fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

Emily and the Ink Factory

By Anthea Gerrie | Photography by Sara Essex Bradley

It might not sound that promising as a prospective home, but Emily Young fell in love with a former ink factory in downtown Indianapolis before she even realized it was a residence. “The architect who converted it had done renovations to make the space livable, but it needed work to make it my own,” she says.

Now, thanks to a bold and talented decorator, this distinctly industrial building that could still be mistaken for a bunker conceals an unexpectedly glamorous three-bedroom home. It is lavished with luxe materials that soften and dress up the old factory without attempting to obliterate its industrial heritage.

The industrial bones of this former ink factory are honored in the concrete floor and exposed ceiling of the open living room, softened with a textured marble kitchen backsplash.

Young and her husband, Jim, hired New Orleans decorator Chad Graci to work his magic on the distinctly non-homey house they had fallen in love with for its bones, its light, and, most of all, its extra wall space for their art collection. “They have a condo in New Orleans that I had decorated,” explains Graci, who describes the look of the house he was handed as a blank canvas. The problem with what in many ways was a promising space was that its previous owners had not done it justice, he says, noting it was “hard and cold, with a lot of the clichés you find in industrial redos—it just didn’t work.”

A pair of sumptuous blue leather chairs add an immediate touch of home when the Youngs sit down to breakfast at the kitchen island.

The first thing to address, he felt, was the fabric of the interior. It was a glorious challenge for Graci, known for his transformational use of luxurious materials and decorative techniques. Sheetrock walls were softened with Venetian plastering, paint was enriched with lacquer finishes, and countertops, floors, and backsplashes were treated to a complete face-lift with Calacatta marble. Existing cinder block walls were left exposed in homage to the home’s industrial origins. The polished concrete floor, which was installed when the conversion to a residence was made a decade ago, was cleaned up rather than replaced. One thing that was replaced, however, was a hideously basic bathroom that Graci recalls “resembled an army barracks; we put in a new gold marble floor and shower.”

Silver makes its appearance in this house alongside gold, most notably in the silver-leaf coating for a pair of art deco–style ribbed cabinets flanking the front door. Graci describes this design decision for the foyer as “unexpectedly glamorous materials to encounter when stepping into a concrete box.”

A pair of ribbed silver-painted art deco–style cabinets flank the front door, offering visitors an immediate impression of luxury and glamour when they step beyond the threshold of the unassuming industrial building in the warehouse district.

When it came to planning the vast living space at the heart of the house, Graci opted to repaint white Sheetrock walls a softer shade of off-white while leaving the cinder block gray and refinishing the baseboards in espresso lacquer. A sunken area around an existing fireplace that the owners loved forms a conversation pit, while above, the living space opens to a formal dining area. Beyond sits an open kitchen treated with a spectacular marble tile backsplash and countertop matching the white marble on the island.

A fireplace inherited from the previous owners is a cozy focal point in the intimate step-down seating area of the main living space.

Not all the furniture is brand-new; a pair of elegant pale blue leather chairs from the couple’s previous Indianapolis pull up to the island. “A pop of color was really needed,” says Graci, who also made a bold decision to lay a wool vintage rug between the sink and the island. “I am so tired of kitchens that feel stark and cold, and this is not a couple who cooks every night,” he explains. Indeed, the Youngs travel frequently, often in connection with their racehorses. A study closed off from the main living space is where they display their equestrian trophies. There is also a bar with room for a prized tequila collection and a large wine refrigerator in the kitchen pantry.

A large, vivid-hued abstract painting brings a pop of color to the monochrome living area.

The choice of purple velvet to upholster the master bed, which Graci designed for the couple, poses the question of whether, given the gold marble bathroom, a Mardi Gras theme may have been intended. “No, but I do find myself drawn to the use of gold, purple, and green!” he confesses.

There is also gold in the iridescent glass bedside lamps, but the star feature of the room is the dozens of handmade ceramic flowers by New Orleans artist Bradley Sabin, who installed them on the wall above the bed, giving the impression of birds in flight.
A private den closed off from the main living space is where the Youngs display their equestrian trophies.

A teenage daughter’s bedroom is fittingly pretty in pink, with floor-to-ceiling rose-colored taffeta drapes and pink reprised in both a cushion and a picture above the bed. Metallic gold appears again in a glass bubble lamp on the dresser and gold leaf lining the plaster cups of a pendant hung from the ceiling to reflect soft light.

Individually handmade ceramic flowers were installed by the maker, New Orleans artist Bradley Sabin, on the wall of the master bedroom.

There is even a touch of gold in the paved courtyard that divides the house from an annex containing a garage, a home gym, and guest’s quarters. It covers a drain embossed with a fleur-de-lis, an official symbol of Louisiana and the Big Easy and a statement in itself—of homage, perhaps, or simply homesickness. The Indianapolis ink factory may be the couple’s principal address, but New Orleans has also claimed a piece of their hearts. It shows in the choice of a decorator known for his flamboyance inspired by that Southern party town the Youngs have also come to consider home.

— V —

See more of Chad Graci’s projects at GraciInteriors.com.

Anthea Gerrie is based in the UK but travels the world in search of stories. Her special interests are architecture and design, culture, food, and drink, as well as the best places to visit in the world’s great playgrounds. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, the Independent, and Blueprint.

Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail