When homeowners Greg and Emily Harkenrider think back to what first hooked them on the property at 3660 Military Pike, they agree the trees were a key factor.
The long driveway leading to the 95-year-old Georgian style home is lined with a variety of mature trees that the Harkenriders quickly fell in love with.
“We knew the house needed work,” Greg says. “There was some deferred maintenance, but we had just done some remodeling at our previous house, and were kind of in the remodeling mood. We liked the idea of tackling an old historic home, and I’ve always had a thing for white limestone houses.”
Like many homes from the early 20th century, the builders relied on available regional materials. The stone was quarried from nearby Bowman’s Mill, and the timber came from an even closer source.
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“This property was part of Millwood Farm,” Greg says. “All of the wood that went into the house was cut from the farm and milled right on the spot.”
The original floors, moldings and built-in cabinetry that grace the home are predominantly oak, but there’s also quite a bit of ash, cherry, hickory, cedar and other wood.
Set on 10 acres, the two-and-a-half story 4,000 square-foot house has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a library and identical sun rooms on either side of the house.
“We get beautiful sunrises and sunsets nearly every day,” Emily said. “You can watch the sun rise with your coffee on the east side, and then see the sun set from the west side with your cocktail before bed.”
Besides their inherent beauty, the eight-inch exterior stone walls provide some valuable insulation.
“I just love the thick limestone walls,” Greg says. “Because of the limestone and the way the house is oriented, you don’t have to turn the chiller on in the summer if you don’t want to.”
The Harkenriders have made dozens of improvements, including a full kitchen renovation.
“We tried to be true to the architecture and history of the house whenever possible,” Greg says. “But we wanted a modern kitchen.”
The gourmet kitchen includes two wall convection ovens, travertine tile flooring, and an 8-burner Blue Star gas cook top. A copper range hood is complemented by a matching copper farmhouse sink.
Thanks to a 1979 Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory, the Harkenriders have been able to piece together a history of the property and provide many of the details for this story.
The house was built by John G. James, Jr., grandson of John G. James, who settled on Military Pike in 1843. A keystone above the front door is carved with the construction date, 1921.
Traditional craftsmanship of the arts and crafts style is recognizable in the woodwork of the built-in cabinetry, bookshelves, door frames and fireplace mantles.
The vintage cast iron fireplace hood in the living room was an unexpected find.
“I found this thing in the chicken coop,” Greg says. “It was underground, buried with some old tools – a plane, a drill, a seed planter and some other stuff. It was a complete mess.”
The fireplace hood restoration started with a healthy dose of naval jelly for the rust. After a ton of loving care and an expert antique metallic paint job from Emily, the fireplace hood has reclaimed its rightful place back in the living room.
WALKING WITH THE SAINTS
Both Greg and Emily have an appreciation for stained glass.
“A few years ago we were lucky enough to acquire some reclaimed stained glass from a Catholic church that was decommissioned in Detroit,” Greg says. “Some of it dates to the 1860s.”
So you might find a bit of St. Ann, St. Peter, or St. Paul in the kitchen soffit, in the sun room, on the living room walls, or above the second floor bedroom doors – sometimes built in with backlighting and sometimes as a wall hanging.
The understated religious iconography fits well with the Harkenrider’s Catholic faith. In the finished part of the attic Greg has converted a chamber maid’s bedroom into a sacred space complete with dramatic stained glass panels, kneeling bench, and pews from the old Frankfort Good Shepherd Church.
“You can sit here and meditate or pray if you like,” Greg says. “I can see a new owner turning this into an office. It would make a perfect office.”
The next step on the Harkenrider’s journey will likely be a move closer to their jobs in Frankfort where Emily uses her background in environmental science to review administrative regulations for the legislature, and Greg is an economist for the State Budget Office.
“We work long hours, and the commute is a little bit more than we bargained for,” Greg says. “And Emily’s parents who live in Frankfort will appreciate having us closer.”
Although the home is situated in Fayette County, it sits near the point where Woodford, Jessamine and Fayette converge.
“The nice thing about being out here on Military Pike is having the farm life, country feel,” Emily says. “But yet we’re actually close to shopping and everything like Brannon Crossing or the fancy Versailles Kroger.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Gary Denton of Rector Hayden Luxury Homes.