An Old Kentucky Home Made New

| August 9, 2012
Updated Exterior, with new stonework leading to the house.

Updated Exterior, with new stonework leading to the house.

Bill and Carla Thompson, both originally from Kentucky, moved away from the bluegrass state to pursue various goals, but always knew that they eventually wanted to return and put down roots in Louisville, to be near friends and family. In 2009 the couple began their search for the ideal place to call home, and with the help of their realtor, Barbara Jones, the following summer discovered a house that would do more than just meet their expectations; it had the potential to be molded into the home they had always imagined. Two years later, after much planning and a major interior rehaul, the Thompsons’ Louisville home, one of 16 selected to participate in this year’s Tour of Remodeled Homes, stands worlds apart from the somewhat unremarkable house they originally purchased.

The interior of the St. Matthews area house, once two stories but converted into one following storm damage in the 1970s, was initially composed of three compact bedrooms, closed-off living and dining rooms, a disproportionately small, central kitchen and little natural light. As it stood, it was far from the imagined dream home, but those details left the Thompsons unruffled. “The house seemed to be perfect for what we were looking for,” Bill explained. “Single floor living, wonderful location and the ability to absorb the cost associated with a remodel.” After hiring a local residential designer, Charlie Williams, to create a workable plan for the kind of interior they had envisioned, the couple interviewed several contractors but had trouble finding the right team to put that plan into action. A recommendation finally led the Thompsons to Pat Wissing of Wissing Contracting Co. in early 2012, and after meeting with Pat, they knew they had finally found someone who would not only embrace their vision, but also enhance it with his expertise and suggestions for additional improvements. “It’s just, trying to make their visions come true,” said Pat of his work. “Just adding little details here and there. You know, you just listen to the client and you can kind of pick their brains for what they want.”

Sunroom addition on back of house.

Sunroom addition on back of house.

What the Thompsons wanted to do was open up the cramped interior of the home and let in lots of natural light. To accomplish this, unnecessary walls were pulled down to create a large, airy, gourmet kitchen, opening into a great room that combines both dining and living space. Extra square footage was added to the back of the home, for a pleasantly bright but still comfortably climate-controlled sun room, and a spacious master bedroom. Beautiful French doors, found in the house’s basement, were added at the entrance of the sun room to maximize natural light, and copies were made to be placed in the great room as well, by what will become the Thompsons’ dining area.

Mrs. Thompson hoped to incorporate a theme of arches throughout the home, and so with Mr. Williams’ blueprint, Mr. Wissing and his team used the shape to create a sense of cohesion from room to room. Beginning with a tone-setting addition to the front porch, arched doorways welcome and lead guests into the heart of the home. An impressive curved entryway separates the kitchen from great room, flanked by classically-inspired columns. Arches can even be noted in smaller details, like a rounded hood to the stove in the kitchen and the great room’s elegant, curved
stone fireplace.

Gourmet Kitchen.

Gourmet Kitchen.

Inside the kitchen, a 5’ x 9’ island, boasting drawers for storage and even a small inlet for a stool to discreetly hide, acts as a central hub to draw in guests. “(It’s) an excellent gathering spot for entertaining family and friends,” commented Mr. Thompson. An enormous walk-in pantry, complete with triggered light switch to ensure that no electricity is wasted behind a closed door, provides ample, open shelf space to organize and store goods.

Updated bathrooms were installed by the two bedrooms near the front of the home, and minimal renovations left the cozy guest quarters otherwise mostly untouched. Instead, Bill and Carla chose to group the newer, more open additions, including their master suite, at the other end of the home, to keep guests “separate from the hustle and bustle of the house and provide an inviting oasis for visiting family and friends.” Much more expansive than the guest quarters, the master bedroom was built to be an oasis of a different kind, creating a tranquil, romantic ambience with a recessed double tray ceiling, inlaid with softly glowing track lighting. Off to the side sits a spacious master bath, offering his and her sinks for a seamless morning routine, a glass-doored shower and separate water closet, a skylight, window seat and even heated floors! Between the sinks, the bathroom opens up into an enormous closet with generous shelf- and hang-space, to ensure that no one feels cramped in the shared dressing room.

Entryway leading to Family/ Living Room.

Entryway leading to Family/ Living Room.

Because the Thompsons lived out of the state during the remodel period, much of the work on their home came down to the discretion of Mr. Wissing and a group of capable, dedicated professionals which included Zack Steele, project manager, and Emily DeYoung-Bloyd of DeYoung Design. “(It was) a lot of correspondence,” confirmed Pat. “As you can imagine there are a lot of changes. Having that trust… you have a lot more on your shoulders. You’re asked to bring your thoughts and expertise. But it’s nice to have a little leeway… its nice to be able to share your ideas.” After years spent lining up every piece of the puzzle to create their dream home, the Thompsons had only to wait a few short months for the extensive remodel, which began in April and finished up just this week, to be completed. The couple is excited to show the end result, completely furnished by Merridian, in the 27th annual Tour of Remodeled Homes, Aug. 11 and 12. “Trust in executing this remodel was critical, and it could not have been accomplished without Pat and his team,” Bill reported. “We are thrilled with the outcome.”

The 27th annual Tour of Remodeled Homes, sponsored by Bonnycastle Appliance & TV and Pella Windows and Doors, will take place Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12. The event is produced by the Home Builders Association of Louisville and will showcase 16 remodeling projects. Homes will open at noon and close at 6 p.m. both days. Tickets are $10 for adults, children 6 and under are free. Tickets may be purchased at any home and include entry into the entire showcase. For information and a map and addresses of all 16 locations, visit www.HBAL.com.

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