By Susie D. Hillard


Designer Showcase 2018 concluded a 17-day run with a houseful of happy visitors on October 7th, according to event co-chair Paula DeBoor of Lexington.

“Many people commented that it was the best showcase ever,” said DeBoor, who has been involved with Showcase since the first one in 1976 and has chaired or co-chaired nine.

“People talked about how livable the house is-- and they loved the colors.”

Volunteers such as Nancy Moser of Lexington report similar reactions. “Visitors said they could move right in without changing a thing,” Moser said. “It’s a warm and inviting house.”

Designer Showcase is the signature fundraising event of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass. The Lexington-based non-profit that has been improving the quality of care for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Central Kentucky since 1981.

Located at 3330 Versailles R., the 5,402-square-foot showcase house’s origins date to 1902 when Mariah Pepper Clay and Charles Donald Clay, a nephew of Kentucky statesman Henry Clay, built a much smaller house that was typically constructed in those days. It became known as the “White House.” The Clays lived there until the 1930s, when it was sold out of the family to a buyer from Cincinnati.

In the early-1950s, Dr. Thomas G. Hobbs and wife Brownie Hobbs bought the house. Working from plans designed by Lexington architect Robert McMeekin, master carpenters Herbert Cox and Ed Cox enlarged the house. The process of building what is now a den, bathroom, dining room, kitchen and garden room took a year. In 1958, they added a solarium, believed to be the first one in Lexington.

McMeekin, one of Kentucky’s most notable 20th century architects, is better known as the architect of the Keeneland clubhouse and grandstand. He also designed numerous residences in Gardenside and on horse farms, Memorial Hall, the E.J. Grehan Journalism building on the UK campus and the old Henry Clay High School.

“Whatever Robert McMeekin said, Dad did,” a son, Dr. John Hobbs, said, as he toured the glammed up showcase house, where Hobbs and three siblings lived as children. The new kitchen—featuring top-of-the-line appliances, gleaming porcelain countertops, gas lamps flanking the gas stove and an island almost large enough to have its own zip code-- is a far cry from the one he remembers. “Mom liked pink, so the entire kitchen was pink—walls, cabinets, everything,” he recalls. “It was ugly.”

Design coordinator Dwayne Anderson of house by JSD Designs deserves credit for selecting a more pleasing color palette with 14 shades of blue, brown, yellow and gray, pulled from fabric he had used in a client’s home. “The designers’ talent and creativity were truly remarkable,” Anderson said. “The result is a house with a cohesiveness that flows naturally from room to room. Nothing jarring or out of place. In fact, it works so well that some guests were surprised to learn the designers didn’t plan it that way.”

As one visitor declared, “The designers respected the house. Nobody did anything outlandish to draw attention to themselves. Everyone seemed to work together to ensure the aesthetic from room to room made sense.”

Designers gave time, talent, and money to fulfill their vision for rooms and spaces, inside and outside, Anderson added. “They did it because they wanted to. From day one, every designer embraced the purpose of this event—to support the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency’s mission of improving care for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Central Kentucky. Helping people who are unable to help themselves was the focus of our efforts. It was a wonderfully humbling experience.”

For Gail Moses of Regency Interiors by Gail Moses of Lexington, the cause hits closer to home than it used to. “I had so many people express this was a “must see” due to the connection with Henry Clay, and of course it has been so many years since the last showcase. People were hungry to see another,” said Moses, who has participated in 22 of 24 showcases; her first was Faywood Estate in 1979.

Her transformation of the Kentucky blue dressing room in the owners’ suite was the subject of much discussion. Faux painter Steve Walker applied layers of white marble flour to the walls to add texture and visual interest; the imperfect yet chic new finish looks and feels like stone.

“I have a friend in a nursing home, and my own parents are desperately trying to live independently, with assisted living hovering in the near future,” Moses continued. “The purpose of the event has become much more relevant to my life.”

On the Market

The Designer Showcase house went on the market in late September for $1.75 million. Situated on 1.33 acres, the house has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and two half-baths. An 18 x 36 pool, pool house with covered porch, guest suite, two bathrooms and a four-car garage complete the estate. Showcase furnishings may be purchased from designers. Listing agent is Suzanne Elliott of Berkshire Hathaway de Movellan Properties.

How You Can Help

The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency relies on the gifts of individuals and organizations in Central Kentucky to fulfill its mission of
improving the quality of life for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. If you’re interested in giving your time, talent, or treasure to help sick, disabled residents who can’t help themselves, contact Susie D. Hillard, NHOA’s director of philanthropy and administration, at 859-940-8434 or [email protected]

Participating Designers for the 2018 Showcase


Benjamin Deaton Interiors

Cabinets & Designs

Counter Culture Plus

Creative Kitchen & Bath

Design Theory by Kristy Anderson

Distinctive Faux Artistry

Ethan Allen

For Friends!

Greentree Antiques

House by JSD Designs


Hubbuch & Co.

Ivy Downs Interiors

Landmark Landscaping

Liberty Hill Antiques & Fine Furnishings

Liz Douglas Designs

L.V. Harkness

Market on National

Metamorphosis Studios

Pottery Barn

Regency Interiors by Gail Moses

Suff’s Furniture

Zedtta Wellman