The Party House and Changing Dreams

Anyone who’s talked to me about houses for more than 90 seconds knows about my odd obsession with the Party House. This house, tucked away in a little Indianapolis neighborhood of ranch houses and yard gnomes, stands out like a mafioso’s sore thumb. I’ve loved it for years. The house has a strange history: Its late owner bought up several lots (no doubt from neighbors wanting to get the heck out of there) and built a weird compound, with the 7,000-plus square foot Party House facing the main road. When the original owner lived there, the whole house was decked out in Christmas decorations year round, and I’ve heard tell that there were wild, and I mean WILD, parties back in the day.

I often would change my route so that I could drive by the Party House, it fascinated me so. And when the house eventually was foreclosed and the original owner (nay, Creator) died several years ago, I got my realtor to take me through. Because this was such an Indianapolis curiosity, the listing company only wanted serious buyers. (“We’re not serious buyers!” Phil kept telling me.) I had to both get pre-approved for a loan and sign a waiver saying it was my own fault should I hurt myself while in the house, which was not nearly up to code. Open spiral staircases with no rails fell a story onto hard Italianate tile, for example. The foreclosure company was at a loss on how to price the house, and eventually settled around $550 thousand. The house eventually sold for $267 thousand. After it sold, I often would see trucks of lumber and workmen at the house; the outside color was changed from bright blue to a more understated taupe. I was happy someone was finally giving the house some love.

Turns out, they were looking to flip the place. In this economy. In Indianapolis. A neighbor just sent me the listing, and the fully re-pimped house is now being listed for $2.2 million. I was in love with the kooky house, whose eclectic decor was split between a few different styles. The only furniture in the house during my walk-through was a broken tiled end table with three (instead of four) elaborately scrolled metal legs. It could go so many ways, I’d thought. Now it’s been fully staged and committed to one style, reminding me of a lot of the houses (like Whitney and Bobby’s empty house) shown on my friend Julia’s blog, Hooked on Houses.

So, here is my beloved Party House, now fully immersed in new-money, Hollywood style, in a neighborhood otherwise consisting of mid-century ranch houses.

This seems a world away from what Max and I did on Sunday: Starting seeds for the summer using the soil block maker I got for Christmas.

I really (and I mean REALLY) wanted to buy the Party House back when my realtor showed it to me. I kept thinking of the fun (yet dangerous, with those open staircases) parties we could have, and what an experience it would be for kids to grow up in this crazy place. I look at it now and wonder whether its elaborate kitchen with the flat-screen TV would be good for making cold-process soap or sourdough bread. And whether the play-pit couches would be comfortable for knitting Scraps of Beauty throws. And if I’d have to bust up the life-sized dolphin fountain to plant a decent garden.

It’s probably best I don’t have $2.2 million to spare.

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2 thoughts on “The Party House and Changing Dreams

  1. Wow! I remember hearing about the infamous Party House years ago, so I’m pretty excited to finally get a look at the place. That’s pretty wild–and this is the AFTER? You’ll have to let us know if they find a buyer who has $2.2 million to spare, and whether they host any big parties there.

    P.S. Dave would love that soil block maker. He spent the weekend getting our garden ready for spring.

    • The soil block maker will totally change Dave’s life, Julia. Totally. Max and I were kind of sorry when we ran out of potting soil. You’ll have to post pictures of Dave’s handiwork!

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