When most people think of Kentucky, they picture a scene not unlike Paris Pike: idyllic rolling hills, grazing horses, rustic barns, and peaceful countryside. For Abby Jones, that environment was one of the main reasons she chose to purchase and renovate the historic Arts and Crafts style farmhouse located on Paris Pike across from the Lexington Country Club. While Abby works as a government relations executive by day, one of her passions is renovating and flipping homes. Originally from Cleveland, Tennessee, she has lived in Lexington for the last seven years. “I would visit Lexington as a child and thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen,” she said. “I enjoy playing polo and I also breed and raise American Saddlebred horses.”
According to Abby, the house itself has many wonderful qualities and a rich history, but the location is what adds the real value. “Paris Pike is so beautiful—with miles of 4-board fencing, stone walls, and countless world famous horse farms,” she said. The Paris Pike Property and its five acres of land is currently for sale. Interested parties may contact Nick Ratliff of Better Homes and Gardens Cypress Real Estate at (859) 351-9796 or [email protected]
She believes the house will really appeal to someone who wants that old Kentucky farmhouse feeling. “I think the right buyer will be someone who loves the lifestyle and history of the horse industry that surrounds Paris Pike. In the spring it’s so much fun to see all the mares and babies. You can’t find a better location in Lexington.” Indeed, it would be difficult to list the number of famous horses who have lived on or near Paris Pike over the years. Winning Colors (one of only three fillies to win the Derby) is buried at nearby Gainesway Farm. And several scenes from the film Seabiscuit were filmed up the road at Normandy Farm.
The home’s approximate square footage is 2,800, and it contains two full bathrooms, one half bath, and four bedrooms. It has undergone several additions since it was built in 1916, so the layout is relatively unique. During the yearlong renovation process, Abby discovered a great deal of fine workmanship. “This home has wonderful bones and lots of hidden quality,” she said. “When I purchased it, the condition was considered a tear-down. The front porch was literally falling off. Layers and layers of linoleum floor covered up a lot of the original heart pine floors.”
After she purchased the home, Abby realized that several of the original five-panel doors were missing. With only two doors and no doorknobs, she had to go out and find 100-year-old doors and hardware to match. Luckily, she knew where to look. All the doors were purchased from Cowgirl’s Attic, and the old brass hardware came from Roberts Antiques. The front door is the original door to the house. “It was covered up with about 20 layers of old paint,” Abby explained. Robert Hawkins and his team were responsible for restoring and refinishing the door. They had to dip it in acid, and it took days of sanding to fully restore it.
With the help of her business partner, Teddy Rodgers of Anderson & Rodgers Construction, Abby completely remodeled and updated the home from top to bottom. She gutted the entire house, added a rear master bath, a brand new gourmet kitchen, all new bathrooms, new electric and plumbing, plus additional fencing and a stone entryway. “I love the creative aspect of flipping houses,” she said. I enjoy breathing life into old homes, and I do several flip projects a year. Old houses are a lot of work but I prefer them because they have a character and quality that are hard to come by these days.”
The bright, inviting foyer is a showcase for Abby’s colorful and extensive art collection. The light fixture is from Ballard lighting, and the Navajo rug was purchased at an Oxford, Mississippi antique store. The painting hanging in the foyer is by artist Don Troiani, a famous American military artist. Isabel Ladd, whose family owns Cross Gate Gallery, has her own interior design business. She was instrumental in helping Abby make choices about how to hang the art (and hung all of the pieces herself). She also weighed in on other creative decisions such as furniture staging. “Isabel has a great eye and knows art. I really trust her opinions. She is also a great resource to have in Lexington because she grew up here and knows everyone.” Abby also appreciates having a female perspective during the staging process. “When you have worked with all men for a long time, it’s nice have a woman to bounce ideas off of. Sometimes men offer unsolicited advice, and it’s funny because after a project is finished, they often say, ‘I wasn’t exactly sure where you were going with that, but I love the way it looks now.’”
The gorgeous, minimalist kitchen is outfitted with a Subzero refrigerator and a Viking Range, as well as new soft close cabinets by Architectural Kitchens & Baths and cashmere granite countertops by Prestige Granite. The light fixture is from Ballard Lighting. Abby explained that renovation included knocking out a wall to create more space. In order to provide essential support, it was necessary to add a beam; as a creative touch, the beam is wrapped with barn wood that Abby and her team salvaged from an old shed that was on the property. The antique and modern elements blend together seamlessly to create a space that is both elegant and functional.
Separating the kitchen from the adjoining mudroom is a sliding barn door fashioned from the same salvaged barn lumber. The trim and the windows in the mudroom are accented with antique wood as well. Abby chose to line the floor with brick pavers and gave the walls tongue-and-groove paneling. The antique church pew was on the front porch when she bought the house. Abby loves to repurpose, or as she put it, “find new jobs for old things”. In fact, she and her partner Teddy Rodgers have recently launched a new company called GreenBox Homes, which is focused on building ultra-modern, affordable homes made from repurposed materials.
With its glossy walls, antique rugs and whitewashed mantels, the vibe in the living room is a cross between an inviting farmhouse and a chic art gallery. The striking polo drawing over the mantle is by artist Richard Hall, and was a gift from Abby’s aunt.
The living room blends effortlessly into the dining room, where the mantle is accented with a stylish, modern vignette of replica majolica plates and a taxidermy deer head mount. Abby purchased the two colorful paintings that are hanging in the dinning room from the Double Decker Art Festival in Mississippi.
The relaxing powder room is finished in grasscloth wallpaper. The vanity is made from an antique dresser Abby bought at Roberts Antiques in Mt. Sterling. She cut off the top and added soapstone, plumbing, and dropped in a sink. The light fixtures are from Cowgirl’s Attic.
One of the standouts in the master bedroom is a funky and colorful Native American photo that is one of Abby’s favorites. Once again, Isabel helped to pull everything together. While the furnishings weren’t purchased specifically for the home, the pieces are beautifully in line with the space’s eclectic style. Abby said, “I have two storage units full of furniture I have collected over the years. I love antiques, and I travel a lot so I am constantly collecting furniture and art. There is beautiful wardrobe in the bedroom that was in the house when I bought it.”
The master bath echoes the clean, understated feeling of the kitchen. The tile is a tumbled marble purchased from The Tile Shop. Abby chose a classic subway title for the shower. The counter tops are made from Carrera marble from Architectural Kitchen & Baths. The shower features body sprays and a rain head, and the floor in the bathroom is heated. The bathtub is a drop-in Koehler tub called “Tea for Two”, and more coordinating Carrera marble is used around the bathtub. All the plumbing fixtures are finished in a simple French style.
Abby describes her style and approach to interior design as eclectic, timeless, classic, and relaxed. When working on a renovation or project choosing pieces for a home, she is careful not to follow too many trends. “I never want to look back at a picture and say, ‘that looks so 2016, why did I do that?’ I want a house to be comfortable but elegant. I love to pack the walls full of art. I love equestrian themed art, sporting art, and Native American art. I also like the idea of using the occasional Art Deco piece to counter balance the rustic and relaxed elements. My lifestyle really influences how I approach interior design as a whole. You can often catch me wearing a blazer, jeans and cowboy boots. I like to be able to go from a business meeting to a field to catch a horse. The same is true with my approach to interior design.”
Abby Jones’ Paint Color Picks: (All paint is from Benjamin Moore)
Master Bath & Bedroom: Burton White
Foyer: Lily of the Valley
Living Room & all trim: Cotton Balls with high gloss finish
Kitchen: Linen White
Dining Room & Upstairs bedrooms: Ashwood
Mudroom: Providence Olive