There’s a tingle of adventure as you approach the massive hand-hewn front door of this stone fortress. The towering turrets and stained glass evoke a forgotten era.
You won’t find a drawbridge or moat. Instead, this modern-day castle fit for a king or a queen is bounded by the gently rolling hills of Richmond’s Rivendell subdivision.
“We’ve never been cookie cutter kind of people,” Kirby Easterling said. “We lived in Japan and Singapore for six years.”
Kirby and his wife Theresa and three daughters have made 1031 Malachi Drive their home for the last ten years.
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“Our daughters were small when we were first looking at the place,” Theresa said. “They were a little excited and saying ‘We’re going to live in a castle!’”
The ancient exterior belies the modern conveniences and luxury living found inside the 4,400 square foot, 5 bedroom, 4- 1/2 bath home.
“The house is unique and has a very different style, but it’s quite livable,” Kirby said.
The Easterlings are only the third family to occupy the home. The previous occupants each left their stamp of originality.
The home was constructed at the behest of a Toyota Motor Manufacturing engineer in 1998. He had the 16-foot hand-hewn wooden front door made to his specifications in Mexico and shipped to Kentucky. There’s even a small hinged peep-hatch àla the doors at Bree in Lord of the Rings.
“His hobby was stained glass,” Kirby said. “And he did the windows and the other stained glass in the house himself.”
The standout piece is the large stained-glass window in the foyer. “When the full sun of the day is out the colors are unbelievable,” Kirby said. “It’s just majestic.”
KEEPERS OF THE KEYS
The next owners were two doctors, a husband and wife. The green-minded couple installed a high-tech photovoltaic solar power system.
“Besides being a leading orthopedic surgeon, he was an entrepreneur,” Kirby said. “The doctor started a solar business, and used his setup in this house as a model home to demonstrate the system.”
“Depending on the season, the solar panels generate between 25 and 35 percent of the electricity for this home,” Kirby said. “And that’s all free. You can actually look at the digital register any time of day and see how many kilowatts the home has consumed and how many kilowatts those panels generated.”
Kirby and Theresa take pride in being the current keepers of the keys to the castle. He is a former Corning Executive and currently is a business professor at Eastern Kentucky University. Theresa is a speech pathologist for Mercer County Schools.
“I’m very particular about maintenance,” Kirby said. “We’ve put over $95,000 into the house since 2007. A lot of upgrades and improvements.”
Improvements include all new high-efficiency doors and windows, new high-efficiency HVAC, and a new state-of-the art security system. The home is a veritable fortress, more secure than the average castle.
The eat-in kitchen features slate flooring, and high end GE appliances including a Monogram restaurant-grade refrigerator. The kitchen’s custom-built cherry cabinets were made by Bud York of Irvine.
“Bud is well-known for his quality,” Kirby said. “He made all the cabinets. They are solid wood, with no laminate whatsoever.”
The adjacent formal dining room is one of the many spots in the house to catch a view of the surrounding wildlife. In recent weeks the Easterlings have been watching a mother fox and her four pups.
“We’ve got great views here,” Theresa said. “There were four deer in the yard this morning. Our property backs up to a huge farm, and we see wild turkeys on the ridge in mornings.”
BEAUTY AND FUNCTIONALITY
The home is loaded with beauty and functionality – maple hardwood with walnut inlay in the living room, a dramatic stone fireplace, first floor master suite, family living areas on each of the three floors, and a walkout basement level with custom bath, bedroom, office, and kitchen.
Elegant woodwork – baseboards, door trim, window trim and crown molding – is found in every room, even the closets.
There is an oversized two-car garage on the main level as well as a garage on the basement level – parking space for four vehicles. Washer-dryer hookups are found on all three levels.
Adding to the medieval intrigue and adventuresome spirit of the house, there’s a hidden room off one of the upstairs bedrooms.
“The girls used is for a play space until they got too big,” Theresa said. “Now we use it for storage.”
“The house has evolved with us,” Theresa said. “With six spaces that can be used as bedrooms, there are lots of options to make a play room, a TV room or an office.”
As the children have grown, Kirby and Theresa have reassessed their housing needs and decided to downsize a bit. Kourtney, 21, will graduate from Eastern Kentucky University in December. Kassidy, 17, will start at EKU in the fall. And Kennedy, 14, is not far behind.
“One of the things I really like about this neighborhood is all of the homes are on one-plus acres,” Kirby said. “We’re on 2.73 acres, so there’s a good kind of solitude when you’re back here. Nobody’s bothering you. You can have a bonfire if you like.”
“It’s so private, yet we’re only three minutes from the interstate and five minutes from EKU,” Kirby said. “And we can be in Hamburg in 20 minutes. People hardly realize that.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Robin Jones of Keller Williams Greater Lexington Real Estate.