Indianapolis history and classic style in one unique party house.
The late one Liz and Pete Fortune, whose family money came from the first Lilly stock ever sold outside the family, threw legendary soirées at their palatial home near the Highland Country Club. The house above the White River was designed in 1971 by Otto Zenke, a famous American decorator at the time. The colonnade is believed to be a reference to architecture from Bath, England, which Zenke loved. A garage and a guest house stand off the main house, a marvel of classical architecture with a pool in the background. It stays in the family.
Elaborate molded parts are the most striking feature. Atlanta interior designer Suzanne Kasler’s A-list worked on the house in later years and brought in many pieces of art. The large marble entrance with a massive Tazza pedestal cup on a fountain is included in one of her books, along with a living room with French doors and antique chairs that Kasler chose because they can be moved around in the style of a European salon. Other areas of the house are comparatively intimate. An outrageous Chippendale secretary 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 to pick up.
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