Ms. Delight Hanover had her eye on the place for a couple of years – driving by and admiring the long tree-lined driveway that leads up to the towering columns on the front porch.
“I was looking for more property because I was just starting to get into the broodmare business,” said Ms. Hanover. “The place was such a mess. They had barbed wire fencing on each side of the driveway coming in. No horse fence, just raw land that wasn’t getting the care it should, but I could see the potential.”
Then one day in 2006 there was a For Sale sign at 5508 Russell Cave Road.
“It was the day the sign went out,” said Ms. Hanover, who had recently refurbished and sold another historic property on Paris Pike. “Inside I loved that the bedrooms were all big. I stayed here about two hours, and then said ‘okay this is the one that I want to fix up next.’”
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Nearly every window of the 6,000 square foot, four bedroom, three bath home offers panoramic views of the 95 rolling acres of farmland. The property includes a 13 stall horse barn, lovingly converted from a tobacco barn.
There’s also a 66-foot round pen, three run-in sheds, heated field waterers, an expansive metal equipment barn, and a three bedroom, two bath manager’s home.
YOU WOULDN’T KNOW THE PLACE NOW
Back in September 1962, the home was profiled in the Sunday Herald-Leader by home writer and preservation activist Bettye Lee Mastin.
The story began “You wouldn’t know the place now.” It was a reference to the many changes that the home had seen over the previous 127 years.
The owners at the time, Mr. and Mrs. John Palumbo, had just completed a major renovation, converting it “from a two-story Victorian dwelling with a three-story tower into a white-columned, colonial-style residence.”
The story went on to say that the original 1835 structure probably had only two rooms, “the present kitchen which once had a huge fireplace and a small chamber on the second floor.”
Although numerous changes have been made in the 56 years since that story was printed, much of the original character remains.
“When I bought it, there was a 1970s vibe in here with wall-to-wall shag,” said Ms. Hanover. Luckily much of the wide plank ash and poplar hardwood underneath was salvageable.
Today Ms. Hanover cooks nearly every day in that same kitchen space, now expanded and appointed with custom cabinetry, granite tops, and high end appliances,
These days Ms. Hanover describes herself as retired from the horse business. She stays busy managing Alias, the record label that she started in Los Angeles in the 1980s. The back catalog includes releases from alternative bands like American Music Club, Yo La Tengo, Archers of Loaf and Ancient Warfare.
It was a couple of regional acts, Throneberry in Cincinnati and Paul K and the Weathermen in Lexington that first brought her to the Bluegrass.
The future looks fairly wide open for Ms. Hanover and her companion Egon Danielson, an electrical engineer and musician. Costa Rica and Spain haven’t been ruled out as future homes.
“I’m looking to go someplace warm for part of the year, and maybe keep a place in downtown Lexington,” said Ms. Hanover. And oh yes, she’d like to someday try her hand at restoring a midcentury modern.
This week’s feature home is listed with Zach Davis of Kirkpatrick & Co. Farm Brokerage.