By Donna Ison


Every design detail of this Patchen Wilkes townhome is deliberate and dazzling. 

There are two types of people: those who favor a finished masterpiece and those who prefer a blank canvas so they can create the masterpiece themselves. j. stuart hurt, interior designer and owner of house, which along with its popular retail store, offers floral, event and design services, is the latter. He states, “As the designer, the homeowner and I selected this home because it was not finished. It allowed us, along with the great team at Andover Construction, to customize this home as we saw fit. The homeowner and I completely redesigned the floor plan, even reversing the steps to allow for a better flow on the main level, and to add special touches in the second level bedroom area.” 

Of course, location also played a major role in their choosing this particular “shell” of a three-level townhome. It is located in the exclusive, waterfront community of Patchen Wilkes, which, according to The House Store Realty Group website, “offers a serene, maintenance-free lifestyle with gorgeous landscaping and a walking path along the Patchen Wilkes Lake.” 

Joey Svec, the principle broker at The House Store Realty Group explains, “The homes here can be bought ‘as studs’, which allows the homeowner to fully customize their floorplan.” 

Upon stepping into this particular property, Stuart knew exactly what he needed to do. “Because of the predetermined exterior, the overall feel of the neighborhood is an updated traditional style living. However, we chose to break all the barriers while designing the interior of this home, making modifications and floor plan changes to suit the owner’s needs and living style,” says Stuart, “This is the third home I’ve done for this homeowner, so knowing how they liked to live, my first question, when I walked in, was, ‘Can I move the fireplace?’” 

To establish three distinctive areas that offered separate conversation spots, but were still connected, they floated the fireplace in center and made it double-sided so it could be enjoyed equally from the living, dining and kitchen areas. “Positioning it as the only ‘wall’ to divide the space, made the perfect transition point for the entire main floor living,” states Stuart. To ensure it was a true focal point, they employed District Faux Artistry to faux finish the piece using a black slate technique. Each area also provides a view of the lake out the back windows. 

Once the floorplan was finished, Stuart set about making the homeowner’s vision a reality. He says, “In each home I do, the homeowner always drives my aesthetic. It could be one piece or one photo they saw, and I jump from there, building layer after layer, until the process results in their home.” 

The longtime client brought him a photo of a room that had the overall desired look and feel. “The inspiration for the house was black, gold and bleached wood,” Stuart states, “The palette is a neutral washed white-gray walls, with a bleached floor, combining black and gold accents throughout. Pops of color come with art, fabrics and personal belongings that we incorporated into the home.” 

Specifically, the flooring throughout is a blonde-stained oak from Flooring Gallery. The walls are painted Repose Gray, the doors are done in Tricorn Black, and the trim is Alabaster, all by Sherwin Williams. To further unify the home, an assortment of organic materials such as stone, petrified wood and driftwood, and both shiny and matte metals are accompanied by nods to nature, including live plants and deer wall décor in both silver and gold. 

Aside from select pieces from Burke Furniture and a few favorite finds from the owner, nearly all of the furnishings, art and accessories were purchased specifically for the space from house by JSD Designs. 

Stepping into the foyer, you find yourself standing on a stunning tailor-made floor in a honeycomb pattern with a charming powder room to your right. Just down a hall, which houses a laundry and spacious pantry, is the airy kitchen which opens into the rest of the first floor living. 

The kitchen, built by Kitchen Concepts, offers ample room for convenient cooking and elegant entertaining, and boasts several extraordinary features. A large island with Mont Blanc quartzite countertops from Su Casa Tile & Granite and a wrap around, dining-height table in a sueded, Absolute Black granite finish provides a place for prep and comfortable seating for six. Open shelving throughout is both stylish and utilitarian. A bar along one wall contains a split fridge and shelving to display a collection of gorgeous glassware. Even the GE Café appliances were customized to match the rose gold hardware that graces the cabinetry. 

However, the most extraordinary element is the cluster of handblown globes that hang above the island. According to Stuart, “The lighting fixtures above the island are pivotal to the kitchen. The owner stumbled across Epiphany Studios, a glass blowing studio, on a business trip, and knew we had to incorporate it. They set the tone and mood and are the talk of any cocktail conversation.” Each globe differs in size, shape and texture, and was meticulously crafted by world-renowned master glass blower, April Wagner. 

In the dining room, a live edge table is surrounded by parson’s chairs slipcovered in a rich, caramel leather with button details and is lit by a hammered copper and frosted glass chandelier creating a feel that is both rustic and refined. 

Classic and comfortable best describe the den, with overstuffed couches, from Burke, in neutral tones; a square upholstered coffee table; and a gold-toned bar cart that holds one of the owner’s most cherished possessions, an antique coffee carafe from the grandparents. 

A staircase with sleek railing in black and silver leads to the second floor. Just off the landing, a pocket office keeps the contemporary feel with a minimalist writing desk, mid-century modern shelving, a multi-colored wood checkered floor, and an original painting of a Lexington street scene by local artist, Marcia Cone. 

In the master bedroom, Stuart once again manipulates the space by using the tall upholstered headboard of the bed, also from Burke Furniture, to constitute a wall in the center of the room, thereby dividing it. One half is a sleeping quarters with a seating area. The other is a dressing room with an oversized dresser; a live edge bench that the owner found while traveling; and private laundry. Above the bed, a curved brass and wood fan from Minka Aire adds flair. 

With its cream and gray, heated Carrera marble tile floor, from Carpet One, and large walk-in shower with nude, high-polish porcelain tile contrasted by a black accent wall, the master bath is sophisticated and serene. To compliment the shower, the designer chose a Brunella quartzite countertop in black and added a splash of color with a blue vanity. 

A well-appointed walk-in closet from Closet Concepts completes the owner’s suite. The second floor also contains a second full bath and spacious guest room. 

A walkout basement gives the owner additional capacity for guests and entertaining. Though not yet finished, the goal is to invent a family-friendly environment with a home cinema that equally accommodates children and adults for games and get togethers. 

It also houses a third full bath, additional guest room and large exercise room. 

One of the most special aspects of the townhouse is its options for outdoor living. A large private courtyard in the front of the property offers another opportunity for personalization. Of the courtyard, Stuart says, “We knew we wanted impact, but we were just not sure how to flow. After getting in, we ‘used’ the space, did a quick sketch of what we wanted, and Landscape Workshop made our vision come to life.” In addition, there is a waterfront patio off the basement and a first floor veranda with spectacular views of the water and Patchen Wilkes horse farm beyond. 

For others who long for lakeside living, Patchen Wilkes is perfect, which is why only 5 of the original 54 units, are left for purchase. According to Joey, “There’s only a few waterfront properties in Lexington, and this is one of them. And, it’s very eclectic. We have a really nice mix of folks that have created a great community.” 

Designer Q&A with J. Stuart Hurt

Interior designer and owner of House, which along with its popular retail store, offers floral, event and design services. 

Where do you find your inspiration as a designer? 

My inspiration comes from each space and the client themselves. When I walk into a space, I automatically see a color or a texture. Generally, I keep that to myself until it’s time to unveil the overall design concept. 

How would you describe your decorating style/philosophy? 

Again, my style for clients relies on them. Personally, my style is clean, but has traditional or retro elements combined in. I like my personal home to be a bit unexpected, but very livable. 

Who is your style icon? 

I love Dorothy Draper. She was bold and has great use of pattern and color. And, honestly she did what she wanted...and made the client happy at the same time. 

Name three things every room should have. 

1. Attitude 2. Art
3. Comfort 

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

Color sets the tone and plays a key role in how you feel in the space. Whether it be a neutral grey to let other pieces pop off it, or a bold statement with patterned wallpaper, or an accent color, it sets the tone for how you feel during the rest of your journey in the space. Sometimes color stops you in your tracks, other times it’s not noticed until combined with other elements. 

What is a common misconception about working with a designer? 

Expense—yes, designers don’t work for free, but trained and seasoned designers bring a lot to the table. You’re creating your environment...and you’re allowing the designer’s knowledge of space, color, scale and pattern to help pull that together. Designers do as little as choose a great color or simply just tweak that one favorite space in your home...or as much as help you from a new build or remodel. 

Why should one opt to use an interior designer? And, when they do, how should they go about choosing the right one for their project? 

Choose a designer that feels right when talking to him or her.
The client and designer have to be able to talk openly, agree and disagree. It’s a relationship that could last for only one paint can, or throughout every room.