Renovated Tudor in Fairway neighborhood has charm to spare

Gabriel and Jennifer Phillips were smitten even before they walked through the front door of the big Tudor in the Fairway neighborhood four years ago.

Who wouldn’t be charmed by the stone walls, steeply pitched gabled roof, and welcoming front porch, all sitting under the canopy of mature trees?

“It was our Realtor’s listing, so we were the first people to see the house,” Jennifer recalls. “You could tell the previous owners had really cared for the home.”

New to the Bluegrass, Jennifer, a nurse, and Gabriel, a neurosurgeon, moved from Memphis for Gabriel’s job at Lexington Clinic. They loved the character of the 82-year-old house at 215 Henry Clay Blvd., but didn’t want to take on a major renovation. Fortunately, the previous owner had already taken care of that.

“We were impressed by the quality of the work that had been done inside. We knew it was our house,” Jennifer said. “All we did was update the light fixtures, change the carpets, and paint to make it ours.”

Colors and materials in the kitchen blend seamlessly with the rest of the interior. A mix of brick, granite, tile, and hardwood complement each other and the glazed ivory wood cabinetry to achieve an Old World ambience. Stainless appliances include a six-burner gas range and dual dishwashers. A covered porch offers respite and shade in the summer and a place to watch television and listen to music year ‘round.

Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an office occupy the upper floor. A previous owner figured out how to add the third bedroom—Theo’s—with minimal changes to the original floor plan by building it over the patio. He and little sister Maxine share a Jack-and-Jill bath with a jetted tub and heated tile floors.

The couple liked and kept the strawberry-colored wallpaper in the owners’ suite bathroom. It highlights the white vanity, heated tile floors and jetted shower.

A handsome office with vaulted ceiling, wood paneled walls and a bookcase built around three casement windows overlooks the front yard. “I come in here to work, but I end up doing this,” said Gabriel as he played with his daughter.

There’s even more to love since the Phillipses renovated the basement. Working with designer Thomas Birkman of Birkman Interiors, they created an inviting space with the choice of soft gray for walls and a variety of neutral textures for the furnishings. Equipped with lots of built-in storage, it’s an ideal play room for the children. Jennifer can tend to laundry in the laundry room while the children entertain themselves in the main room. The couple installed cork under the wood-look laminate floor to soften the blows from the inevitable tumbles and falls.

The basement’s thoughtful design also lends itself to other uses. For example, the coppertone brown kitchenette—a throwback to the 70s—eliminates multiple trips upstairs to the kitchen when entertaining guest or enjoying family time. In the main room, there’s a sectional that can seat 7 or 8 adults, an ottoman with the surface space of a kitchen table and a big-screen television. Close the shutters, and you have a home theater. With a bedroom and luxurious tile bath and a large laundry room, the basement also functions as a guest suite.

As much as they love their home and neighborhood, the family is moving after finding a house with 10 acres. “We love this neighborhood. Many of our friends and even my parents live on this street. It’s very hard to leave, but we want some acreage,” Jennifer explained.

However, finding something that met their needs and suited their tastes wasn’t easy. “This house set the bar for us,” said Gabe.

This week’s feature home is listed with Whitney Durham of Bluegrass Sotheby's International Realty.