An Insider’s Guide To The 2019 Indianapolis Monthly Dream Home

Interior shot of the 2019 Indianapolis Monthly Dream Home
Great room of the 2019 Indianapolis Monthly Dream Home

Tony Valainis

Modern, spacious, tailor-made, welcoming, and highly stylized—this year’s Indianapolis Monthly Dream Home combines cutting-edge design with personalized touches on a sprawling, 52-acre property in Zionsville.

“It was a very unique house from the beginning,” says builder Brad Bowman, owner of Indianapolis-based Homes by Design.

From an expansive great room that opens onto a terrace overlooking the infinity-edge pool to a vintage boxing ring and luxe home theater on the lower level, this dwelling is made for entertaining and chock-full of custom details to fit the homeowners’ bold tastes and individual interests.

“They don’t want to be like everyone else,” Bowman says of his clients, a couple with three grown sons. “Every time they hear ‘This is standard,’ that’s kind of like a cuss word to them.”

Planning for the home began in 2017. HBD worked with architect Steve Goldberg of Goldberg Design Group to create the plans for this contemporary structure. It includes five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, and ample room for entertainment. A six-car garage is ready to house all of the family vehicles.

“They like modern, they like out of the box,” Bowman says of the future occupants. The architecture features large windows and sloping, angled roof lines. Bowman says the roof is unlike any he’s constructed, with a standing-seam metal roof line that goes straight up on one side, contributing to the avant-garde look. Cut limestone and low-maintenance, pre-stained concrete siding cover the exterior, lending the home a cool, elegant, and high-end appearance.

Room to Grow

The homeowners chose a generous northwestside parcel of land because they wanted space to expand over the years. The builder worked to add some elevation to different areas of the property to increase visual interest. Indianapolis-based P.J.E. Lawn Care & Landscaping put finishing touches on the lot. Future plans include adding an orchard and vineyard, and possibly a horse barn and an additional home.

“If a homeowner wants to do [something], my first response is: ‘Let’s figure out how to do it,’” Bowman says.

The Homes by Design building team
The Homes by Design building team includes, from left, Dave Hatcher, general manager; Todd Hart, job-site supervisor; Brad Bowman, owner; and Shawn Welker, construction manager.

His clients gave him full trust to help realize the vision for their future home. Interior designer Deanna Whetstone, owner of Brownsburg-based Whetstone & Associates, echoed this sentiment. She collaborated closely with the builder, architect, and homeowners to flesh out the inside of the posh, spacious abode.

“They started building this home because they have great imagination and great taste,” Whetstone says. “This is just the beginning of what they hope to encompass on this property.” 

The homeowners took inspiration from dwellings in Australia and the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. The design combines rich walnut surfaces and natural materials; warm, acacia hardwood flooring; and a color theme of greens and aquas.

“That’s a story throughout,” Whetstone says. “You’ll see that [palette] played out among almost the entire home.”

Indianapolis-based PAH Upholstery Co. created custom furniture. While the overall vibe is modern, midcentury and Art Deco influences emerge in different areas.

The second floor includes bedrooms for two of the couple’s sons, along with a media and gaming room. Despite a neutral color scheme, the first-floor master bedroom abounds with texture and details. “Everything is intentional, like the concrete, custom-glazed fireplace that is balanced by the fully upholstered wall,” Whetstone says.

The bed matches the wall behind it, which has fully integrated light fixtures and nightstands. The master bathroom includes custom tile, a concrete tub, and illuminated onyx counters. The shower has five rain heads, plus a wall showerhead with a sound system. “You have to take your time to drink in the details,” Whetstone says of the master suite. “You can hang out there for a hot minute.”

Warm Reception

Interior design team
Deanna Whetstone (left), owner of Whetstone & Associates, and Jillian Storms (right), design director, planned and styled the interior spaces in the Dream Home.

In addition to comfortable sleeping quarters, the couple wanted an inviting space designed around their love of hosting large groups of friends. “It’s an extremely entertainment-driven house,” Whetstone says. Guests can see all the way to the backyard entertainment space from the oversized, 5-foot-by-12-foot front door with copper cladding, one of the details inspired by a home Down Under.

“It’s made to be grand, it’s made to be used, it’s used to welcome people,” says Whetstone.

The large great room, kitchen, dining, and entry spaces all interconnect. In addition to 12 chairs at the dining-room table, the kitchen and adjacent coffee bar supply extra seating. When it’s time to take the party outside, retractable doors connect the great room to a back deck, exterior entertainment space, and pool area. “You’ve never seen a pool like this in Indiana,” Bowman says. The pool includes a hot tub with floating steps, a tanning ledge, and a grotto with water falling down below the deck. Porcelain pavers surround the water.

The lower level sets the stage for evenings with guests. The space features a bar with four TVs, a pizza oven, a conversation pit, and a vintage-inspired boxing ring. A refurbished 1890s billiards table adds interest and competitive opportunities, but a luxurious home theater is one of the main attractions.

“There’s some gorgeous features,” says Whetstone, who likens the atmosphere to a 1930s speakeasy with a nod to Art Deco. “Dark oak floors, exposed metal beams—a little industrial and a lot of pretty.” The theater features rich, red velvet draperies, but the green-and-aqua palette from the first floor weaves into the decor of the lower level as well. Whetstone worked to integrate high-tech fitness equipment into the retro retreat. She looked far and wide to procure a vintage-looking but functional boxing ring the homeowner wanted as a showpiece for the space.

Knock on Wood

The boxing ring is just one of the many unique and luxurious elements of this showstopper home. Another is the front stairway, which is essentially a metal beam with floating treads made of rich hardwood. Walnut finishes abound throughout the house, appearing on doors, cabinets, countertops, and even the kitchen ceiling.

“We’re calling it a ‘cloud,’” says Bowman, describing the sheets of walnut installed at different levels above the kitchen island. Lighting is suspended from and built into the overhead panels.

Another distinctive feature is a specially crafted fireplace in the husband’s office that stands out not just for its sheer size, but also for its intricate personal details. The custom-made surround serves as a defining element for the room.

“To someone who doesn’t know him, you would think it’s just a beautiful carving. But if you did know him, you’ll see [representations of] his likes woven throughout,” Whetstone says. “If you know the homeowners, this house exudes their personality.”

The mantel is one of the many rare, eye-catching decorations that serve as finishing touches. Not ones to settle for traditional canvases adorning the walls, the homeowners made bold choices, including a 35-foot installation that ties the upper and lower levels together, a 3-D sculpture attached to a wall, and images printed on metal or displayed behind glass. The pieces are part of what Bowman sees as the larger masterpiece of the home itself.

“Seeing the finished product is the payoff,” he says. “These houses end up being like pieces of art at the end.”

Learn more about the 2019 Indianapolis Monthly Dream Home by clicking here.

VIP Preview Party

Date & Time: October 10, 2019 from 6-9 p.m.

Dream Home Show Tour

Dates & Times: October 11-13 & 17-20 from 12-6 p.m. daily