Home tour benefits Eskenazi Health


By Mary Farucci

Established in 1961, the Decorators’ Show House & Gardens nonprofit is celebrating its 63rd anniversary with its signature fundraising event with a tour of the historic Sylvan House at Northern Estates on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

Built in 1927, the Tudor-style home will be open for tours April 27 through May 12

Presented by the nonprofit St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild, a volunteer organization that raises funds and services for Eskenazi Health, the annual Decorators’ Show House & Gardens is the longest-running show house event in the U.S. It is also the organization’s largest fundraiser for the John & Kathy Ackerman Mental health Professional Development Center at Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center.

Mandy Heslin, president of the St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild, said the organization’s fundraising efforts are in the third year of a four-year partnership with Eskenazi Health. The goal is to raise $1 million for the John and Kathy Ackerman Center for Professional Development at the Sandra Eskenazi Health Center.

Homes chosen for the annual tour, such as the Sylvan House, are chosen through a process that includes meeting specific criteria.

A lot of the homes used for the Show House are typically historical,” Heslin said. “They all have some sort of interesting feature.”

All featured homes must have four or more bedrooms. They also must have a front and back staircase for flow and have between 8,000 to 12,000 square feet of space, with 10,000 square feet being the average. For those reasons, many of the homes that are selected are on Meridian Street, Pennsylvania Street or Washington Boulevard because they meet the criteria.

We are always looking for potential houses, and it’s through word of mouth,” Heslin said. “We drive by a house, we think, ‘OK, that looks beautiful from the outside.’ So, we send a letter to the homeowner asking if they have two staircases and if they would like to be a show house. It’s very grassroots in the way we find homes because you need a homeowner who is willing to move out and let over 20 people decorate their spaces as they see fit, and then move back in.”

Indianapolis homeowner Lori Bradbury’s home was selected as the Show House n 2022. She was delighted to participate.

I’ve wanted to be a show house since we moved in (about eight) years ago,” she said. “Before that, I was always enamored with the homes the Guild has done in the past and the association with charity. It’s a win-win for everyone. Our experience working with the Guild and designers was nothing short of fantastic. So much detail is put into the event, and it’s been done for 60-plus years, so you know they know what they’re doing.”

Besides the home tour, the two-week Decorators’ Show House & Gardens event includes live music, food for purchase and floral arrangement, among other attractions.

For more or to purchase tickets, which start at $35, visit ShowHouseIndy.org.