After a mind-numbing morning of house hunting dominated by tours of ho-hum new construction, Paul and Chasity Hester and their realtor were ready to call it a day, when suddenly they spotted a stately postwar Georgian home.
“We would love to find a home like that,” the Hesters proclaimed nearly in unison.
There was no sign in the yard, but the realtor knew the owners and was able to make arrangements for a walk through.
“The minute we stepped through the door we knew this was it,” says Chasity of the 71-year-old home at 400 Breck Avenue in Richmond.
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The winning features for the Hesters and their three boys were the oversized bedrooms, the semi-finished basement, the large grassy lot, and the short walk to neighborhood parks.
For Paul, it was an easy choice between owning a newly-built home versus a piece of local history.
“We were touring a lot of new homes that were paying homage to older construction with high ceilings, crown moldings and hardwood floors, but this place was the real deal,” Paul said. “The house looked like it had already proven itself. It just felt like a solid house.”
Paul affectionately refers to the house as his “1946 stunner.”
“The home had been marvelously maintained over the years, and when we got here in 2002 a recent renovation had updated all the comforts while perfectly complementing the original design,” Paul said.
Paul, a board certified physician, and wife Chasity, a physician assistant, own and operate Be Medispa of Lexington.
Their business specializes in a variety of non-surgical procedures and treatments that help their clients look and feel their very best, whether looking to reverse the signs of aging or beginning a personalized skincare plan.
The cheerful breakfast bay off the kitchen is a cherished spot.
“We call it our morning sitting area,” Paul says. “It opens the kitchen space up so much. Even though back then, the open concept was not something people talked about, this house was really nicely thought out.”
The marvelously appointed kitchen benefits from a raised bar, a butcher block island, light stone counters, and floor-to-ceiling custom cabinets done in a soothing white. The traffic flow in and around the kitchen between the butler’s pantry, billiard room, and breakfast bay is perfect for entertaining according to Chasity.
“The kitchen is our favorite gathering area,” Chasity says. “It’s definitely the heart of the home. When the snacks are out and everyone has found a comfortable place to sit or learn in the kitchen, it’s funny how we end up watching UK basketball on the smallest TV in the house.”
Outside, the spacious yard and abundant mature trees gets some extra bang from an adjacent empty lot. It’s a retreat-like atmosphere that the Hesters have carefully cultivated.
A short walk across the street brings you to Irvine-McDowell Park and its full-sized ball fields. Chimes from a nearby church gently punctuate the peaceful atmosphere.
“It’s not just hymns, sometimes they’ll play familiar tunes,” Chasity says. “In warmer weather we might hear Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts.”
It’s easy to forget the setting is downtown Richmond and all the benefits Eastern Kentucky University are within walking distance, including collegiate sports and the new John Carloftis gardens.
Memorable shows that Paul and Chasity have taken in at the EKU Center for the Arts include B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Garrison Keillor: A Prairie Home Companion, and many Broadway productions.
“We’re off Lancaster Avenue which is kind of the main thoroughfare that traverses the university campus,” Paul says. “Some people might think of downtown Richmond as being a loud place, but it’s surprisingly quiet. The proximity to the university is a really good energy.”
SPARED FROM THE SLEDGEHAMMER
And then there’s the pink bathroom.
“When we were first moving in, we thought the Pepto Bismal pink bathroom dated the house, and we would change it,” Paul says. “And yet we never did.”
Along the way the Hesters read a 2010 New York Times story about vintage pink bathrooms that helped to validate their choice to spare the bathroom from the sledgehammer.
Chasity points to a favorite quote from the article, “Since pink bathrooms are associated with a time of prosperity, perhaps there is also an element of nostalgia for rosier times.”
As the boys, Logan 26, Collin 24, and Devin 21, have grown up and on their way out of the house, Chasity began envisioning a redesigned master suite.
“With the kids away at college, there were pockets of the house that were not being used,” Paul says. “We had to take over one of our boys bedrooms.”
“It’s a celebration of our children finding new quarters,” Chasity says with a smile.
The reimagined master bedroom area boasts a vaulted ceiling with a sparkling chandelier. In the bath there’s a striking slipper pedestal tub, tiled shower, double sinks, granite tops, and a walk-in closet -- plus a fit-for-royalty custom dressing room with well-crafted storage space for every bag, shoe and accessory.
So what’s next for the Hesters?
“As we take on this next chapter, we’re ready to downsize a little bit,” says Chasity. “And we are looking forward to being a bit closer to our busy medical practice in Lexington. It just makes sense.”
“One thing that’s been kind of interesting as we’ve started to look for our next home,” Paul says. “We really became even more enchanted with some of the great decisions that were made in this house when it was built. It just feels very authentic and has stood the test of time.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Robin Jones of Keller Williams Greater Lexington Real Estate.