A Lifetime on Arcadia Park

I am always searching for something when I walk through the door of a house. A while ago, I realized that I want the feeling my grandmother's house on Cooper Drive gave me. We always went to the kitchen door and we never knocked. This seemed wonderful to me; that you could just walk through the door of a house not your own without knocking. Back doors mean familiarity and not knocking is even more familiar. Just inside the door to the immediate left was a cookie jar that held chocolate chip cookies. Always. Next to it was a smaller jar of cookies without chocolate chips (gross) for my sister who was allergic to chocolate. Though she actually hailed from Sandy Hook in eastern Kentucky, my grandmother unfailingly said, "hallooo," in a haughty British accent from wherever she was in the house. Then, she gave us each one cookie.

My grandmother's house provided an escape from my giant family and our messy, chaotic, and hot house. Her air-conditioning was consistently set at 72 degrees, she vacuumed and dusted her house relentlessly and I knew everything would be in the same place as the last time I was there. Nothing ever smelled bad at her house and nothing ever stayed broken. The grass was mowed and the cookies were in the jar. My grandmother never got angry and she listened to everything I said. It is no wonder that when my sister and I ran away from home when I was six-years-old that we were headed to my grandmother's house.

I caught a glimmer of that feeling at Kathryn Luchok and Chris Toumey's house on Arcadia Park. On the surface the two houses couldn't be more dissimilar, Kathryn and Chris's house is a neatly but sparsely furnished two-story brick, while my grandmother's house was an absolutely-full-to-the-top-with-a-lifetime's-collection-of-antiques one and a half story stone house. In fact, the only thing the two houses have in common is their doorknobs (small shiny brass with a back-plate.) I guess the similarity comes from a sense of order, neatness, thrift and perhaps a little nostalgia on my part.

Maybe it is the back door. This is where Kathryn, Chris, and their two children, Vivean and Aidian (and presumably friends and family) enter the house. Kathryn proudly displayed her mudroom, where shelves are neatly stacked with outerwear and gardening supplies.

The mudroom leads to an intact, perfectly maintained, circa 1952 kitchen. We know that the kitchen was renovated in or around 1952 because Kathryn called the manufacturer of the massive white double-oven/cooktop to learn when it was made. They intended to replace the stove but discovered that it works well and because it is so large they are able to use it for extra counter space. Glossy mint-green walls match the woven fabric-patterned mint-green Formica countertops. Vintage aqua and mint curtains (from the 1952 renovation) hang at the windows, including a large picture window in the breakfast nook that overlooks the backyard. While other houses have 50-year-old kitchens, I've seen none so neat, orderly, and in such good shape as to look like a designer-inspired "retro" installation.

Kathryn speaks as though she has a lifetime of memories in this house rather than just 3 years. When she shows me the sun room she tells me that Mrs. Mayhew (the owner of the house from the time it was built until she moved into a nursing home at age 101) used it as a bedroom when she could no longer climb the stairs and describes how the curtains hung then, as though she had been in the bedroom with her. As we tour the backyard, she shows me the brick edging that she and Chris uncovered based on the original plans the Mayhews' grandson gave her. She points out the show-stopping azaleas and the 10-foot-tall forsythia the Mayhews planted, which frame the charming perennial bed she planted in front of the whitewashed picket fence.

Kathryn said her favorite thing about the house is that; "It feels like home. It feels connected to the people who came before."


117 Arcadia Park

3-4 bedrooms

1 1/2 bath

1843 square feet

2-car garage


Contact: Gary Soderman 268-4667

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.