By Allison Jones


a Lexington couple combines art, history and comfort in their forever home.

When a young, professional Lexington couple purchased an established home - built in 1935 – they were on a mission to personalize the space. Drawn in by the proximity to some of Lexington’s finest dining and favorite downtown locations, along with the floorplan and amenities that suited their needs for a long-term home, they were eager to make it their own. Blending sentimental art and furnishing amidst newer and more modern décor was the foundation for creating a sophisticated yet relaxed oasis. With the help of interior designer, j.stuart hurt, co-owner of house, the creative vision came to fruition.

Stuart had previously worked with the wife prior to her marriage, so there was a foundation of trust when making decisions.

“They trusted me 100% to bring their new home to life. A few of the paint colors were “surprises” to them, by just a hint or teaser by me. They allowed my vision to become theirs.”

Since buying the home three years ago, the renewal of this stately home has been ongoing. “I believe we need to make the “perfect” decision on pieces and colors. Not just a “jump” decision, to simply fill the space. Most of my job involves listening to the client. Once I have a sense of their needs and desires, the rest just falls into place.”

With any home, there are unique qualities that define the space, but with an older home, it is vital to pay homage to the architecture integrity and to build on its many gifts. “The built-in character of the original flooring needed to be unsurfaced. Prior to us stripping them, they were a black ebony. Once stripped, we re-stained them in a Jacobean finish, to expose the wood grain and wonderful texture. The custom trim work is also a huge asset that is hard to find in today’s newer homes.”

“The color palette was a great change in this home. My clients desired a “canvas” in which to display their art collections. Some of the artwork was really important to them as it came from the wife’s father, who has passed away. He was very supportive of the art community,” stuart shared as he stood in the living room. The couple has continued that support and has added to the collection with their own pieces. Neutral walls – he chose Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams – were used to mute the background allowing the art to add pops of color to the space. Sofas adorned with accent pillows face each other inviting conversation. An elaborate, more contemporary piece lingers on a nearby wall. Sentimental collectibles adorn the mantel of the fireplace that showcases an ornate screen.

“When I told the homeowners that I wanted to paint the dining room pink – Sashay Sand by Benjamin Moore – they were surprised, but it needed to be lightened up and the look is really fresh.” The chandelier – left by the previous owner – illuminates the round table embraced by Chippendale dining chairs. “The dining room set belonged to the wife’s father, so it was important to incorporate as many of his pieces as possible.” Elegant drapes frame the windows and pool to the floor. Vibrant art decorates the walls.

Access from the dining room to the kitchen is made easy with a butler’s pantry, featuring a wet bar and open shelving.

“The kitchen and family room are a favorite spot. Not just for my clients, but with their ever-expanding friends and family, as well.” The kitchen was the only room in the home that didn’t need a refresher aside from the stylish bar stools that embrace the large island. The homeowners enjoy cooking and the space is very functional with its sleek cabinetry and open shelving. It effortlessly flows into a spacious family room that features a plush sofa with chaise, a pair of modern accent chairs, and bench. A contemporary console is flanked by French doors leading to the lush outdoor venue that overlooks their expansive property.

The outdoor living space is accessed from both the kitchen/family room and the living room. Sheltered from the elements, the seating area is arranged for optimal relaxation and breathtaking views of the landscape. It is the ideal extension of the home for when they entertain.

Views from the back patio are breathtaking.  A large fenced in yard and garden give way to what used to be a two car garage.  The homeonwers recently converted it into a guest house, complete with a bedroom, full bath, kitchen and living area.  “The only requirement from the homeowner was that there be a stacked stone fireplace, which we added,” stuart explained. This is the ideal spot for visiting family and friends to have their own private space.

“While I truly enjoy the whole house, my favorite detail was the conversion of the attic space. The husband really wanted a small retreat, so we created the “Ma-ttic”. Finishing the basement wasn’t a viable option, so we went up, rather than down.”

This space evokes a very Southern, equine vibe that is reflected through the furnishings and accessories. The walls are cloaked in Benjamin Moore’s, Lafayette Green, and accentuated by photographs along with equestrian and hunting memorabilia. The seating area is comprised of modern accent chairs that pair well with many of their antique pieces. An exposed brick wall gives the room a rustic aesthetic. “This is the perfect spot to share a glass of bourbon and smoke that favorite cigar.”

The spacious master bedroom is the ideal haven for the homeowners to unwind after the completion of the day. “This color was a surprise for them.” Instead of painting the fireplace a different color, stuart chose to simply coat it in the same hue – Mermaid’s Tale – as the rest of the room. “I didn’t want the mantel to be the focal point when you walk into the room. I wanted the furniture and artwork to do that job.” A relaxed seating area is arranged with a cozy sofa adorned with pillows partnered with modern club chairs. Stylish lamps are showcased on the contemporary bedside tables that embrace the bed boasting a tufted headboard.

The recently completed master bathroom is a feast for the eyes. “This was originally done in black marble, so we lightened up the color palette which was important in order to invoke a feeling of relaxation. The tumbled marble tile in the shower and on the floor bring in just enough hints of depth to make the space cohesive with the wood grained, dark stained modern vanities.” The shower includes a full steam unit, eleven shower heads, and they are all controlled with left and right diverters. An ultimate view of the backyard is granted through the triple hung Palladian window from the shower as well as the jetted tub, ideal for soaking the day away. Spacious his and her closets flank the bathroom and feature custom built-ins.

“When the homeowners went on vacation, I was asked to do something with the guest room. This was a big surprise when they returned. The original color was a hunter green with black trim and I was thinking that all I would need to do would be to accessorize it. As I pondered it some more, I realized that fresh paint was in order.” The Hale Navy walls are the perfect backdrop to the homeowner’s artwork along with other newer pieces that were incorporated when finishing the room. Crisp linens dress the bed that hosts an upholstered headboard flanked by mirror bedside tables. A textured area rug anchors the room.

“Personally, I love the eclectic mix that the homeowner’s have allowed me to comingle. Combinations of very contemporary, and very traditional, are strong in this house.  To me, that makes a house feel lived in rather than just staged.”