TLC keeps Summershade residence looking young

A 39-year-old that could pass for 20 doesn’t come along every day, but it’s an apt description of Sam and Doris Strader’s immaculate two-story brick house and the professionally landscaped lot on which it sits.

The Straders have been diligent about maintaining and updating their 616 Summershade Circle home, inside and out, and it shows. “When something needs to be repaired, we get it done right then. It’s been this way the whole time we’ve lived here. We don’t let things go,” Sam said.

The couple and their three children— Lisa, Amy, and Bryan— moved there in 1980 when Sam transferred from the Louisville office of Price Waterhouse Coopers (then Coopers Lybrand) to the firm’s Lexington office. “We almost didn’t get this house,” Doris recalls.. “We were here to do the paperwork to buy a house on Teakwood when our agent said, ‘You know, before we sign the papers on this place, there’s another house that’s just two years old that’s come on the market in the last 24 hours. I haven’t even seen it, but we should go see it.’ Our agent was a humdinger. She knew Lexington.”

One of the couple’s favorite aspects of the home is the handsome 600-square-foot brick patio that they installed several years ago. In good weather, they spend many hours there enveloped by the trees and plantings of the manicured, fenceless back yard. Two berms filled with an appealing variety of textures, heights, shapes, and colors offer a feast for the senses and a measure of privacy that doesn’t preclude interaction with neighbors.

A quick 5-minute walk from their home, Ecton Park is a magnet for neighborhood children as well as the the site of outdoor concerts in summer. “We’ll be sitting out on the patio having a sandwich and the music will start, and we’ll say, ‘The concert’s starting. It must be Tuesday night,’” Sam said.

The Straders used matching brick for the sidewalk that connects the patio to the new concrete driveway and for tiered landings that lead visitors from the sidewalk to the front door.

Like the patio, public areas on the main floor have plenty of space for entertaining. At the heart of the 3,806-square-foot home, the kitchen and breakfast room sit between the comfortable, casual family room and the more formal living/dining area. Renovated approximately 19 years ago, the kitchen has a large pass-through window that allows the cook to watch television and be part of what’s happening in the family room. It’s also handy for moving food and dishes between the two rooms.

It was Doris’s idea to replace two standard-size windows with a big bay window in the dining room and to widen the opening that separated the living and dining rooms. The two relatively small, strategic changes create the illusion of one large room, a feature that’s popular with many homebuyers today. The changes also bring in more much-needed natural light, visually elongate the space and improve circulation. Among other things, interior designer Kandy Sutton of Ryser’s Inc. in East Bernstadt, Ky. helped Doris choose elegant pink and ivory wallpaper for the dining room and thick crown moulding and fluted jambs to enhance the new doorway.

The main floor also has a full bathroom that Laura Dalzell of Cabinets and Designs renovated a year ago. It’s located adjacent to Sam’s office, a flex room that could be used as a fifth bedroom.

Dalzell also redesigned the bathroom in the second-floor owners suite. Originally, the double bowl vanity, whirlpool tub, and commode were lined up along the left wall. “We wanted a walk-in shower, but we couldn’t figure out how to get it in this space. She helped us re-think what we could do in here,” Sam explained.

Without changing the room’s footprint, Laura solved the problem by bumping out the double-bowl vanity a few feet. She used the space behind it for a walk-in shower and water closet.

The other three bedrooms share a large central bathroom.

There’s an enclosed stairway to the big third-floor attic. Although the Straders use it for storage, the space could be finished and used as a recreation room or playroom.

“When people move here, they tend to stay,” Doris said of the street with 15 homes that’s been her home for 37 years. It’s where she and Sam finished rearing their children, endured the loss of their 35-year-old daughter Lisa Johnson to breast cancer, planned countless lessons during a combined 50 years of leadership with Bible Study Fellowship and watched their 7 grandchildren grow up.

The person or persons who buys their house could be the first new resident on Summershade Circle in eight years. Next stop for the Straders is a single-level home in Rabbit Run, a planned community on Harrodsburg Road.

“There are a lot of memories here,” Sam said. “We didn’t think we’d be ready to move, but we’re ready. It’s time to go.”

This week’s feature home is listed with Ryan Hilliard of Berkshire Hathaway de Movellan in Lexington. Open House at 616 Summershade Circle is scheduled for Sunday, April 30, from 1-3 p.m.