Home tour shows off Indy’s mid-century modern marvels

Indianapolis resident Ken Turchi loved the streamlined simplicity of mid-century modern furniture and homes before the movement regained its cool in recent years.

His parents collected mid-century pieces in the 1960s, instilling in him a love for the sleek lines and fueling a lifelong passion for collecting great original furniture. Today, Turchi boasts an extensive collection of pieces from top designers of the period, including Dunbar, Knoll and Herman Miller.

That collection in his 1954 home will be on public display from 1 to 6 p.m. June 2 as one of five houses featured during the Indiana Landmarks’ fifth annual Back to the Future: A Mid-Century Modern Home Tour. This year’s tour focuses on the northside Indianapolis neighborhoods of Arden and Williams Creek.

Turchi purchased his home in Arden Place in 2007, after years spent admiring its simple stylings, original fixtures and unusual built-in concealed storage. “Almost everything in the home was original, nothing had been replaced,” Turchi says. “It’s hard to find something authentic. I was lucky to find something that hadn’t been modified.”

To kick off the home tour, California architect and preservationist Alan Hess will give a free lecture, “Modernism is for Everyone,” at 6 p.m. May 31 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Indiana Landmarks will also hand out its annual Central Indiana Preservation Awards, including the Angie’s List Old House Rehab Award, that evening.

Tickets to the home tour cost $12 per person in advance and $15 the day of the tour, and proceeds support the Indiana Landmarks’ preservation mission. The lecture dovetails into the tour’s mission of showcasing the importance and place in the community of modernist structures and residences.

“You don’t just have to have and preserve properties designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, or other big names in modernism, but we interact with this type of design every day,” says Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services.

The five Indianapolis homes on the tour this year include:

• Turchi’s house, 221 E. 70th St.

• Gene and Nancy McPherson, 171 E. 71st St. It was built in 1960 by O.C. Winters, who designed and built many homes in the Meridian Hills and Williams Creek neighborhoods.

• Jim and Pat LaCrosse, 7915 Morningside Drive. Prominent local architect Edward Pierre designed this 1958 home.

• Steve and Rhonda Cohen, 6461 Sunset Lane. This 1957 home retains its original bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

• Jane and Lyle Messenger’s 1959 home, 7037 Washington Blvd.

For more details on the tour and lecture, call Indiana Landmarks at 317-639-4534 or visit indianalandmarks.org.

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