If you’ve ever been to Homearama, you know it’s your chance to scope out the latest in luxury homes, see all the latest bells and whistles, ogle or buy big ticket items — and that’s just the beginning. This year, there are two Homeramas: one in Norton Commons and the other in Mt. Washington. Both are chock-full of beautiful, covet-worthy homes and decor — but this Homearama is different.
Different for one house in particular: a gray bungalow in Norton Commons on the main drag of the new Homearama section. Usually, a builder drafts the plans for the home and does most of the interior design, as well. That’s not the case for this house. Here, builder Scott Yates of Paragon Homes drafted the bungalow’s floorplan and then handed it over to Leslie Newton Thompson from Carriage House. She has been the lead designer for the entire house, from top to bottom. Assisting her have been Juliannah Colson and Meredith Gregory, also from Carriage House.
Last fall, we asked Leslie if we could follow her journey from start to completion and she graciously allowed us to tag along for the ride. We wanted to show the house before it was decorated because there are so many details and interesting design elements that we wanted to profile them, free from the distractions of furniture or decor. So here, you can see it bare and then go see the incredible finished product at Homearama. Seeing the path to completion will make you appreciate it all the more. It really is amazing!
What sets this house apart is its feel. Leslie intentionally crafted a vision for it, including the type of person who would live in it. Here’s what inspired her decisions and selections:
Known as the Whitman cottage, this house is meant to blend the old (1900s) with the new (2016). She imagines it as if a 32-year-old Walt Whitman were living in 2016 Norton Commons and writing here in Louisville. He has a collection of beautiful art, and fantastic arts-and-crafts-style furniture.
On the cover of her design binder, which she calls her “bible,” she has this quote by Walt Whitman: “Happiness, not in another place but this place … Not for another hour, but for this hour.”
To be clear, this is a cottage, not a McMansion. There is no showboating. It is a refined, modern house with quiet sensibilities and functionality.
We are going to take you behind the scenes of this house, showing you the progress from beginning to end. It is beautifully empty and free from distraction. We wanted to point out all the purposeful details that have been included so that when you go through it for Homearama, you’ll see it furnished but will have a greater appreciation for the details you may have otherwise missed. Before we get started, here are a few things to notice:
Paint — Paint colors are simple and modern. There are only five colors throughout the whole home. The include Sherwin Williams Roseate (girl’s bedroom), Benjamin Moore Sail Cloth (master bedroom and other upstairs bedroom), Benjamin Moore Lead Gray (Jack and Jill bathroom cabinets), Sherwin Williams Peppercorn (kitchen and master bath cabinets) and Benjamin Moore White Dove (all other walls and trim).
Light fixtures — The light fixtures are all so unique and appropriate to each space. They are all industrial, with an old feel and modern functioning.
Floors — Notice the special tile designs and hardwood floors throughout.
Textures — Basic elements such as wood, tile or brick take on new meaning when they are designed artistically.
Alright! Let’s take a look!
There is bead and batten paneling around the perimeter of the foyer. This is completely decorative, similar to wainscoting. It is a simple adornment that packs a lot of punch upon entering the home. The hardwood floors are not shiny and new; they are white oak and made to look distressed. The hardwood floor is mitered around a herringbone exposed-brick center in the middle of the foyer.
This area contains a den, a study and a dining area, as well as a kitchen, and it’s filled with natural light — so much so that only two large light fixtures will be in this area — one in the den, and one in the kitchen. Windows are on either dormer on both sides of the rooms. The most important detail in the room is above — look up to see the ceilings with shiplap wood paneling. Shiplap is an interlocking, rustic wood inlay that is tightly sealed and very durable. It is different from beadboard in that you can see the individual boards and the channels between them. Also notice the exposed beams along the ceiling, drawing the eye upward to the beautiful windows and ceiling.
As with this entire house, the kitchen is reminiscent of the older quality standards of craftsmanship. The cabinets are a refined modern version of Shaker cabinets and there is a walnut wood topper on the island. The backsplash wall of the kitchen will be all tile with open walnut shelving. Cabinets are painted a dark gray.
Back Stairwell/Utility Room/Mudroom
The wood detailing continues in the back of the house, past the great room and kitchen. Note the similar bead and batten, as well as shiplap wood paneling on the walls. The stairwell goes down to the basement and up to the two additional bedrooms and bathroom.
The master bedroom is in the back of the house, past the kitchen. Notice the shiplap design on the ceiling, creating another dramatic effect to lift the eye upward and continuing the texture of wood found throughout the house.
This room is just gorgeous and we captured every detail. The floors, the fixtures, the tub and the tile are going to be on lots of people’s vision boards soon.
Two bedrooms are located upstairs with an adjoining Jack and Jill bathroom. There is also a hallway between the bedrooms, with built-ins for books and a wall of windows.
Downstairs in the basement, there are two things of note: the floor and the fixtures. The floors are made of vinyl. Yes, vinyl that is made to look like hardwood floors. They look similar to the hardwoods in the rest of the house but they are an indestructible vinyl tile. Also, notice the use of plumbing fixtures in the basement, which are used to hold up the shelving.
The light fixtures in this home will make you do a double take. There is an industrial undertone to all the lights and the incorporation of brass give a nod to the 1900s theme. But in this house that was not yet decorated, these fixtures are all works of art.
Completed, this house will be furnished with Stickley Furniture, whose craftsman design also dates from 1900, and antiques from Dreamlight Antiques on Third Street. Seeing the house totally decorated will make you appreciate all of the details and design work that went into creating it. We hope you enjoy!
What to Know:
Homearama 2016 takes place July 16-31, 2016. All homes are new and custom built, and all are for sale. The 25 Norton Commons homes are priced from $450,000 to $1 million dollars; the nine River Crest from $425,000 to $650,000. Homearama hours are Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 per person, per site; $15 for a two-day pass; free for ages 12 and younger with an adult. To learn more and purchase tickets, go to homearama.com.
Photos by Christine Mueller Photography.
Thank you to Leslie Newton Thompson and the Carriage House for including us in the journey.
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