start for their family’s life together. Logistically, that was easier said than done.
“With kids and their friends over, we wanted to find a location that would be convenient to both work and school,” Michelle said. “At that time, there were only 17 homes on the market in our school district and very few were in our price range. We purchased our home at an auction and the kids were not impressed. In fact, when they first toured the house they begged us not to buy it.”
Michelle had a vision for the home, though, and asked the kids to look past the dated floor plan of the split-level home and give her a chance to make it a home.
Now, they’re glad they did as it’s not only modern but large enough for a lot of life, thanks to the addition of a sunroom and master bedroom and the destruction of a few walls in the kitchen to provide ample space for gathering together.
As the family united, they became close-knit and have relied on each other, with this past year being one of the most challenging one could imagine.
In 2017, the family lost Doug’s oldest daughter Brittney Gorman Parrish to Leukemia.
“Our definition of home changed quite a bit when we lost Brittney last May,” Michelle said. “It is our place to recharge our batteries, spend time with the people who mean the most to us, and to count our blessings. Family has always been a priority for us and our home celebrates our family, our traditions, and our future. It truly is our safe haven.”
Instead of fancy furniture or pretentious art, the Gorman home features pieces that might catch an eye — their home is filled with photos of family.
Doug and Michelle have five children and one son-in-law between them. Brittney’s husband and son-in-law, is Terris Parrish. Their daughter is Emery, now eighteen months. Their family also includes Kelli Disney, who is 29 and the mother of granddaughter Gracie. Joey Gorman is 25 and works for American Bank. Austin Disney is 24 and works in Hilton Head Island. Christina Gorman is 21 and a junior at WKU, where Doug once played soccer.
The one thing they all have in common — besides a love for family is all five children attended WKU and support the Hilltoppers.
Just a few miles away from WKU, the Gorman home is located in the desirable Briarwood subdivision, an area that is convenient to everything in Bowling Green, a community the family loves for its southern charm.
Built in 1964, it is one of the older homes in the subdivision, which includes a variety of homes that are all well-maintained.
Michelle said their first order of business was to make the home more open and comfortable. They removed nine decaying trees right away and removed some walls in the kitchen to open up a space for cooking, dining and conversing. About 1,400 square feet of space was added with an addition that made space for a new master bedroom as well as a sunroom where Doug and Michelle enjoy reading and morning coffee each day.
“Our kitchen and family room is where we love to share the stories of the day over a meal,” said Michelle, adding that Doug is the chef of the home. “Our family became one years ago around a dinner table. Eating, laughing and sharing our thoughts with each other with a ‘no phone’ rule at the table was the beginning of our family traditions.”
Michelle and Doug explained birthdays are the family’s favorite moments to celebrate — Brittney was an amazing baker and made them extra special. The holidays this past year proved especially challenging as Brittney was missed, but also celebrated.
“It was the first one without her and the reality of not baking Christmas goodies with her, opening her perfectly wrapped presents and watching movies and hearing her laugh was very tough,” Doug said. “While we have always circled the wagons with family, this Christmas season we all celebrated and missed her at the same time. We kept up the family traditions of each person buying a new ornament for our family tree.”
The kitchen and living room are where many meals are eaten and quality time is often spent.
“There’s nothing we like more than cooking a meal and having friends or family in the kitchen and enjoying a drink with some food and conversation while the meal is prepared,” Michelle said. “We’ve always felt like food was the start to any great night and the kitchen rarely disappoints.”
Though the kitchen is the home base for the Gormans, Michelle and Doug also agree another favorite part of the home is how functional it is. Every room has a purpose.
The den, complete with surround sound and an oversized television, is where they relax after dinner for a game or movie. An in-ground pool was added recently for the family to enjoy in summer months. With four bedrooms and 3,400 square feet, there’s plenty of room for all to be comfortable.
Most of the home is decorated with furnishings from Bowling Green Home Furnishings and decorated with the guiding hand of their friend Tammi Farrell of Interior Alternatives Design. She is also the wife of their pastor Gregg Farrell at Crossland Community Church.
“She knows our family well and our likes and dislikes,” Michelle said. “Tammi was able to come up with a design that made our house even more family-friendly. All our furniture is from Bowling Green Home Furnishings and lighting is from WindElectric. Tammi was able to find everything from lighting fixtures to accessories and furniture to create a look that is not only pleasing to the eye but fits our family and our lifestyle.”