Some couples golf for fun. Drs. Jerry and Tina Mayes love to travel. Almost always, they return home with ideas for the many houses they’ve built over the years.
The couple’s effort — a French country masterpiece in Ellerslie at Delong — also is their best. After finding the right house plan, they began to imagine what it could be. “We worked on the design for a year,” said Jerry, a dentist.
“I can walk into a house that’s just framed and picture in my mind what it will look like when it’s finished. That’s just natural to me,” said Jerry, a Letcher County native who has practiced dentistry in London for 40 years. “In dentistry, we deal with symmetry all the time, especially with cosmetic dentistry.”
“When we look at a patient’s smile, we don’t just see what needs to be done. We also see what it will look like when we’re finished with treatment,” explained Tina, a dentist with 24 years under her belt.
DETAILS ARE EVERYTHING
The richly detailed exterior at 3961 Tatton Park employss brick, stone, iron, and copper with cedar shake accents conjure a rustic elegance. In front, two dormers and a trio of gables with flared curves at the eaves offer a pleasing combination of shapes, color, and textures you’d expect to see on a trip to the French countryside.
The arched porte cochere’s handcrafted iron gate is one of many artistic touches throughout the 11,000-square-foot residence. The Mayes’s, who have lived in seven houses in the 20 years they’ve been together, have a team of craftsmen from London and Manchester whose work they know and trust.
In back, three brick arches support the covered porch and frame the view of the woods through arched patio doors. Thick, heavy arches define galleries on either side of the great room. They look as if they were carved out of plaster years ago.
MODERN KITCHEN FITS RIGHT IN
Arcs soften the sleek lines of the Mayes’s first contemporary kitchen. “We’ve always had dark kitchens, very traditional and ornate,” Tina explains. “We wanted this kitchen to be the focal point, so Jerry started here and designed everything else around it.”
“It looks simple, but there’s a lot more to it than you might think,” Jerry said.
A floating soffett suspended with laminated beams supports the stainless steel range hood. The whole thing hovers over the 11-foot-by-12-foot island that features an induction cooktop, quartzite top and storage galore.
“We got the idea for the soffett from a restaurant in St. Louis,” Tina explains.
“I said, ‘How can we get our people to build that for us?’” Jerry recalls. “It took some engineering.”
Yet more engineering was required for the dormers in the great room and garage, where Jerry doubled the ceiling height and added two dormers. “Jimmy (Nash, the builder) looked at me like I was crazy when I told him what I wanted to do,” Jerry said.
Jimmy quickly learned what Tina has known about Jerry for years: expect the unexpected. For example, Tina didn’t realize she wanted the mother of all closets — until Jerry dreamed it up.
“I lay awake at night thinking, ‘Nobody does a two-story closet with a spiral staircase. Nobody puts a dome in one either,” he said.
Well, nobody except Jerry. “I wanted my ideal closet, so he designed it,” she said. Everything is stored behind doors except her favorite handbags; they’re displayed in clear cases or perched atop the custom closet system.
As great as the closet is, “The bathroom is what she’s most proud of,” Jerry says. The curved tray ceiling and a curved wall that houses a built-in television and fireplace are among the luxurious amenities arranged around the perimeter.
Ten months after moving in, the Mayes’s don’t regret going against the tide and building a single-story house (with a tricked-out basement for the grandchildren). “I’m glad we kept everything on one floor,” Tina says. “This is an easy house to live in.”