Inside the home of Marion and Erika Jones of Bluegrass Fine Homes
For a professional homebuilder and designer, the best example of one’s own work is one’s own home. Marion Jones of Bluegrass Fine Homes has known that for twenty years, and has designed his Nicholasville area home to showcase every bell, whistle, and custom option a homeowner could want. This serves a dual purpose: Marion and his wife Erika get to live in a fabulous home, which also serves as a visual tool for prospective clients.
“Nobody really needs this much house,” Marion said with a laugh, “But a lot of our clients like to have a visual example and not just look at pictures.” During initial interviews, he says, clients will indicate that they don’t want or need certain features, but they often change their minds once they experience them in person.
Marion started his career in the construction business during high school. After getting his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, he founded Bluegrass Fine Homes in 1996. He received initial funding from an employer who believed in him, and built his company from the ground up. Bluegrass Fine Homes was the first company to win first place in all seven categories in The Building Institute of Central Kentucky’s 2004 Grand Tour of Homes.
“Our philosophy is that our home owners don’t have to pay custom prices to get the quality that comes with custom homes. We make it easier for you to get into your dream home,” he said.
The exterior of the home is reminiscent of a countryside manor, but with plenty of traditional elements as well. The front door is framed with decorative masonry and the stained wood door features glass windows with a beautiful scrolling design. Marion describes it as “a French country style where modest farmhouse meets estate-like chateau.”
He mentioned that out of all the exterior features, the distinctive roof shingles are complimented the most. This particular touch of old world charm costs more than regular shingles, but since his home is a display tool, it was important to showcase a variety of high end materials and designs to buyers.
The Jones’ home, which was finished in 2015, is situated on five acres of land just east of Nicholasville. The land was previously a farm, and about fifteen years ago, it was developed by a well-known country singer who still owns a home in the subdivision.
Before moving into their current home, the Joneses had lived and built homes in the Beaumont area for eleven years. Once their youngest son entered his senior year at Dunbar High School, they decided to move to a more rural area. Both Marion and Erika had grown up in small, rural areas (Ashland, Kentucky and Arkansas, respectively) so they both wanted to go back to a quieter, more secluded setting.
They had been interested in purchasing their lot for several years. The original owners declined Marion’s offer to buy initially, but changed their minds a few years later and sold to someone else. Some time later, while Marion was building another house in the subdivision, he saw that the lot was on the market again. When he called to inquire, he learned that it had been sold a month earlier. Two years after that, when he noticed that nothing had been built on the site, he called the property owner and asked if he’d like to sell. The owner agreed, and the lot finally belonged to the Joneses. “I guess the third time’s a charm,” Marion said.
To date, Bluegrass Fine Homes has built six out of the eleven properties in the subdivision. Marion and Erika love their little community and enjoy close relationships with their neighbors, vacationing with three other families every year. They also value close relationships with their employees and associates. “We have worked with the same vendors for the last fifteen years,” Marion said. The Joneses have regular get-togethers and celebrate milestones with the people they work with, and they agree that having a family-like relationship makes for great long-term partnerships. The lot the home sits on was customized by Jones’ landscaping team, Signature Landscapes. “It looked nothing like this when we bought it,” he explained. “We brought in over six hundred loads of dirt during the building process, raising elevations to over 9 feet in some areas.”
Upon entering the home, visitors are greeted to a stunning great room and open concept kitchen, complete with lofty ceilings, hand carved wooden beams, and illuminated built-in cabinetry surrounding a custom stone fireplace. All the lighting was purchased through Brecher’s. “Our interior decorator Debbie Lail with Window Wraps and Interiors helped pick out the major lighting and was a big help through the building process, and Stephanie Wolfe with Brecher’s also assisted in picking out additional lighting,” Erika explained. The colors were established from the warm side of the palette and the faux finished walls and comfortable yet ornate furnishings are a great compliment to the luxurious finishes and materials used throughout the home. Their painter, Tony K., spent over six months on the home “He painted with his heart,” said Erika.
The kitchen was designed with both beauty and function in mind, featuring top of the line Subzero and Wolf appliances. The refrigerator and dishwasher have been fitted with custom wood faces by Mike Barber of Barber Cabinets. The curved, dual-level kitchen island is topped with striking 3-inch thick granite, complete with a chiseled edge. The kitchen sink, as well as many other sinks in the home, feature shimmering mosaic tile designs. The ornately carved corners and cabinet accents add a touch of elegance and drama.
During the kitchen design Mike and Marion wanted to make the stove and backsplash the focal point of the kitchen. But Erika had always dreamed of having a large kitchen window, which would have had to be installed where they were planning to place the stove. As Erika told it, “Debbie made sure the guys knew how important this was to me, and she told them, ‘Erika is getting her window’. This was probably my biggest must-have, and I was not backing down. As you can see, I got my kitchen window,” she laughed.
Another outstanding feature is a custom butler’s pantry connecting the kitchen to the back hall, making it easy to access the laundry and garage. One of Erika’s favorite features is a custom cabinet for her KitchenAid stand mixer. All she has to do is open the cabinet, and the mixer pops up on its own platform. “It’s so much more convenient than having to drag it out or storing on the countertop, and I actually use it more,” she said.
They designed the basement for their sons Tyler (21) and Chase (23) with two bedrooms that have attached baths, plus a kitchen and living room area. This allows them to have a private space all to themselves.
The home office is a cozy and stylish space with coffered ceilings and mahogany paneled walls and floors. Marion says that in the twenty years he’s owned his business, he’s always had his office in his home. “But you know how it is,” he said, “when you have your office in the house, you walk by to check your email and come out four hours later.” To solve that problem, he built a custom garage for his offices. Not missing an opportunity to show off the skills of his craftsmen, he had the office painted in a variety of faux finishes, with three ceiling heights and a car wash bay for equipment. Underground network cables and property-wide wi-fi make it possible to work anywhere. “We can work from our home and sometimes do, but we don’t keep any paperwork here,” he said.
In the master suite, Marion and Erika have spared no detail or expense in creating a “wow” factor that is sure to impress any homebuyer. Here, they have used the same warm tones, faux finishes and artfully combined textures to create a comfortable yet luxurious look. The ornately carved bed sits beneath a textured tray ceiling complete with medallion, and views of the property’s softly rolling hills create a relaxing atmosphere. There is a wet bar off the master, a feature they love and use daily. All of the home’s textiles and many of the furniture and décor selections were done by Debbie Lail. Erika said, “We could not have built our dream home without the help of Debbie –she is a big help to us not only with our home, but all of our new construction, too. She is always a phone call away for any help we may need.”
The master bath’s full soaking tub and glass-enclosed mosaic-tiled shower provide the best of both worlds. The his-and-hers vanities are topped with attractive dark granite countertops and the sinks are decorated with a metallic gold leaf inspired finish. All of the plumbing fixtures were provided by Brock McVey.
The his-and-hers walk-in closets feature plenty of space to store and display clothing and accessories, as well as a stackable washer and dryer. Lisa Wood with Willis Klein was another key player in the Jones’ team. “Lisa helped pick out all of our door hardware and the “bling” hardware for my closet,” said Erika.
The outdoor entertaining area is one of the home’s ultimate focal points and a space that Marion and Erika spend a great deal of time on. “This area took as much time and attention to detail as building a small home,” he explained. The patio is outfitted with a over 2,500 square feet of entertaining space including a complete outdoor kitchen with granite countertops, warming drawers, ice maker, refrigerator and grill. In less than ideal weather, the covered sitting area can be enclosed with a remote controlled screen. With 12-inch subwoofers embedded in the ground, a fire pit, outdoor wi-fi and recessed lighting, the patio can be party-ready in an instant. “It’s a lot of fun out here. It’s very pretty at night. We entertain a lot, and when the neighbors hear music playing, they usually come join us,” said Marion.