Best Fine Homes Magazine, Spring 2018
“THE MOST IMPORTANT THING,” Rich Kiley says, “was that we created a space where everyone can be together.”
Standing in the foyer of this sprawling ranch home in Indian Hill, the open floor plan corroborates that story — one that Rich and his wife, Marje, tell with great enthusiasm. The two have lived here since completing their two-year build in 2005.
Hosting is clearly a favorite pastime of the Kileys, and this home was designed to be lived in, celebrated in and loved. Though there is a beautiful formal dining room off the entrance — one that can seat 28 comfortably, Rich adds — it’s quickly apparent that many of the meals at 7800 Tecumseh Trail are held more casually, gathered around the kitchen island or collected at the table near the fireplace.
“What we learned from our last home is that no one wants to be anywhere that everyone else is not,” Rich says. While Marje entertains from the kitchen, she’s able to view guests as they approach from the drive and, with a sweeping glance, see the entire living area, indoors and out. So whether it’s a quiet conversation at the piano or a more lively discussion around the pool on the back patio, everyone remains part of the same gathering.
And if a good host knows how to make everyone feel welcome, a great home makes everyone comfortable. This one does precisely that — it is warm and inviting, elegant without being overdone.
The floor-to-ceiling windows in the living area allow for natural light to fill the space, while the wooded green belt at the property line ensures plenty of privacy. Throughout the home, tubular skylights bring natural light where it’s least expected, allowing you to venture without seeking a light switch. But it’s more than the furniture, the fixtures or the floor plan; every detail in the home has been carefully selected to make it incredibly functional as well as beautiful.
In the kitchen, there are 60 cabinets that tuck away all of the necessary accoutrement for cooking, baking and entertaining — a must for Marje, who not only hosts large dinner parties regularly, but also teaches cooking classes. A butler’s pantry acts as further storage where she can wheel racks in and out to showcase, or hide, certain phases of food preparation. A built-in knife rack keeps the sharps safely nearby. Warming lights are nearly invisible above the original Viking stove, while two of the four dishwashers are tucked away seamlessly as cabinets. Just a few steps from the kitchen, liquor bottles are hidden but readily available for guests at the wet bar, stowed below the counter in vertical pullout cabinets.
It’s these small, practically unnoticeable details that make this home particularly unique — every care has been taken to make life simpler. You can enjoy what you’re doing every moment of the day without minutiae getting in the way.
While Rich is most enamored with the comforts that they’ve engineered into the home — such as multiple HVAC units with 13 controllable heating zones, hot water instantly available anywhere in the home thanks to a commercial recirculating water heater, and a trash room attached to the three-car garage so you never have to go take it out in the cold — Marje points out her own favorite conveniences.
“In our last home, I’d spend an hour, every day, watering my flowers and plants,” she says, directing my attention out to the garden. “Who wants to do that?” Here, they’ve installed a drip line in the gravel of their patio, and each pot has a computer-programmed watering schedule. “Now I can just go out there and snip the batch of chives that have sprung up. Look, it’s time to make vichyssoise!”
Don’t confuse this level of forethought for convenience with rigidity. The home is designed to be flexible for a variety of needs — including once hosting a wedding and annually hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 50 guests. Guest rooms upstairs provide room for overnight stays, while a full suite downstairs with kitchenette offers privacy and quiet for longer-term guests, or as a Mother-in-Law or au pair suite.
Truly, the home is not just an entertainer’s dream — it’s also a guest’s delight. The wide, circular driveway provides ample space for parking while still allowing for ease of departure. Just indoors from the heated lap pool, the floors are thoughtfully covered with Amtico non-slip flooring so guests can quickly and safely make their way to the ice cream parlor — yes, ice cream parlor — which is a wonderfully quaint surprise among an otherwise understated and sophisticated home. The Kileys have left no stone unturned in creating a place where everyone is happy to be, and everyone feels at home.
It’s clear these two have loved their time entertaining in this Indian Hill neighborhood, just 17 minutes from downtown. Though it’s hard to imagine they could improve upon the choices they made here, the Kileys are leaving this home to build another. “I want my chance at one more kitchen,” Marje says, and it’s clear that any future builds will be in good hands.
For whoever gets to take over the helm at this one, there’s just one remaining question: “What time is dinner served?”