Home Of The Month: The Good Host

An eclectic Zionsville house welcomes an equally diverse mix of fundraisers and parties.

Living in a gated neighborhood hasn’t stopped Cheri and Rollie Dick from opening their home to the community. Their 6,600-square-foot residence often serves as the backdrop for dinners, fundraisers, and birthday celebrations. Whether it’s a party of seven or 70, the Dicks—who met when Rollie served as board chairman of Civic Theatre and Cheri was hired as executive director—are happy to provide an intimate environment for conversation and togetherness.

The couple built their Zionsville house last year with Christopher Scott Homes. After settling in, they threw a thank-you party for some of the vendors and artisans who worked on the home. Attendees included Cabinetry Ideas, who helped design the kitchen, and Zionsville-based Jezroc Metalworks, who fashioned the wrought-iron stair railing (and made matching rosettes for the refrigerator doors).

“It was so darn fun,” Cheri says of the soirée. “We started at 4:30 p.m. By 10, everyone was drinking wine in the living room and talking about their jobs. The artisans pick out everything with you and see all the floor plans, but they never see the finished house. This time, they got to be entertained.”

That’s the thing about the Dicks—they go out of their way to make others feel welcome. Try to remove your shoes in the marble-floored entryway, and Cheri will tell you not to bother. “Make yourself at home,” she says. Drop your bag. Grab a drink. Let Rollie, a native Iowan, serenade you with the “Iowa Corn Song.”

While their playfulness keeps guests coming, the house does its part to make entertaining easy. The first level of the two-story home features a relatively open floor plan. Step through the front double doors and into the living room, where a curvy purple sofa by Coup D’Etat demands attention. When Cheri first spotted the piece at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, she was all in. “It’s just too sexy,” she says, patting its velvet upholstery. Opposite the couch is one of the home’s four fireplaces. The surround, which hails from Paris Ceramics, took nine months to arrive. But that wasn’t the only setback. The honed Côte d’Azur stone, while simple in form, was tricky to install. To exude that “modern Deco” feel Cheri was looking for, the surround had to be seamless.

The soapstone mantel in the hearth room required a dozen men to carry it in and a reinforced wall to shoulder its weight, but the fireplace pulls together a funky assortment of furniture from the Dicks’ previous house.

While the main fireplace is a standout feature, it’s the light fixture in the dining room that reaps the most compliments. Suspended above the table is an Ochre “Seed Cloud” installation with 56 bronze “buds.” Each bud houses a glass drop illuminated by an LED. The effect is ethereal. “It’s a good conversation piece,” Cheri says. “And it has a reputation. Delivery guys will ask to see it!”

The seed cloud is just one of the contemporary yet elegant elements. In the master bedroom, floor-to-ceiling Jim Thompson drapes break from traditional toile colors. In the adjoining master bathroom, laser-cut marble and glass tiles comprise a Moroccan-patterned mosaic. A second-floor bathroom sports Swarovski crystal cabinet pulls, and a zebra-patterned cowhide rug occupies the upstairs landing. To help the couple as they age in place, there’s even an elevator.

The Ochre “Seed Cloud” light fixture in the dining room (below) was a splurge.

When asked about her style, Cheri waves her hands and laughs. “Oh, I’m all over the place,” she says. But the three-bedroom, five-bathroom home never feels “decorated.” Eclectic, sure. But not plucked from a furniture showroom, thanks to interior designer Debra Maley. As the owner of A New Arrangement, Maley is a master at curating the right balance of antiques, heirlooms, and artwork.

Take the library, for example. Maley helped pick out the 19th-century shelves, which would appear oversized in most houses but fit right in here. Then there’s the pair of armchairs. Purchased from Midland Arts and Antiques for just $100, they’ve been recovered. And recovered again. “Rollie didn’t think we needed them covered a third time,” Cheri says. “But we left for a trip, and Deb was standing by with the upholstery. When we came back, the chairs had been recovered, and were right in the same place they had been. Rollie walked by and didn’t even notice at first.”

Really, there’s a story for everything. Like how it took a dozen men to carry in the hearth room’s Brazilian soapstone fireplace surround. Or that Rollie had just one request: a large office. (His workspace in the basement contains the home’s only wood-burning fireplace, a nod to his fire-building abilities.) Even the cabinets near the side door have an anecdote. They were painted high-gloss red to “look sexy for the UPS guy,” Cheri says, laughing.

Joking aside, the Dicks’ home never feels over-the-top. It suits them—and the organizations they host for fundraisers and dinner parties. Entertaining people in a cozy setting like this one helps groups connect with their donors in a more intimate way. Cheri mentions a recent dinner party that Krzysztof Urbański, music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, attended. Guests were able to speak one-on-one with the world-class conductor and learn how the symphony operates. “By offering your home to someone, you can create a moment,” Cheri says. “It’s something you can’t do in a conference room or ballroom. We’re living in a fast-paced world. People still like to slow down and be with each other.”