Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Laura Arick and submitted
This month we are featuring Zionsville resident and architect Todd Rottmann, with Rottmann Collier Architects. Many of you have driven past Rottmann’s work along north Main Street and throughout the village. Celebrated for their revitalization of neighborhoods and preserving the historic charm of many downtown areas, including numerous Indianapolis neighborhoods, Rottmann and his partner, Rod Collier, were invited to join HGTV’s mother-and-daughter duo Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak on their show “Good Bones” this season.
Rottmann graduated from Ball State University and worked for a firm before joining an art studio in the former Faris Building in downtown Indianapolis. He started his own firm back in 1997, where he met fellow Zionsville resident and creative type Rob Harrell.
“I’ve been designing houses and revitalizing neighborhoods in downtown Indianapolis for almost 25 years,” Rottmann said. “After being inspired by being downtown and being part of the culture, I quit my job and started my own firm and operated out of that art studio, and that became our office.”
Rottmann and Collier have touched nearly every historic neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis in one way or another over the years. Their most notable project is Fall Creek Place.
“I, along with Sandford Garner, designed the prototypes houses, multifamily townhomes, retail and live-work spaces in that 25-square-block project,” Rottmann shared. “Then we reviewed everything that got built in that neighborhood for five years.”
Rottmann moved from the Indianapolis area to Zionsville upon a visit to the town, where he immediately fell in love.
“As soon as I pulled into town with all the [mature] trees and the little Main Street, I thought, well, this is it—I’ve got to live here. Within a year, we were living here. This is the best place to raise a family. We get that downtown walkable character, yet we have an awesome school system, so we don’t have to worry about where the kids are going to go to school.”
Rottmann has brought his urban redevelopment expertise and skills to Zionsville, where his firm has designed 30 additions, renovations or new builds throughout Zionsville with a heavy focus on the village. He is currently working on two new constructions, residential properties at 160 N. Main and 260 N. Main Street. InterActive Academy is one of Rottmann’s longtime clients, and his firm is also working with the City of Carmel on a brand-new townhome development in the downtown core.
“I like to continue to challenge myself, so my business partner [Rod] and I decided that we would also do development, and so we’ve done five different development deals in the village,” Rottmann said. “I’m also the chairman of the Zionsville Architectural Review Committee, which is responsible for administering the grants for revitalization for buildings on Main Street.”
Rottmann and his wife, Sherry, have been renovating their own home for seven years and are still happily married. They and their four kids have endured the pain and pleasures of living in construction. “She [Sherry] has been my loving renovation partner.”
Rottmann’s father and stepmother also fell in love with Zionsville after coming up from Georgia to visit, and his dad has assisted Rottmann with his renovation work in town and moved to Zionsville, where they live in one of Rottmann’s homes on Main Street.
Preserving and repurposing are two very important principles to Rottmann.
“Everything that we can’t use [in existing homes] is donated to ReStore for Habitat for Humanity,” Rottmann emphasized. “I do not like to see anything with historic character, charm or integrity go into a landfill if it can be avoided. Having worked downtown with historical neighborhoods for years, 90% of the time we’re saving a house. The idea of demolition doesn’t even come into play unless we absolutely have to. Just like all the shows you see an HGTV where they’re knocking down walls and opening things up, we try to convert the home, so they offer modern living spaces but keep their historic charm.”
Rottmann and Collier’s architectural expertise and impeccable reputation attracted HGTV stars Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak, who host the popular series “Good Bones,” filmed in Indianapolis. The duo renovates houses and helps to improve neighborhoods.
“They [Laine and Starsiak] contacted us, and I met with Nina, Karen and their team,” Rottmann said. “It was an instant love affair. We [Rottmann and Collier] started designing houses for them for season four, which just started airing last month. We ended up designing about half of the houses for this season, and on the very first house that I was working on with them, they were having trouble getting a door off its hinges, so I hopped in there and started prying it off. Then they wanted to save a transom and lead glass out of a door, and I took that out.”
He said that halfway through the episode, Laine and Starsiak had the crew mic up Rottmann for the remainder of the episode.
“I became Karen’s partner salvaging things all around the house, and I had so much fun doing it that Rod joined in, and we worked on the demolition of four different houses with them,” Rottmann said. “I’m interviewed on two of the episodes about things that we found in the houses that were interesting and about some curious situations, but you’ll need to tune in and watch to find out about those.”
Viewers will see Rottmann and Collier doing some demolition, as well as consulting on this season’s “Good Bones” projects that were filmed at their firm’s downtown office.
When asked what he took away from this incredible experience, Rottmann exclaimed, “I happen to love HGTV, and so when there was an opportunity for me to be on this program that’s on my TV all the time, it was like the coolest thing ever! It was a blast, and Karen, Mina and their crew are hilarious. You will not only be entertained, but what makes the show so special is the mother-and-daughter dynamic and witnessing their struggles and successes. To be a part of that this season was just amazing.”
To contact Rottmann Collier Architects, visit rottmanncollier.com.