Our Favorite Houses: Party House With A View

Indianapolis history and classical style in a one-of-a-kind party home.

Tony Valainis

The late Liz and Pete Fortune, whose family money came from the first Lilly stock ever sold outside of the family, threw legendary soirées at their palatial home near Highland Country Club. Set above the White River, the house was designed in 1971 by Otto Zenke, a famous American decorator at the time. It’s believed that the colonnade references architecture from Bath, England, which Zenke loved. A garage and a guesthouse stand apart from the main house, a marvel of classic architecture with a pool in the back. It remains in the family.

Inside Story
Elaborate moldings are the most distinctive feature. A-list Atlanta interior designer Suzanne Kasler worked on the house in later years and brought in lots of artwork. The grand marble entryway, with a massive tazza pedestal cup atop a fountain, is featured in one of her books, along with a sitting room featuring French doors and antique chairs, which Kasler chose because they can be moved around in the style of a European salon. Other areas of the home are comparatively intimate. An outrageous Chippendale secretary desk symbolizes a piece of local history—in 1904, Chinese Prince Pu Lun came to Indy on an American tour and later sent the desk as a gift to patriarch William Fortune for hosting him.

Back to the list