Input Home Tours: French musicians share their hobbit-inspired home in North Highlands Neighborhood

As more residents hunker down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, we're seizing the opportunity to explore some of the coolest and most interesting living spaces in Northeast Indiana as a part of our new Input Home Tours series.

This week, stay-at-home gardener and mom,
Lyndsy Rae Porter, shares her family’s “Hobbit House” in the 1800 block of Emerson Ave.

The Porter Family, from left, includes Oliver, 4, Lyndsy Rae, Giana, 12, Ben, and Rew Jupiter, 1, in their living room of their home.

Tell us a little bit about your home.

Our home was built in the 1940s. It is a Cape-Cod-style home that has three bedrooms, one-and-a-half baths, and a basement that we've turned into a recording studio.

We call it “The Hobbit House.” It is electric, Bohemian, and modern.

The living room features a lot of color and plants.

Who lives in your home?

My husband (Ben Porter) and myself (Lyndsy Rae Porter), as well as our children: Jiana, Oliver, and Rew Jupiter.
How long have you lived in this home?

Eight years.

Lyndsy Rae Porter, left, and Ben Porter, in their kitchen.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves: How long you’ve lived in Fort Wayne and where you work around town.

Ben and I are both French musicians who play in a band together and separately. We love traveling to faraway places and learning about different cultures. We love volunteering in our community and spending time with family and friends, too.  

I love gardening with my children and house plants. I have a degree in French and enjoy teaching children the language.

Ben loves to cook every evening for his family and friends. He is always sourcing local ingredients, making friends with the farmers market folks, to try out new recipes from Food & Wine magazine.

Pots and pans are hung up in a creative way in the kitchen.

Ben moved to Fort Wayne from Paris, France, when he was 13 and has been here ever since. I was born and raised here. 

Ben has worked at Sweetwater for 12 years, and I am a stay-at-home gardener and mom.

The kitchen features a lot of plants and woodwork at the Porter family home.

What inspired you to move into this home, of all places?

We looked at a lot of places and instantly fell in love with this house and neighborhood. It’s super close to Hamilton Park, not far from downtown Fort Wayne, and not far from Sweetwater. It’s also near a lot of our family and friends. We have a family member drop by at least every other day. The rule of thumb is: If the curtains are pulled back you can come on in. 

We really hated to leave West Central Neighborhood downtown (where we lived before here), but we really wanted a bigger yard to play with the kiddos and a place to garden and compost.

Lyndsy Rae Porter sits with Rew Jupiter, 1, in their living room on Thursday April 8, 2021.

Tell us about your neighborhood and what you love about living there.

The neighborhood is so charming to raise a family. We’re able to wagon ride and bike ride each evening. Everyone is so friendly in the North Highlands Neighborhood. You see all the regular humans and dogs out walking, so you wave and catch up. It’s so nice. Being close to the park is just far too perfect, as well.

Exterior shot at the Porter family home.

During COVID-19, at a time when so many Americans are spending more time in their homes than usual, have you found yourself making design updates to your space? If so, what are they?

Absolutely! We actually had to get this photoshoot done right before we started knocking walls down. We learned that our house was too small for our family during the pandemic. We were living on top of each other and realized we’d outgrown our space.

We are in the process of adding a family room and bedroom expansion. The structure has already gone up in the back. There are 10-plus huge windows for all my plants and a fireplace being put in. We did lots of painting and furniture updates during the pandemic shutdown itself. We are always doing something to our house every weekend. 

The living room and dining room areas feature a lot of color.

Where do you find your design inspiration?

Our color palette is very much so inspired by Freda Kahlo, and the feeling we go for is hands-down the Hobbit house. 

The Porter family collects a key every time they travel to a new place.

Our inspiration comes from our travels, too. Every design choice is based off a place that we’ve visited together as a couple: Africa, Italy, France, Ireland, Reno, Nevada, Seattle, and more.

We frequently get inspired by the Airbnbs where we stay and the things we see around cities we visit.  

The entry way mural at the Porter family home.
Have you faced any design challenges in your current space, and if so, how did you overcome them?

We’ve never really faced any design challenges because every crazy over-the-top idea that I start and can’t finish, Ben usually fixes for me. He is thorough, informed, and creative; whereas I am more of a wild bohemian tornado.

Plants are used as a major décor point at the Porter family home.

What is your favorite room/space in your home? Tell us about it.

I really love our living room—not only because of all the windows, but also because of the fireplace. On the fireplace, we created the mosaic out of scavenged glass that my grandpa gleaned for us out of a good friend’s trash. There are pieces of friends’ broken necklaces and stones from our travels mixed in, too. It’s so unique and reminds us if our trips to Morocco. 

Colorful mosaic work on the Porter family fireplace.

What is your favorite piece of furniture or décor in your home? Tell us about it.

We absolutely love our coffee cup tree branch. It was our first Christmas tree that we cut down to put in our home. We upcycle our trees every year and incorporate them into our interior.

Mugs are hung from a piece of the Porter’s very first Christmas tree in the kitchen at the Porter family home.
Any fun tips or tricks for home updates on a budget?

Do it right the first time. Don’t cut corners. Lots of thrifting and yard sales. Secondhand is not only cheaper, but way better for the environment—a double plus.
Last but not least, tell us what you love about Fort Wayne and why you are choosing to make your home here?

There are many reasons we’ve chosen Fort Wayne. After traveling all around the world, it is where my family is rooted. It’s a place where we have found community, music, and friendship that is wholesome and rare. 

Giana’s room.

Giana’s room.

The loft area upstairs features a lot of books.

The loft area upstairs is cozy.

The downstairs recording studio at the Porter family home.


Read more articles by Kara Hackett.

Kara Hackett is a Fort Wayne native fascinated by what's next for northeast Indiana how it relates to other up-and-coming places around the world. After working briefly in New York City and Indianapolis, she moved back to her hometown where she has discovered interesting people, projects, and innovations shaping the future of this place—and has been writing about them ever since. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karahackett.
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