My Childhood Home: Growing Up Around Great Design

My Childhood Home: Growing Up Around Great Design

Aaron Able
Nov 13, 2009

Name: Able family
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Lived In: 1977 - 1983

I learned to appreciate Marimekko, Herman Miller and good design at a young age — I grew up in a small house from 1907 that had been completely gutted and renovated by my parents. My architect dad and design-enthusiast mom did almost all of the work themselves and the home, in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis, was featured in Indianapolis Home in February of 1980 and Home Magazine in 1981.

My parents purchased the home in 1976 but it took 13 months of work to make it habitable (I didn't arrive on the scene until 1979).

While nearly 30 years have yellowed the pages considerably, the scans of the magazine images show a small family home — about 1,200 square feet after renovations — filled with light and a lot of well-made furniture that my parents still use today — a great reminder that investing in quality pieces that you love is always worth it!


  • 2 Ray Wilkes for Herman Miller "Chiclet" sofas upholstered in red wool crepe — these have seen better days, but are still very comfortable!

  • A Marimekko fabric panel hides the original chimney/flue and draws your eye upward to the vaulted ceilings finished with oak flooring.

  • The earlier photo (image 2) shows a family cedar chest as the coffee table. Later (image 1) my parents purchased an Artek school table/desk and cut off the legs

  • The white plastic chairs (image 7) were inspired by Joe Colombo and found at the local department store
  • My family called the colorful artwork Monster Family.

  • The other print (image 7) is a signed Joan Miro)


  • "Prague" bentwood chairs labeled "Stendig | Czechoslovakia" — my parents had these recaned a few years ago and that cost more than the new chairs!

  • My dad made the dining room table out of a solid oak door and stainless steel drafting table legs

  • The dishes and flatware are Dansk — my parents still use these, today!

  • The white shelves in the background were made by my dad to hold their stereo and vinyl record collection


  • The floors are solid white oak and installed on a diagonal

  • The 3 white metal stools stayed with the house when we moved in 1983

  • The Howard Miller clock (image 5) is in my parents' current kitchen

The home was selected as the 1979 winner of the Residential Design Competition by the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

These are the magazine covers — publication design has come a long way.

Images: Don Able, Bill Hopkins

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