Avidly engaged in civic life, Jim and Pat Host have made a home in Lexington’s Beaumont Reserve that provides quiet comfort in contrast to their busy schedules.
“His motto is ‘I can’t sleep fast enough,’” says Pat, noting that husband Jim gets started at 4 a.m. every day. At 80, the collegiate sports marketing pioneer and founder of the former Host Communications is busier than ever.
Jim credits Pat, 78 – a whirlwind herself who’s heavily involved with the American Heart Association – with turning their 7,100-square-foot home into a welcoming sanctuary. “This is a great place that my wife’s created,” he says of the home at 2216 Savannah Lane, where they’ve lived since 2004.
Lush landscaping has transformed their yard into an intimate hideaway. “The back yard when we first came did not have a tree on it,” says Pat, who worked with landscape architect Andrew Moore and design firm Nature’s Expressions to turn their half-acre corner lot into a magical haven. The lot was raised 8 feet, then majestic trees, boulders and softscaping were added, creating natural screening.
The centerpiece is a tranquil water feature. “The entire layout of the garden was based on the fountain being the focal element from all vantage points of the yard as well as the patio and breakfast area,” said Moore, the landscape architect. When a millstone big enough to fit the space couldn’t be found, Nature’s Expressions fabricated a round piece for the fountain using a large slab of natural stone. “The sides were slightly tapered in towards the bottom so that the water would cascade off the top and create the sound we were looking for,” Moore said.
Magnolia trees known as Bracken’s Brown Beauties, originally 14 feet tall, now tower above the landscape, along with Fastigiate (“upright”) white pines. Stone steps descend to a side patio, shielded by arborvitae. “The landscaping has been the hallmark of the property,” Pat says. “It’s beautifully designed and has matured, and the magnolias are my dear love.”
‘The layout was perfect’
The intimacy and ease of their outdoor space is reflected inside their six-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home. Although quite spacious, “it’s very warm and cozy,” Pat says. “When I walked through, I knew that the layout was perfect. … It’s great for entertaining, it’s great for family.”
The first-floor master suite with a peaceful reading nook, decorated in calming ivory tones, is “light, roomy, airy,” Pat says.
The expansive kitchen, recently made over, has a new subway-tile backsplash – in subtle gray and white – and black granite countertops with a marbled appearance. Set against white cabinetry, the look is “very dynamic.” At the center, a large island – perfect for buffet-style entertaining – allows for easy flow.
An upstairs overlook offers views of the tall foyer and two-story living room with abundant natural light, fireplace and contemporary built-ins. Three oversized second-floor bedrooms – plus another that serves as Pat’s office – are meticulously decorated.
The home has been ideal for sharing time with others. Jim, a UK alum and one of the university’s first baseball scholarship recipients, has close ties with his alma mater. He and Pat have hosted many events, including dinners for UK students and baseball coaches. They’ve also entertained Derby guests, SEC commissioners and Jim’s extended family, which includes 61 first cousins. “The family reunion is the most significant time that everyone flowed through the house, and it worked perfectly,” Pat said.
‘A transition of lifestyle’
Downstairs, the enormous walkout basement with plush furniture and a full bar doubles as an amazing archive of their lives.
“Our life has been relationships built on professional and personal involvements,” Pat says. Jim started what became Host Communications in 1972, leaving an indelible mark as a visionary in collegiate sports marketing before selling the company in 2004. He’s a member of 16 halls of fame, a travel industry pioneer, a former state cabinet official and a man who has guided many projects that have benefitted Kentucky. The basement holds a trove of treasures, including memories of hundreds of significant moments – reflected in photographs of Jim with celebrated national sports figures and industry leaders – and memorabilia from every NCAA Final Four since 1974.
Pat, his partner in building the company, has been the unofficial archivist through their 29 years together. They’re working with Terry Birdwhistell, retired dean of UK libraries and longtime oral historian, to share a major portion of their archives with UK. Pat is organizing their extensive library as she and Jim embrace their next chapter. Jim has completed more than 20 oral-history interviews with Birdwhistell, and their archives will be shared with UK’s Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History as a resource for people researching the history of collegiate sports marketing.
“There’s nothing more important than the present life you live in,” Jim says, “and remembering the history, but making sure that you don’t get so encaptured . . . that it gets all-encompassing. So, it’s time for us to let go.”
Pat doesn’t see it as downsizing but as “a transition of lifestyle.” She hopes their Savannah Lane home is just as special to the next owners. “It’s been absolutely ideal,” she says. “Our neighbors right around us are just like family. We take with us great memories but look forward to our next adventure in town-home living.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Paul Chartier of Keller Williams Bluegrass Realty. Open house is from 2 to 4 p.m. today.