Whenever I am blue (cabin fever and a series of vomiting incidents involving the young people in my house have left me feeling that way today) I visit my friends Gay and Jimmy. First because they are funny and hyper in a cynical and urbane kind of way that just doesn't have room for a funk. Like me, they can listen and talk at the same time, (I swear it can be done; just ask anybody with a big family) which makes for some very fast paced conversations.

Second because I know when I visit their store, Medusa, I can always find something interesting that I wasn't expecting such as the porcupine quill framed convex mirror (which I bought) or something I dreamed of but never expected to see in Lexington, KY such as the stacked globe crystal Italian lamps or the woven leather poufs and vintage mirrored dressing table that I saw in Elle Dècor a few months ago. It just makes me feel better to know that such things can be bought in our very own town.

Mostly I tell them they are fabulous, they tell me I am fabulous (as if that wouldn't cheer about anybody up) then we critique everybody else. We usually talk about what terrible taste everybody in this town has (except their customers of course) lamenting that if we see one more square inch of hunter green or burgundy accenting a horse print we are moving. (Many of the houses in Hartland might collapse if all the Ralph Lauren and faux-RL products were removed.)

So after I went to see the French country manse on Tates Creek Pike, I ran to tell them about it because, being creatures of wonderful taste and style, I knew they would both appreciate and understand it.

"It's fabulous," I began.

The house Bert and Yvonne Holbrook built and furnished 30 years ago to resemble a French country home took a decidedly disco turn and the result can be called nothing but lush. When the front door swings open the first glimpse tells visitors that they are in for an Experience. A white iron rail leads up a curved stairway lined with mirrors. Black and white tile floors manage to appear understated next to gold foil wallpaper depicting line drawings of 20s vamps. A girl could just sink into the very formal living room which beckons with luxurious thick carpet, walls dripping with custom made gilded molding of every variety and sumptuous creamy silk draperies, swags and jabots edged with golden trim. Doors open from this room onto a tiny but densely planted brick courtyard accessible only from this room.

The entire back of the house opens onto an 850 square foot veranda. Beyond the veranda topiary boxwood, Japanese maples, and stone statuary surround a formal swimming pool. A painted brick wall encloses the garden.

Many elements in the dècor make it clear that someone involved in the design of the house visited France such as the coral and olive colored hibiscus tree and urn painted on the pantry door and wall in the breakfast room. Most of the walls are adorned with something. Wooden trellis walls accent the two-toned blush-colored counter tops of the kitchen; the kitchen cabinets and black lava rocks, set in mortar and painted white, run along the interior width of the house.

The downstairs bedroom was at one time intended to be a den, evidenced by large light fixtures dripping with crystals, which hang from chains in front of smoky mirrors. They work rather well as bedside lighting over painted white tables.

While slightly less ornate, the upstairs is no less luxurious with its huge (it was converted from a bedroom) walk-in closet, balcony overlooking the magnificently landscaped back garden and decadent redwood sauna.

I love this house for the same reason I love Jimmy and Gay. Because it cheers me up to see something done well and with gusto. And because they make you feel as though you have to be fabulous yourself to understand how fabulous they all are.

2725 Tates Creek Road


4312 Square Feet

2 full 2 half baths

5 bedrooms

3/4 acre

Contact Ted Schneider 253-2939

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