Once home to champion thoroughbreds, Lost Run Farm affords luxury living in a private countryside community in Indiana.
Tucked quietly away amid the lush meadows, ancient woodlands, and clear running creeks of Indiana’s countryside, Lost Run Farm is a private community with a storied past. Originally named Arbywood Farm, the 80-acre property located in the town of Zionsville was once home to well-known Indianapolis natives Ronnie and Lucy Woodard.
Ronnie raised champion thoroughbreds on the expansive estate, one of which won the British Grand National in 1964, while Lucy earned her place in history breeding German shepherds, producing six champions from a single litter — a feat that has only been accomplished twice in history.
Although the Woodards cherished their charmed life on the remarkable country manor, they decided to preserve the farm in a way that would allow others to likewise enjoy the land. So for three years the couple worked with developers on a master plan to create a small number of premier homesites on the property while maintaining the natural surroundings.
With the plan in place, the next step was to create the perfect model home. Builders Scott Bates and Christopher Carnell were in charge of the exterior, while designers Lana Williams and Jennifer Ousley were tapped to outfit the interior. “This was a rare opportunity to create an elegant estate that reflects the magnificence of the surrounding property,” Williams says. Her chosen theme? Western grandeur.
From the outside, the residence evokes the image of a refined country manor, combining natural stone and brick with cedar shake shingles and heavy timber. Indoors, the spacious 9,500-square-foot home features five bedrooms, seven baths, private in-law quarters, five fireplaces, a glass elevator, and a radius staircase that leads to a lower level and walkout.
“Working with the scale of the home was our biggest challenge,” says Williams, who wanted the home, despite its size, to feel warm and inviting. “The ceilings stretch 14 to 22 feet high, so balancing the furnishings, art, and lighting with that scale took a tremendous effort. Lighting was especially important.”
Designed as a place for entertaining, the home features an impressive chef’s kitchen, which is open to the formal dining area. Custom hand-scraped cabinetry, beautiful granite countertops, and high-end appliances make the kitchen both elegant and functional, while the large copper hood above the stovetop adds a stunning focal point. “The hood was designed by us and handcrafted by Clyde Pennington of Intuitive Iron,” Williams says. “Interestingly, he is both a firefighter and a blacksmith.”
As guests descend the elegantly curving staircase to the lower level, they discover a gathering area furnished with a Spanish camelback sofa and two swivel rocking chairs flanking the fireplace. “By design, there is no television above the fireplace,” Williams says. “This is a gathering space fashioned with a men’s cigar lounge-style atmosphere. The room simply beckons people to sit and join in the conversation.” Instead of staring at a screen, guests can take in the view afforded by a wall of windows that look out onto the patio and manicured meadows beyond. “The views are simply striking,” Williams says.
Adjacent to the sitting area, a fully outfitted game room offers poker, billiards, and board games, and a grotto-style wine cellar replicates wine caves found in ancient Tuscany. “The room started out as a square white space,” Williams says. “We used old barn wood on the ceiling and walls to give the room an aged appearance. Then Dave Schmidt of PJB Designs cast faux pillars out of plaster, which were made to look like stacked stone columns. Finally we added old clay roof tiles of different sizes to hold the bottles. The result is really remarkable.”
To make the home complete, Williams and her team wanted to create an idyllic haven for the homeowners to retreat to at day’s end. “Relaxation, rejuvenation. That was our goal for the owners’ private suite,” the designer notes. Elegant and spa-like, the bedroom features a high barrel ceiling, thick cream-colored carpet, and walls washed in a muted shade of blue-green that changes color throughout the day. The headboard was custom-made, with a tufted silk pillow center bordered by hand-forged metal also by blacksmith Clyde Pennington.
Opposite the bed, the sitting area features a chaise longue covered in Mongolian lambskin and fitted with soft pillows. A vintage mirror, side table, and lamp create an inviting area to read or simply repose.
The master bath exudes the same serene atmosphere, with marble wainscoting, teakwood accents, and a chandelier all adding a sense of glamour.
Looking back on the project, Williams is proud to have achieved her desired effect. “Working with the scale of the house and making it feel warm and comfortable regardless of the number of guests was important,” she says. “In the end, the home flows beautifully. The architecture speaks for itself.”
From the July 2013 issue.