By Donna Ison


Though large in scale, this home is meticulously designed down to the smallest detail.

Standing in front of The Gray Gables, you’d not be surprised to see the rocky Massachusetts shoreline in the distance or to catch a crisp, salty sea breeze. Instead, you see the beautiful backdrop of the Reserve at Greenbrier, a luxury community that offers oversized estate lots with mature trees and greenspace behind each residence. However, this home, built by Jimmy Nash Homes, gives a deliberate nod to the contemporary coastal style that is so popular in the northeast.

“Our original vision was of a New England-style house. Think Nantucket. The exterior of this house probably has more design elements than any house we have ever built, but I think they all work together to give it its unique flavor."

“Our original vision was of a New England-style house. Think Nantucket. The exterior of this house probably has more design elements than any house we have ever built, but I think they all work together to give it its unique flavor,” says Jean Ann Corbin of Ambiance Designs, an interior designer who has been working alongside Jimmy for twelve years.

These elements include finials, crown molding, stone steps, columns, dormers, transitional flaring and real-wood shakes. The build required the expertise of professionals from 15 different trades. To achieve the unique gray color, which is equally pleasing in both full sun and shade, DeRochers Painting used an innovative technique in which each shake is painted on all six sides. After the walls were put in place, they received another coat to give the surface a multi-dimensional tone and increase the longevity.

Planning the design for the house, which began as a model and was later purchased by Greg Couch (founder and president of Meridian Wealth Management), began a full year before breaking ground. This is typical of most Jimmy Nash Homes. During this planning process, Jimmy, architect Paul Lea, Jean Ann, their team, and the homeowner discuss each aspect of the home’s exterior and interior. Jimmy states, “We dissect every detail.” All the preparation paid off and made The Gray Gables a favorite during the Building Industry of Central Kentucky’s 2018 Grand Tour of Homes.

But, consideration extends beyond a single project. Jimmy explains, “The culture is getting away from just focusing on individual homes to building communities.”    Therefore, he considers the aesthetic impact on the streetscape and makes certain each home in his estates compliments the others.

Both the impeccable attention to detail and peaceful palette of The Gray Gables continue to its interior.

Jean Ann states, “We wanted the interior to be light and airy with lots of windows, beachy colors and simple but “wow” design elements. That said, we wanted every room to have something that made it special and I think we achieved that.”

Everywhere you turn in the great room, you find exquisite examples of custom mill work, from the arched wood beams and catwalk that serve as the space’s central focal point to crown moldings and shiplap door profiles. Jean Ann states, “I love trim carpenters, a good one is a true artisan and always game to try something different. I think today’s houses should have as many standout architectural trim features as the homeowner can afford.” On this project, trim was entrusted to Doug Morgan, owner of Custom Interiors.

To keep the seamless style but increase interest, Jean Ann uses a vast variety of textures, patterns and prints in the upholstered furnishings from Lexington Furniture. Gorgeous gunmetal fixtures from Kentucky Lighting & Supply and seven-inch-wide prefabricated, oiled flooring from Rodgers Floor Covering are used throughout the space to provide added continuity.

In addition to the great room, the three-story home boasts six bedrooms, six and a half baths, a library, full walk-out basement and screened back porch with both ceiling fans and heaters making it usable for 10 out of 12 months a year. On the third floor, two of the bedrooms have built-in loft spaces which are used respectively as a gaming station and reading nook by two of his children.

The end effect garnered The Gray Gables the first-place award in interior features and interior lighting on the Grand Tour.

The kitchen contains some truly amazing attributes, such a 100% custom cabinetry from Kitchen Concept’s new KC Collection, a Carrera marble backsplash, a Francois & Co. hood constructed of cast stone and metal, and custom mill work on island and cabinet end panels.

The space is kept clean and “casually beautiful” through the neutral color palette which employs nearly every shade of gray from lightest pearl to warm dove to deep charcoal. Jean Ann says, “For the last few years the color trend of choice is gray. But, I love it because there are so many beautiful colors that look good with gray.”

Greg added several personalized components to the home suited to his specific tastes and lifestyle. In the master bedroom, he chose a tray ceiling with masculine crisscrossed wooden beams and chandelier.

The master bath houses an oversized shower and adjoining steam room, which can be remotely controlled through the Moen app; a coffee station; and both a walk-in closet and linen closet designed by Tapestries Closet & Window.

From a design standpoint, no area is ignored. Even the laundry room, with its farm sink, quartz countertop, and designer tile, helps fulfill Jean Ann’s promise to make certain “no room is forgotten.”

In the basement, you’ll find a full entertainment suite with a home theatre, cardio and weight rooms, and dining and bar area. One of the most eye-catching elements is the bar itself with a color-changing countertop and honeycomb backsplash made with a mixture of stone and metal, also designed by Kitchen Concepts. But, perhaps, the most unique feature is the sleek metal and glass, temperature-controlled wine cellar, which was inspired by a photograph Greg brought to the team.

Being an avid reader and antique book collector, Greg opted to have a library with ample natural light, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with a rolling ladder, and a comfortable seating area. The walls are painted a warm slate with an antique gold lighting fixture (a trend Jean Ann embraced from this year’s Atlanta design market).

With sites such as Pinterest and Houzz, consumers are more involved than ever in the building process. Jimmy says, “They have a vision. They bring us their pictures and ideas. We get paid to make it happen.” But as a building expert who understands construction, he is not afraid to offer “strong suggestions” on what might better suit their needs.

Technology is making it even easier to keep an open and ongoing dialogue. Online platforms like CoConstruct (used by Jimmy Nash Homes) provide a customer dashboard where clients can participate in every stage of the building and design process. By allowing clients to see quotes, the building schedule, and financials, as well as pictures of the build’s progress on their computer or phone from anywhere in the world, all involved stay on the same page. According to Jimmy, “It promotes transparency and accountability and gives the client confidence.”

Strong customer relationships, coupled with the company’s bold building designs, stellar reputation, and environmental consciousness, make Jimmy Nash Homes one of Lexington’s most preferred builders and an annual stand-out at the Grand Tour of Homes. And that is why The Gray Gables is such a phenomenal example of architecture elevated to art.

Designer Details 

Designer, Jean Ann Corbin of Ambiance Designs sat down with us to share her inspirations and tips for achieving a gorgeous home.

Where do you find your inspiration as a designer?

I think I am like anyone else that loves design, I see it in everything. That said, Mother Nature was a fabulous designer. Practically speaking, twice a year, I go to the Americas Mart in Atlanta, a market that is only open only to the trade. There, I get to see all the new introductions in design for the coming year. I also like to tour new homes, read magazines, watch television design shows and preview design websites such as Houzz and Pinterest.

How would you describe your decorating style?

I hope I don’t have a style, per se. I see it as my job to adapt to the style of my client. I think I bring a lot to the table in adapting someone’s personal style in a cohesive, tasteful way. If I had to pick out one thing I always try to bring to the table, it’s that I never put form over function. In my business, I constantly see designers do things that look great…but that are totally impractical when it comes to the way we live in our homes today.

Running from your burning home, aside from loved ones, what do you rescue?

I think I am just like everyone else in that regard, it definitely wouldn’t be furnishings. It would be family photos, keepsakes, and mementos. We do have an antique marble topped sideboard that was passed down through my husband’s family that he would want to save if possible.

Why is color so important & how can a client find their perfect palette?

Most clients come to you with strong opinions about color. Everyone has favorites and most of us have colors that we really dislike. I love that incorporating color into your design palate is usually what will make your house stand out as uniquely your own. I have never used all the same colors in any two houses.

Name three things every room should have:

Correct scale, a few standout architectural elements, and good lighting. On a personal note, every room should have items that have sentimental value to the home owner.

What is a common misconception about working with a designer?

That it will cost you a lot of money. I think I save my clients a lot more money than they pay me.  Hopefully, I can formulate a design plan with them and help them to purchase the needed items to achieve their personal style while adhering to their individual budget. A big plus when working with a designer is that we have relationships with vendors and tradespeople, and we usually have negotiated the best prices for our clients which is a win/win for everyone. Impulse purchases are our worst enemy. They eat into the budget and rarely work with the design plan, so your bargain usually ends up costing us money.

How should one go about choosing the right designer for their project?

Most of my work has always come through referrals. If you love your best friend’s or your neighbor’s house, you should ask them who they used and if they had a good experience. You can also always ask someone in the trades, such as a builder, who they have worked with that they liked. My experience has been that good people only like to work with good people. I love the people I work with.