As Ann-Phillips Mayfield walks through her house at 633 Bellaire Avenue, nearly every room and accessory has a story.
There is the tale of how an original map chest from the Bourbon County courthouse came to be in the living room, and the story of when the chandelier in the dining room nearly fell while it was being installed — quick reflexes saved it. "We had to sit cross-legged on the floor holding it," Mayfield said, pantomiming an unsteady balancing act, "until we could rig a way to hang it for the night."
The stone walls of the basement are original to the house, as are the cooking and bread-oven vestiges of the long-ago slave era. The striking light fixture in her daughter's bedroom? She got it for a bargain in an online auction.
Such stories are to be expected, perhaps, when your house has been in existence for more than 200 years, as evidenced by the "Erected 1814" sign by the door.
Never miss a local story.
Mayfield and her husband, Jay Ingle, will celebrate this weekend as their house is featured on the 2015 Northside Neighborhood Association House and Garden Tour.
The history of the place, down to the uneven antique floors, is part of its allure.
The house, Mayfield said, "has lots of stories and lots of life."
The tour will be the sixth event in three weeks at the house, Ingle said. But the couple are happy to show off their home. A few weeks ago, they hosted a sit-down dinner for 60. Each Christmas, they have a party for their friends and their children, with Santa in attendance.
Even with the home tour this weekend, Mayfield had a group of old friends over on Thursday.
Every room is carefully appointed, with accessories in keeping with its origins. Polished silver glints from shelves throughout the living room and dining room. Fabrics in soft colors also highlight the space.
Fabrics "are my downfall," Mayfield said. "Mine too," her husband added with a laugh.
Mayfield said she has "bartered, bartered, bartered" to find the right pieces for the house. The couple have friends who travel regularly to England to look for reasonably priced antiques. Mayfield and Ingle send them with a wish list, and their friends send back photos.
It takes patience, she said. The shell-back chairs in the dining room took seven years to find.
Ingle said he considers himself a steward of the historic home, which also received loving care from the previous owners.
For 13 years it belonged to Lexington salon owner Mickey Hobbs and Jerry Meyer.
It's still known, Ingle said, as "Mickey's House."
Since Mayfield and Ingle bought the house in 2005, they have reoriented the front door to face Bellaire Avenue and renovated the porch and second-floor balcony.
The house originally was part of a farm, and the front entrance faced what is now Sixth Street.
They've also added a master bathroom, a laundry room and a closet to the second floor. Perhaps the most popular feature with friends is the basement, with its original foundation walls, rustic beams in the ceiling, a bar and red accents.
"That's where our friends gravitate," Ingle said.
"And we never see them again," Mayfield said with a laugh.