After several Sunday afternoon excursions with wife Lucille to check out two-story brick house being built near Delong Road, the busy Lexington obstetrician/gynecologist finally popped the question.
“Preston asked David (Shakib, the builder) if he would sell it, and David said yes--but his wife wasn’t very happy about it,” Lucille recalls.
That was 23 years ago. “We had lived in town for 21 years and were ready to move out to the country,” Lucille explains. “Our sons were going to be in college soon, so the time was right.” The Shakibs, owners of Brookmonte Builders and Developers, Inc., had just subdivided a 100-acre tract into 10-acre building lots. They were planning to live in the 9,027-square-foot mansion themselves.
“We liked everything about it, but Preston loved the five-piece crown moulding and the 10-foot ceilings,” said Lucille, who grew up in Vanceburg on the Ohio River; Preston is from Mt. Vernon. “Being the dedicated doctor that he is, he still had to see for himself how much longer it would take to get to the hospital. He did his due diligence. He drove it at different times of the day and figured out it didn’t take much longer than it took to drive there from our house on Tally Road.”
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Within a few years of moving to the six-bedroom, six-bathroom abode, the Nunnelleys became grandparents; like popcorn popping, five more came along within the next six years.
At first, the Nunnelleys, who remain avid tennis players in retirement, planned to put in a pool and tennis courts, “but we got busy and never got around to it,” Lucille joked. They did find time to finish the 3,000-square-foot walkout basement and space in the third- floor attic. “My husband used to say the attic would be his poker room, but that project never came to fruition, either.”
In addition to having abundant open space for entertaining, the basement has toys for grown-ups, such as a pool table, exercise room, full kitchen and a home theater with three television screens. When an ice storm knocked out power in town a few years ago, the three sons and their families migrated to 3000 Brookmonte Lane for an impromptu family sleepover.
Throughout the year, the couple host many holiday gatherings and special family celebrations. On those occasions, the grandchildren, who range in age from 13-20, hang out in the basement while adults congregate and talk in the kitchen. When the food is ready, the grands emerge from the basement to eat in the breakfast area, while parents and grandparents eat in the dining room.
Thanks to sound planning, good soil, and more than 300 trees the couple added early on, the views are spectacular no matter the season or where you sit. In the cozy family room, three sets of French doors open to a vast white-columned brick porch that frames the peaceful vistas of a neighboring horse farm. In the breakfast room, wide patio doors flank a huge Palladian window that floods the space with natural light.
A majestic curved staircase rises from the dramatic black-and-white checked floor in the entry. Upstairs, neutral walls, a tray ceiling, and custom carpet form a soothing backdrop for the cavernous owners suite. It features a fireplace and comfortable chairs for relaxing at the end of the day and a window seat for daydreaming. A forest green and ivory custom rug lays on hardwood floors to soften the look and muffle sound. More pampering awaits in the bathroom, which is equipped with a whirlpool tub, walk-in shower, generously-sized vanities, and access to the walk-in closet. Three additional bedrooms and bathrooms and a convenient rear staircase occupy the second floor.
Although the couple have made the most of the last 23 years on Brookmonte Lane, they say it’s time to downsize and move back to town, nearer their children. “We have wonderful memories of our grandchildren growing up out here,” Lucille said. “They’ve enjoyed having room to roam. It’s country living at its best.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Suzanne Elliott of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices de Movellan Properties.