Anywhere but here
Last week I suffered from a touch of ennui. I was overwhelmed, not by a general all-encompassing type of ennui, but by a very specific feeling of boredom and
tiredness which resulted from seeing the same house, the same clothes, and sorts of people over and over.
They weren't, of course, the same houses and people; they just all looked the same. I came to realize that we suffer from an overabundance of Ralph Lauren home décor and people wear way too much UK paraphernalia here in the Bluegrass.
So on Thursday when Diana Medalie wrote me asking if I would like to see her house I said, "Sure, why not?" expecting more of the same.
She told me to look for a somewhat hidden driveway on Russell Cave just outside of town. As soon as I entered the tree-lined driveway that leads to the house which is nestled toward the back of 3.12 acres I should have gathered that this was not a typical house.
Diana greeted me at the door of the house she shares with her husband, Daniel and five-year-old twins, wearing not her UK blues but a lovely lilac twin set. Her short, stylish, slightly curly hair announced, "I have come from another world, a world where we disdain highlighting, perms, and bobs." "Hello," I said to Diana. To her hair I said, "I am so glad to see you."
While we were barely outside of New Circle Road, I felt as though I had traveled to another city. A large woven Chinese straw mat hanging on the wall immediately beside the door was a gift from Diana's uncle. I had not taken four steps inside when I confidently asked from where she hailed, knowing the answer would not be, "Here." (I was right, she is from Cleveland.)
The furniture speaks of world travels and an aesthetic cultivated outside of Wildcat country. An ebony Eastlake-style dining room suite anchors the décor. The breakfront is filled with artifacts acquired throughout the world including a large colorful dragon Daniel brought back from Thailand.
From a small entry hall one enters a large dining room/living room with a wood-burning fireplace, crown molding, built-in bookshelves, and a view of the lovely back portion of the lot.
The house was built in 1940 by a Dr. Elkhorn, who was the dean of the medical school at the University, and his wife after their children were grown. The downstairs maintains a fairly traditional floor plan, with a guest suite, (including the tiniest full bath I have ever seen) off the entrance hall and a two-bedroom wing to the other side of the living room. And that is where the traditional ends. Through the bathroom one finds a large solarium with a hot tub. I asked Diana if they ever used the room, expecting her to say no, but instead she answered that they use it almost every day. "On sunny days in the winter it is really warm and in the summer it is very pleasant in the mornings and evenings."
In 1981 a couple from California bought the house, refurbished the first floor and added a second floor. Downstairs they left the floor plan alone for the most part, but added new kitchen cabinets and a lovely, blue Mexican tile floor.
Upstairs two very large bedrooms share a bath and are connected by a large family room. While architecture downstairs has retained much of its 1940s flavor the upstairs bears the marks of an early 80s Californian. Wood panels, reminiscent of barn-siding, adorn much of the walls and finishes the trim, which makes the upstairs feel like a clubhouse, making it the perfect space for children. And perhaps contributes to the feeling that one is anywhere but 10 minutes from downtown Lexington, Kentucky.
Don't get me wrong, I love this city. I admire much about it, but I do think we tend to allow ourselves to get into ruts. I'm doing my part to break free: this week I visited the Medalie's house; next week I am going to run errands in suits (Melrose Place-style) and drink sherry for lunch.
Contact Jean Addleton, 294-2488
If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org.