Text by Lisa McEwen I Photos by Steve Cory
or two years, the Hydash family circled the neighborhoods of Visalia, searching for their new home. Showing after showing, Kerry and Dan left disappointed, unable to find what they were looking for.
That is until their Realtor brought them into The Lakes, an established neigh-borhood in the northwest quadrant of the city.
They toured a home that, again, didn’t catch their eye. But driving out of the subdivision, they spotted a “for sale” sign on a contemporary two-story, looked inside, and knew that they had finally found The One.
That was in 2012, when daughter Jaden was 7 years old and son Nolan just 10 months. In fact, it was Jaden’s insistence, which bordered on begging, they recalled with a laugh, that cemented the decision to purchase the home. In the years since, the family has updated and tailored their lakeside abode to house their family in a style they like to call “perfectly eclectic.”
Locals may recognize the couple from their professions, which keep them visible in the community. Dan is head coach of the championship Redwood High School baseball team and a private baseball coach, and Kerry is president and CEO of Family HealthCare Network. The couple also donate much time to local nonprofit work.
Leading busy professional lives while parenting two active children means that having a relaxing, easy-care home is key.
To that end, interior designer Dione Mackey helped the family craft the look of their home, which balances function and comfort while melding their individual styles and tastes. This process has taken several years as, room by room, the family updated the home to fit their needs.
Like many families, the Hydashes love to gather in the kitchen, which has been tastefully appointed with granite countertops, a blend of bright red and warm wooden cabinetry and a farmhouse sink. The view through the kitchen window is a straight shot to the lake behind their home.
“Dinner is a team effort every night,” Kerry said. Jaden, 15, is known for making delicious ribs, and Nolan, 8, loves to make peach cobbler and help take care of the herb and vegetable garden that provides ingredients for many family meals. To helpeach person contribute to the meal, the kitchen is designed with three separate work spaces.
To know the Hydash family means to understand their love of sports. Thus, televisions to watch games and matches are present in almost every room.
“We are absolutely A’s fans,” said Dan, who also noted their devotion to the San Francisco 49ers, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors. Jaden explained that she participates in cross country and track at Redwood High School and, while waiting for virtual class to begin at Denton Elementary, Nolan helped give a tour of the home, holding a baseball autographed by Oakland A’s pitcher Lou Trivino the entire time.
“We love to grill, watch sports and be active as a family,” Dan said.
While Kerry admits with a smile that there is occasional eye-rolling when sports seem to be on overload, a casual, family-centered life is the overriding theme of their home.
“We are not formal people at all,” she said while leading Lifestyle Magazine through the dining room, which although it does have a spacious and modern dining table, is not at all formal. In fact, it is surrounded by Dan’s extensive collection of sports memorabilia, from professional baseball player bobbleheads to autographed basketballs and footballs. Walls in the dining room also display a variety of mementoes from the family’s travels — they try to attend as many professional sporting events as possible. A new sport they discovered recently is hurling, an Irish sport that is a mix of lacrosse and rugby. The Hydashes love the East Coast and its cultural history, with Boston holding a special place in their hearts as this was where the couple honeymooned.
Spaces for gathering as well as solo work are incorporated throughout the home, such as a children’s art area tucked in a small space in the hallway. The laundry room includes not just appliances, but a space for crafts and wrapping gifts, which Kerry and Jaden love to do. Dan installed racks that display colorful wrapping paper and ribbons — no awkward, dusty storage boxes in the garage for this task!
Up the carpeted stairs, a small balcony that overlooks the dining room doubles as a video game center, and individualized bedrooms round out the floor plan.
As Visalia natives, Kerry and Dan were searching for a neighborhood that had features that they enjoyed as children: lots of families, a quiet street for a game of basketball or wiffleball, and plenty of playmates for their children.
“Living in The Lakes is like living in a small community inside a pretty big city,” Dan said. The couple noted that they love the seasonal events that occur in the neighborhood, including a Fourth of July parade and hay rides at Halloween. The community pools are often the sites of impromptu Sunday barbecues.
What sets the neighborhood apart, though, is the extra layer of camaraderie that the interlaced shallow lakes provide. Quite often, neighbors recognize each other’s houses not by the front door or landscaping, but by their patios and backyards. Small boats and kayaks travel the lakes in the evenings, allowing families to get out and visit with each other.
To make that time of day even more fun, the Hydashes have been known to set up a S’mores station, inviting neighbors to stop by for conversation and a sweet treat.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement in the backyard,” Dan said. That includes fishing for the bass, bluegill and catfish that roam the lake, which Nolan loves to do. Recently, the Hydashes added a pool and spa to their backyard, and have plans to build a koi pond, as well.
What the family didn’t count on, but feels is a welcome surprise, is the amount of wildlife they observe, including geese, hawks and an occasional fox.
While the view through the large picture windows that flank the back of the home onto the lake is gorgeous all day long, evening is a favorite time for the family to dine outdoors and then, as the evening progresses, enjoy the soothing fountains and lights on the water.
“By 8:30 p.m., it’s very quiet,” Kerry said. “We feel really lucky to have a home like this in a neighborhood that is such a great place to live.”