At first glance, the home at 776 Andover Village Dr. is a beautiful brick home nestled into a tree-lined street.
But according to the homeowner, Brooks Downing, the house is one of few in Lexington built with King brick by Back Construction.
“It’s built like a tank. It’s not your typical support system you’d have in a regular build. It’s a unique element about this home,” he said.
“It’s solid. If a tornado came through here, we’d still be standing,” said his wife, Cassie.
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The couple moved into the home in 2002 with their twin daughters. Their first home together was in Autumn Ridge, just across Todds Road from their neighborhood.
“There was nothing in Hamburg yet,” Brooks said. “It was a horse farm and a sod farm. We remember the Shell station and the Target going up.”
The two liked the area for its convenient location between Cassie’s parents in Georgetown and Brooks’ parents, who lived near the horse park.
“We had no room to expand (in that house). This house gave us that opportunity.”
With an impressive structure on the outside, the home as undergone many renovations since the Downings moved in. They started with enclosing the backyard with wood-plank fencing for their dog, Daisy, and doubling the size of their deck.
“We added the roof (over the deck), and it went from a hot summer place to the coolest around. We love entertaining and we do a lot with it,” Brooks said.
They replaced the wood from their old deck with composite decking. Brooks’ brother, a builder, built a playhouse attached to the swing set for Brooks and Cassie’s daughters from the old wood.
They also put in the landscaping, including several trees that now tower over the expansive backyard.
“About a week ago, those maple trees looked like they were on fire, they were so red,” Brooks said. “They were about the prettiest we’ve ever seen them.”
They took a once-unfinished laundry room and transformed it into a spacious mudroom, pantry and laundry area all-in-one. Numerous white cabinets and drawers provide lots of storage, and a spare refrigerator flows into more cabinets, a sink and a washer and dryer.
They remodeled the kitchen in 2010, but kept the house’s original custom cherry cabinets. They covered the countertops in granite, added backsplashes, elevated the bar’s height and replaced the appliances and light fixtures.
“We like the open space down here. The kitchen and the living room are where everyone wants to be anyway,” Brooks said. “In the summer, we’re out on the deck, and in the winter, we’re down in the man cave.”
The newly-finished basement is inviting with warm colors on the walls and furniture, a brick fireplace, a TV with surround sound and lots of UK memorabilia.
“It’s real comfortable down here, and real quiet, too,” Brooks said.
“He wanted this to look like a restaurant,” Cassie said of the adjacent bar area.
The brick covering the bar matches the basement’s fireplace, and the bar top is strikingly similar to that of a restaurant’s.
Also found in the basement is extensive storage and one of the house’s five bedrooms. The top floor houses four full-sized bedrooms, each with a walk-in closet. Inside the master bedroom are French doors that open into a large bathroom with a newly renovated shower unit, tub, granite countertops, vanities and light fixtures. The bathroom also leads to Brooks’ walk-in closet and Cassie’s massive walk-in closet that can easily fit furniture inside.
“Someone needs to make it theirs,” Cassie said.
Most importantly, the house is where the Downings raised their children, who are soon-to-be graduating seniors.
“We have lots of good family memories here,” Cassie said. “We’ve always had their birthday parties here and Christmas parties for both sides of the family.”
“We’ve put a lot of sweat equity and TLC into this house,” Brooks said.
“We’re kind of proud of it,” Cassie said.
This week’s feature home is listed with Steve Klein of Bluegrass Sotheby's International Realty.