There is little doubt that Joe Fleeman and wife Sherry Brockman are ardent nature lovers. After finding the perfect woodland lot to build their secluded country abode, they agonized over removing some of the beautiful trees to make way for their home.
They felt blessed to own the property and paid homage by incorporating a generous share of the natural environs into the construction of their home in Richmond’s Rivendell subdivision.
The 16-foot mantelpiece over the great room fireplace is a case in point.
“We wanted a Cracker Barrel-sized fireplace,” says Joe. “The huge mantel slab came from a monster cedar we cut. It took five of us to put it up.”
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For efficiency, Joe had rented a portable sawmill and set it up on site during construction.
“Most of what we had were ash trees,” Joe said. “The outdoor kitchen on the back patio is made from those ash trees. We tried to utilize whatever we could. What we couldn’t use, we burned for firewood.”
The outdoor kitchen also employs rock from Old Town Branch Creek which runs through the six acre property.
“We didn’t want the house to be a hunting cabin,” Joe says. “But we wanted it to be representative of our enjoyment of the outdoors. We call it The Lodge.”
An interlocking tongue and groove pine ceiling rises to an 18-foot apex over the great room, which combines a large living space with kitchen and dining.
“We have five children and wanted a setting where we could do cooking and homework and hanging out all in one place,” Joe says.
The six-burner gas range includes a 24-inch flat top grill which is great for country-style cooking. The gourmet kitchen boasts custom cabinetry, granite tops, an oversized island with seating, and a walk-in pantry.
The pantry shelves were built from wood salvaged from the indoor riding arena at the Red Mile. Above the dining table hangs a handsome vintage lighting fixture.
“We found the old iron chandelier in a barn,” Joe say. “It had pins for candles. I drilled that out and installed electric lights.”
On the outside, the home at 1024 Malachi Drive is wrapped in the warm reddish-amber glow of cypress siding, which is naturally rot resistant and impervious to insects.
The bright spaces inside the 4,200-square-foot home are furnished with reclaimed antiques and repurposed built-ins from every genre.
“I think the neatest thing about the house is that we were able to repurpose so many beautiful things that would have been lost to demolition,” Joe says. “We feel good about being able to save a few things from history.”
The high ceilings throughout called for large doors and windows. All of the doors in the home are 8 foot, including the sliding barn doors in the main floor hallway that were rescued from a demolition in Danville.
“I think it was originally the mayor’s home and then was the library,” Joe says. “We made a donation to the new library construction and were able to reclaim the pocket doors and turn them into barn-style sliding doors.”
Joe was not satisfied with the available roller systems designed for large doors, so he designed and built his own hardware.
The trim found around all of the windows and doors of the home also came from the old Danville library.
“As we were building, I kept thinking I was running low on window boards,” Joe says. “But like Jesus and the loaves and fish, I would find another piece somewhere. The last piece went on the last window, which is remarkable.”
The vintage mantelpieces in the master suite are reclaimed from another Kentucky residence.
“They’re beautiful solid pieces of wood from an old home in Richmond,” Joe says. “I actually built the walls to fit the mantelpieces. It’s a double fireplace between the bath and bedroom. The woodworking skills are just incredible. We were blessed to get it.”
FLYING INTO THE FUTURE
So, what does the future hold for Joe and Sherry?
The spacious home that they built for the whole family now feels too large. Their five children have grown and moved to different states.
They have dreams of finding a property with an old bent barn that could be refurbished into a home.
Another item on Joe’s wish list is having nearby space to land his two-seater Challenger light sport aircraft.
“With the Challenger, I’m able to cruise at low speeds and really enjoy the scenery,” Joe says. “I can land in 50 yards if I have to, but 100 yards is a very comfortable landing space.”
“We’re kind of sad about leaving behind all the blood, sweat and tears that we’ve put into this house,” Joes says. “But we feel like we’re up for a new challenge that’s in line with where our lives are now.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Robin Jones of Keller Williams Greater Lexington Realty.