This property is a turn-of-the century, grandly-scaled Colonial Revival residence along a stretch of Midway Pike locally known as “Millionaire’s Row.”
The two-and-one-half-story, 5 bedroom, 4 bath, 7000 square foot frame home is across the street from the world-renown Lane’s End Farm where Her Majesty, the Queen of England often stays during visits to the United States.
“There’s nowhere like the inner Bluegrass,” said co-owner Ashley Randle Averell. “It’s special in all of the world.”
“Restoring this place was the work of a lifetime for Daddy,” she said. “Anything he did, he did with gusto, and this farm was one of his proudest moments.”
Averell’s father, the late Edwin Randle, was an engineer who built bridges and highways throughout the country. He also bred, raised and raced Standardbred horses for more than 30 years. Randle died last year at the age of 87.
The house, which is on the National Historic Register, has been the Randle family home for the last 33 years, and was the site of many charitable events, family weddings and anniversaries.
“This is more than a house, it’s a magical place,” Averell said. “You feel like you have to share it.”
ASHLEY HOUSE FARM
The entrance to the property off Midway Pike is flanked by a dry-laid rock fence that gives way to a quarter mile drive through mature oak and walnut specimens to the main house. The entry hall walls feature paneled wainscoting beneath hand-painted French Zuber wallpaper depicting a panorama of Eurasian garden and city scenes.
From the wide center hall double pocket doors open to each side with access to the dining room and a living room with a polygonal bay window. Rooms are large with nine-and-a-half foot ceilings, oak strip flooring and unique decorative millwork.
The restoration of the home by Edwin Randle was both sensitive and meticulous with period charm retained throughout – classical revival mantles, built-in cabinets, a Victorian bathroom with fireplace, and original wood louvered shutters outside.
The house and 237 acre farm are drenched in history. The property was originally known as “Oakalee” in 1903 when purchased by Lucas Brodhead, a nationally known horseman who rose to prominence managing Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds for Woodburn Farm in the 1870s and 1880s. After living and working for 20 years at Woodburn, this residence was built as Brodhead’s retirement home.
Edward O’Rear, Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, purchased the property in 1943 and renamed it “Ashley House,” which bears no connection to present co-owner Ashley Randle Averell.
THE GREAT RACE
The home is briefly featured in The Great Race, a 1965 movie starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon and Natalie Wood, which includes a few scenes shot in the Bluegrass area. At the 17-minute mark, The Great Leslie (Curtis) steps off the front porch, walks to his race car waiting under the port cochere, then speeds off down the driveway.
The property includes an eight stall horse barn, a 1,135 square foot two-bedroom guest house, a three-car detached garage, and numerous other shops and outbuildings.
To his credit, Edwin Randle was careful not to heedlessly modernize or follow passing fashion, preferring instead to thoughtfully curate the home as a period restoration -- keeping as much of the original home intact as possible, grand and glorious as it is.
“After all this was built as a farm manager’s house,” Averell says with a smile. “But we’re talking about the manager of the most important horse farm in the world at the time.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Bill Justice of Justice Real Estate, Lexington.