On the streets of Paris: Historic gem a place of memories

There are stories to tell about the house at 706 Pleasant St. in Paris. Stories of past generations, and even stories from the childhood of its current owner.

Charles E. Bolton says the stunning federal-style house was built around 1795, and was purchased around 1805 by Rev. John Lyle. There, Lyle established the first school for girls west of the Alleghenies.

“(The school) lasted about 15 years, and he went on to start a school for (Native Americans). Apparently, he was determined to save the world,” Bolton said of Lyle.

Though the house has undergone several renovations, each owner, including Bolton, has maintained the house’s originality, from the positioning of the kitchen’s cooktop down to the paint colors.

“The house is pretty organic,” he said. “It has a lot of presence for a house as early as it is.”

It came together over the years with several additions, including connecting the kitchen to the house, which was once a separate building. Indented in the kitchen’s original pine floors is a line where the hearth used to be, which is what lead Bolton to place his cooktop there.

“The food was cooked in a different building because of the danger of fire,” Bolton said.

Some of the most recent work on the house were bookshelves Bolton installed in the library. He’s also updated wiring, plumbing and added bathrooms.

“It’s been upkept beautifully,” he said.

The walls of each stately room are painted in historic colors, each finished with 18th century furniture and décor.

“The colors are practically the original colors (of the home),” Bolton said. “The red was especially close. I took three layers of wallpaper off to get to the bottom coat.”

The red, close to a shade of clay, covers the entrance’s walls, while an adjacent sitting room and the dining room are painted in sage, and the library in Ghent blue, an authentic 18th century color, Bolton said.

He refinished the bathrooms in marble appropriate to the period, one with a beautiful brandy board from 1800. He remodeled a bedroom for his sister’s quarters, carefully so as not to change the look and authenticity of the room.

Much of the house, in fact, maintains that authenticity down to the original woodwork. The floors, mostly ash with random-width boards, still creak beneath your feet. The furniture is adorned with vintage books and brass candlesticks. The house harbors fireplaces that stretch up the wall, chandeliers and an elevator, which makes the house, allegedly, the second residence in Kentucky to have one, after the Governor’s mansion, according to Bolton.

What makes the house Bolton’s is the artwork that embellishes each room, hallway and landing.

“All of the art tells a story,” he said.

He and his late partner collected an array of art, something they both loved, particularly drawings, he said.

“We were very into cubism and hyperrealism,” he said.

And each piece is strategically placed, each sweeping away the viewer into a different time and place.

So as history lives on in the house between its original owner and through his art, Bolton’s history with the home started when he was just a boy.

“I love the house. I’ve loved it since I was a kid,” he said. “We drove past this house on our way to Cincinnati. We lived in Somerset. My mother always wanted to drive down Pleasant Street, because she loved the houses (on this street). I never knew I’d be living here.”

As for his favorite part of the house, he said he loves it all.

“You don’t have to enhance it. The house enhances everything you do,” he said. “If you put a piece of furniture in here, it looks better than it’s ever been. You bring a bunch of weeds in, it becomes a beautiful bouquet. It’s almost eerie,” he said.

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