Indianapolis Monthly



BEFORE EVANS Woollen designed some of Indy’s best midcentury-modern homes, he experimented with round, pointy-roof huts called “trulli” houses in the Puglia region of Italy. His young clients, Joan and Jordan Leibman, knew they wanted a Woollen creation when they approached him in 1962, but weren’t sure exactly what. He ended up thrilling them with twin stucco structures just south of Castleton, where they raised five children in the pair of houses. House Beautiful published a story on them in the 1960s. Joan, now widowed, still lives there, saying the “big circle and small circle” worked perfectly for seven people, and now the “big circle” is ideal for her. INSIDE STORY From the front door, the open floor plan of the “big circle” hut uncoils to the left around a large cylindrical support structure that holds the fireplace flume. A spiral staircase leads up to a large balcony. The “small circle” section has conventionally separated bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a loft. As for the experience of living in such an unusual structure, Joan says, “It’s the light more than the roundness. The fact that it doesn’t feel hemmed in.”


Liz and 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.

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