And the runner-up is...
The headlines tell us that at the moment EVERYONE is flush.
And lots of people have LOTS of money. So I thought, OK, if money is no object what kind of house can you buy in Lexington? Obviously the sky is the limit if you want a horse farm (I understand Spendthrift is for sale.) But say you just want a house, in town, what can you get?
I consulted the Lexington Area Board of Realtor's web page (lbar.com) to find the most expensive residence in Fayette County. That was the easy part.
I called the listing agent of the Most Expensive House ($3 million). She said, "Call my broker." I did. The broker said, "Call me next week." I did. Several times. No one ever returned my call. Maybe they don't need the business.
So I moved on to the Second Most Expensive House ($2.3 million), thinking that I might be snubbed again. This time the charming realtor, Susan Ridenour, called me back within 10 minutes and within a few hours scheduled an appointment to show me the house. It is more accurate to call 3105 Warrenwood Wynd an estate than just a "house in town." If we were in Europe the house would have a clever or grand name but we are in Kentucky, so it doesn't. However, some of the rooms in the house have pretty grand titles: as the house's formal space, the 21x70 square foot "Pavilion" contains a living room, dining area, and music area. "The North Gallery" runs the length of the house.
I commented to Susan that this house reminded me of a house in Los Angeles or Palm Springs; most of the rooms open onto an atrium that is planted with lime and grapefruit trees (each one has its own built-in irrigation system). But it is also different from California houses. Better really. (Alongside the citrus trees are formally planted boxwood and purple wave petunias in hanging baskets.) I had to ask, "Where are the owners from?" And as I suspected, they are from Kentucky.
This house has over 11,000 square feet but you would never know it. All of the rooms feel just the right size. Well, the Pavilion is almost the size of my backyard and the butler's pantry is bigger than my kitchen but the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen are quite manageable. It seems that no matter how much they have, Kentuckians just don't want anyone to think they have too much.
As I ate lunch with one of the wealthiest women in Central Kentucky, I noticed she pulled at her waistband every time she stood up. Finally, as we walked to the door she said, "I have just got to get some new pantyhose, the elastic in all mine is shot."
While this house has it all, and quite frankly, is most impressive, it also says, "I'm just a house."
It feels as though it needs exactly as much space as it occupies. It justifies every room's existence so well that one really feels that none of the rooms or spaces could be eliminated. The design and decor combine the traditional (fireplaces, red brick and bookcases) with the contemporary (sky lights, can lights and pane-less windows and doors) seamlessly.
The library/den best exemplifies the character of the house. The bearskin rug on the floor in front of the fireplace, the bookcase that runs up to the 15-foot ceiling, lush window treatments and lots of family photos make this nine-o'clock-at-night-in-the-middle-of-winter room cozy and comfortable. It is large enough to hold a desk and a comfortable sofa yet there is no wasted space.
I have to admit that, in the back of my mind, I expected this house to be overwhelming and tacky; after all, it was built in the late 80s (the last time everyone was flush), but the house, gardens, and pool are Architectural Digest-ly beautiful. It feels so comfortable and its design so impressed me that I decided I'll take it.
3105 Warrenwood Wynd
11,485 square feet
3 car garage
Contact: Susan Ridenour 294-2148 (voicemail)
If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org.