By Donna Ison | Photos By Shaun Ring


This contemporary condo offers class and comfort in the center of it all. 

When it comes to real estate, we all know the most important factor—location. This contemporary condo has location to spare. Sitting atop some of the city’s hottest restaurants and retail, it is also close enough to Rupp Arena to hear the cheers from a Wildcat win and within easy walking distance to the Kentucky Theater, Thursday Night Live, and all the rest that downtown has to offer.

Initially, location was basically all the property had going for it. When purchased by the owner in 2018, the condominium was a “white box,” meaning it was essentially a drywalled shell with a concrete floor and generic electric, plumbing, and HVAC. Luckily, the husband and wife team of Barbie and Bill Pickett of Pickett Homes, a residential construction and interior design company, had nearly 30 experience to give to the project. Bill says of their long-working partnership, “Barbie has the vision. And, we work together coordinating all aspects of construction to make sure it all comes together.”

Right off the bat, Bill recognized big potential steeped in big logistical challenges. For example, figuring out how to transport supplies to the 5th and 6th floors. With the elevator as the primary mode for moving appliances, furnishings, and building materials, it was a delicate feat to get large items, like the refrigerator, to their destination. The truly heavy lifting, like placing dozens of 200-pound paver stones onto the rooftop garden, required a crane.

When construction was complete, Barbie took over. She begins every new job with a “fact-finding” expedition, which involves “finding out the personality and lifestyle of my client and then creating the space based on what would bring them pleasure on a daily basis.”

About this client, Barbie states, “He wanted a contemporary loft look. And, he is a bourbon collector, so I incorporated some elements from that industry. Obtaining original art from local artists was also important, which helped set the vision for the rest of the design elements.” The result of the 10-month-long renovation is a condominium fit for a king, or in this case a single professional who craves comfort, appreciates convenience, and enjoys entertaining and hosting out-of-town guests.

Upon opening the door, you step into a lofty, great room with floor-to-ceiling windows providing a stunning view of the cityscape. To the right, you’ll find a wall of vintage photographs procured from the archives of the Herald-Leader. Each celebrates a scene from Lexington’s history, and even includes a picture of President John F. Kennedy making his way down Main Street. Our state’s heritage is evident throughout the home. According to Barbie, “In every room there’s a little bit of Kentucky flair.”

The great room lends itself to both quiet evenings and game night parties by combining a large kitchen and commodious den. The warm beige and heathered hardwood floor, from Carpet One, sets the tone. A stone corner fireplace, by Housewarmings, both anchors the room and blocks an unsightly air conditioning unit on the next building. And a neutral palette of greys with natural woods and pops of blue—UK, of course—enhances the relaxing atmosphere.

The kitchen is a perfect balance of form and function. Along with Barbie, Linda Bratton of Architectural Kitchen and Baths was instrumental in the design process of this room, as well as the two baths. Linda, who has been an interior designer for over 25 years, wanted the final effect to be “sleek and sophisticated,” but also welcoming and able to accommodate crowds during get togethers. She says, “We didn’t want it to feel like a sport’s bar.”

Barbie adds, “I knew we had an opportunity to make a statement with the kitchen and could not be happier with how the combination stainless appliances and dark slab door style really set the stage for the rest of the space.”

Flat panel cabinetry in an alder finish hide Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, including a refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, steam oven, refrigerated beverage drawers, and ice maker. In contrast, a silver metallic subway tile backsplash from Louisville Tile and stainless-steel stove and range hood add an industrial edge. The countertops, by Quality Stone Countertops, are of a leathered granite surface with rough and smooth comingling. This fits perfectly with Barbie’s aesthetic—“I love to combine a lot of different textures.”

In addition to the kitchen peninsula, the women wanted a spot for more formal dining. “But, I just didn’t want to plunk down a table,” says Barbie. They found the solution in a table fabricated by Burton Made from a slice of ash wood and fitted around the peninsula. The table brings a unique, rustic component to the otherwise modern area and lends itself to a more intimate eating experience, while still being open to the rest of the room.  

The living area has several stand-out features. On the high-tech side, a flat-screened television and state-of-the-art sound system from Barney Miller’s and remote shades from Hunter Douglas Gallery afford ambiance and privacy. To incorporate more of the rural Bluegrass, Burton Made also designed a wooden wine bar and shelving to display the owner’s extensive bourbon collection, which is cleverly placed beneath the stairs.

One of Barbie’s biggest challenges was transforming the condo’s smallest room into a multi-purpose space to would meet the client’s need for a place to workout, store his books, and supply additional sleeping. She addressed the problem with a custom-designed unit from Inspired Closets that houses a queen-sized Murphy Bed with built-in lighting discreetly behind a set of sliding shelves.

The main floor also contains a guest room, laundry with extra storage, and full bath.

On the second floor, the master bedroom is reminiscent of a boutique hotel, with clean lines, luxurious fabrics, fine art, and more of that exquisite view. There is also a full bath with a walk-in shower tiled by Louisville Tile in mixed stone of different sizes, shapes, and surfaces to create an artisan look.

Both the owner and designer agree on their favorite portion of the home—the rooftop patio. Barbie laughs, “From here, you can see no less than seven steeples.”

The 600-square-foot terrace, with landscaping by Nature’s Expressions, is so well-appointed there is hardly reason to go indoors. In addition to the spectacular scenery, it boasts a covered kitchen equipped with refrigerator, ice maker, and grill; ample bar seating; and a second 65-inch TV and sound system from Barney Miller’s. A bourbon barrel-wall gives another nod to Kentucky. There is also an adjacent turfed lounging area with built-in bench seating and Adirondack chairs surrounding a blue, metal drum firepit, again by Housewarmings.

Second only to the patio as the owner’s favorite aspect of the home is the art. Each piece was locally-purchased and includes artists, such as Riley Jackson, Cher Devereaux, Clifford Goss, Laura Orduna, Ford Smith, and Annette Poitau.

With the Lexington Center expansion, construction of the City Center complex, and completion of Town Branch Park, an urban park and community gathering space, downtown Lexington living is becoming even more convenient and exciting. And, this condo puts its owner in prime position to take advantage of it all.



Where do you find your inspiration as a designer?

Inspiration can come from anywhere—travel, architecture, fabrics, and hobbies.

How would you describe your decorating style?

Eclectic, warm, and inviting. I really like to incorporate a mix of textures with pops of color.

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

Color greatly effects your mood and sets the feel for a living space. Establishing the perfect color palette with my clients requires a lot of time in conversation to determine their likes and dislikes. From the beginning, your decorating choices will be easier and help one room connect and flow to the next. 

Which design trends are you most excited about in 2019?

Less is more! A less cluttered look is an updated look and allows you to focus more intently on the main focal points of the space. Select goods and materials that are both beautiful and practical and easier to maintain than previous high-end or high-tech materials.

What are favorite items from your own home?

I like to collect timeless pieces that can always be mixed into a room in my house. Mainly wall art, area rugs and accent pieces. Invest in a few items that are timeless and can be used over the years as you update your style and colors.

What is a common misconception about working with a designer?

I think it is a common assumption that working with a designer will be more expensive. In reality, interior designers can save you money in the long run, as they will be able to guide you to the correct selections the first time. More often than not, you are more apt to be content with the final product when working with a qualified designer.

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

You are hiring a designer for their knowledge. There are so many different products on the market which may or may not be suited to your project, but having the expertise of a designer allows you to know that in advance. Make sure your designer can help you throughout your total project including space changes. Through their continued education of current products, value, quality, trends, space planning and other elements appropriate to your project, you will end with a unique space created for you.

You can ask for references, check their current and past projects, and interview the designer to ensure you can communicate easily with each other.