When Robert Taylor goes to work as managing partner with Grant Thornton LLP, the executive's thoughts are usually focused on serving clients and staying competitive. "I like to win in the market space we play in," he acknowledges with a grin.

 

Come time to head home to Amberley Village, however, his thoughts are focused entirely on his family and home. "No question. I have very few hobbies," observes the native Cincinnatian and devoted soccer dad. "I almost never miss one of my children's soccer games."

 

Taylor lives with his wife Anne"”a regional sales manager with Prudential Financial"”in Rollman Estates, a hundred-home subdivision built by Zaring Homes in the mid 1990s on the site of the old Rollman Farm. The Taylor homestead is situated overlooking the 275-acre French Park, the former Herbert French estate. (French was a founder of the village, who named it after the English town of Amberley, his favorite vacation destination.)

 

Taylor notes his development was actually a Homearama site a few years back. "This house was under construction during Homearama that year. It [Homearama] was on the next street over."

 

The Taylors have since put their own stamp on the 12-room house. "We renovated the basement and put in a play area for the kids," notes Bob, who has two daughters, Anastacia, 12, and Alexandra, 9. And, "we're in the process of planning a whole new kitchen."

 

Or, as Anne puts it, "We kind of take it room by room."

 

The Taylors favor what they call "livable" furniture. "Some people tend to have more formalized rooms. But with us, there are no off-limits for the kids in the house," he explains.

 

The expansively lit house is appointed with tasteful striped wallpaper, cherry woodwork, touches of floral, tones of salmon, all under a cathedral ceiling.  Paintings on the walls includes three English manor homes by Marty Bell. "We bought them all at the same time," notes Anne.

 

The rooms flow into each other in a fashion that makes it perfect for the large parties and wine tastings that the couple host for 50 people or more. A piano room serves for the family's musical passions, while a study operates as Anne's home office.

And a terrace deck overlooks French Park. "Anne loves to garden."

 

ALL ABOUT AMBERLEY

Taylor points to Amberley Village as an idyllic setting for the family's comfortable home. Located just five minutes from a Ronald Reagan/Cross County Highway on-ramp, the spacious house is settled in the lush forestry of the village.

 

Amberley is itself an anachronism: Covering five square miles with 26 miles of winding tree-lined streets, the area serves a population of just 3,425. The community seems as if it's frozen from a moment in time. Over the years, village council has successfully battled off strip malls and chain restaurants, preserving the rural character of Amberley. (When a cow escaped from one of the village's few remaining farms, adjoining Rollman Estates, it was able to roam the woods of the village"”notably French Park"”for more than a year before being caught.)

 

The Jewish population is strong here, some 30 percent of the community, symbolized by the four synagogues located within its borders. Orthodox Jews are often seen walking to Friday services to those synagogues, clustered within a half-mile of each other.

 

Among Hamilton County's 48 political jurisdictions, Amberley ranks first in the percentage of children enrolled in private school (52 percent); otherwise, village families are served by Cincinnati Public Schools. Census statistics place the village first in the percentage of veterans (21 percent), first in the percentage who drive alone to work (93 percent) and tops in percentage of those who work in real estate (6 percent). Not surprisingly, the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors building is just down the road on Knollcrest Drive.

 

The village has seen multiple visits by U.S. presidents, most notably at the Belkay Lane home of attorney Stan Chesley.

 

"The history of Amberley is very interesting," observes Julie Back, sales vice president at Sibcy Cline. Back often lists properties in the village, including Rollman Reserve/Camden Homes and the aforementioned Chesley mansion, currently on the market for a cool $1.9 million.

 

"Some of Cincinnati's most notable families chose decades ago to create their family estates within the village," she notes.

 

BACK AT WORK

At the office, Taylor leads the Tristate division of the nation's fifth largest accounting firm. Grant Thornton provides a broad range of financial, tax and advisory services to middle-market companies.

 

"We fill the space between the Big 4 and the local firms," says the Miami University grad. "We have the resources of national, but we're small enough that we can provide that service in a personalized way that larger companies can't."

 

The 120-person Tristate office is thriving, having grown from 90 employees in the past year. "I think growth is important, but it needs to be the last part of your strategic plan. It can't be growth for growth's sake.

 

"Our industry has had its challenges: Tyco, Enron, Sunbeam, the list goes on," Taylor adds. "And our industry has gone through tax products that are now being challenged."

 

Every day, Taylor focuses on maintaining trust with clients: "Being truthful and being consistent"”if you go into every meeting sticking to these points, a value system and practicing with integrity, then things tend to work out over time."

 

"The Cincinnati practice is focused locally and locally managed," Taylor emphasizes. This translates into good news for Greater Cincinnati. "We find a higher commitment to reach out into the community and provide our employees volunteer time. I define this as part of being a good corporate citizen."

 

Personally, Taylor works a great deal with the Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America. "I came back to it when I saw a bumper sticker in a parking lot," says the former Eagle Scout. "It said, 'America is returning to the virtues that scouting never left'."

 

Taylor also finds time to serve on an advisory board at Miami University, as well as other charitable commitments.

 

All this"”and a committed soccer dad, too.