Anton Giovanetto literally found opportunity next door.
Living on North Broadway, and looking for a new challenge after years as a hospital chaplain, Giovanetto bought the home next to one he shared with his wife with an eye toward turning 507 North Broadway into a bed-and-breakfast.
He paid about $100,000 for the historic home about 10 years ago. Today, according to city tax rolls, the 10,000-square-foot house is valued at $650,000.
Lyndon House opened as a B&B eight years ago, but getting from point A to point B wasn't exactly easy.
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Built in 1883, the house had not been lived in for several years when Giovanetto bought it. The electrical system was a riddle of code violations. The now sun-filled sitting area had tremendous water damage. Pretty much anything that could be wrong was wrong.
"The sunroom," he said, "was leaking like a sieve."
Roughly 75 percent of the house had to be reframed because of water damage. Despite that, Giovanetto said, "the bones were good."
Buried beneath the years of neglect and patchwork renovation was the original, beautiful structure built by Joseph and Alice Headley.
The house is a mix of styles, including Greek Revival and Jacobean. The focal point of the main floor is an ornate Jacobean staircase and an elaborately carved, arched doorway between the foyer and sitting room.
There are lots of charming touches that come with a house of its age, including tall windows and wooden window shutters.
An interesting touch is the brightly colored glass panels over the stairway landing. Although most of the panels are the original textured glass, the feel of the vivid colors is uniquely modern.
The bed-and-breakfast, named for a small city in Louisville outside of St. Matthews, has eight bedrooms. Each is loosely themed around Central Kentucky. There is a Keeneland room and a Belle Brezing room, named for Lexington's most famous madame.
Giovanetto, who lives on the third floor, cooks breakfast in a spacious, commercial-grade kitchen. (He and his wife, Laurie, divorced. She still lives next door.)
He budgeted about $100,000 for the renovation but admitted that it was hard to do it for that amount.
The big lesson? "All repairs are expensive, so go with the best." And it's better to hire qualified electricians and plumbers who will do the work well than take a cheaper bid and have to go back and make additional repairs.
The work continues. During the winter, when business slows, Giovanetto devotes himself to paint touch-ups or small renovation projects. On his ever-growing list is re-creating the original cutting garden in the enclosed yard behind the house.
His clientele includes honeymooners resting up after the wedding and before heading off for some exotic locale, University of Kentucky fans in for game day, and locals looking for a mini-getaway. And he's enthusiastic about having guests during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games this fall.
He hopes that all his efforts have created a respite from everyday stresses. "Sometimes folks come in on Friday just burnt out and leave a different person," he said.