Mike Thornton’s house near downtown Paris would be right at home in the Lowcountry.
Long, deep verandas with rocking-chair space that rivals Cracker Barrel’s? Check.
Built over a garage with concrete columns to support an elevated foundation and protect the house from flooding? Check.
Tall windows and a casual, open floor plan conducive to both gathering and retreating? Check.
“It’s as close to the country while still being be in the city limits that you can get,” Mike said. He should know. He served as mayor for 10 years and was running for a third full term last year when he found out he had cancer. These days, he’s in remission and busier than ever.
When Mike bought 127 Taylor Ave. in 2000, it was a modest,1,200-square-foot home with one bedroom and one bathroom-- a tad smaller than he preferred. For 10 years, being able to hop on a pontoon and cruise Stoner Creek on a moment’s notice or fish off the private dock 75 feet from the house made up for the inconvenience.
In 2010, he drew the floor plan for a 3,500-square-foot addition to get the house the way he wanted it. Specs included using manufactured joists instead of 2x10s or 2x12s. They’re lighter, span greater distances than dimensional joists and cost less because it’s easier to run mechanicals through them-- factors to be considered when constructing a 700-square-foot A-frame style room with huge windows and a 20-foot ceiling.
The room’s so high off the ground it feels like a treehouse, but it took some tweaking to get it that way, Mike admitted. Initially, his vision for the space called for a custom-built tv and entertainment cabinet on one side of the room. To watch tv, you sat on the sofa with your back to spectacular panoramic views of the back yard and creek.
“The guy that was doing the concrete work kept telling me, ‘You’re gonna want to turn this room around,” and I said, ‘No, no, no. This is what I want.’ But sure enough, a few months later I bought a big tv and hung it above the mantel,” Mike recalls.
The massive owners’ suite is about the same size but three times larger than the one in the original part of the house. “I wanted a big master suite with a larger bathroom, a nice closet and access to the laundry room,” Mike explained.
He got it—and then some. With the bathroom and walk-in closet, the suite covers 900 square feet and has all of the amenities he wanted.
The en suite bathroom features a tile walk-in shower with multiple body jets and shower heads and an extra-deep whirlpool tub. It adjoins a walk-in closet with an enviable amount of hanging space, an island and access to the laundry room. “It’s bigger than I needed, but it turned out the way I wanted,” Mike said.
Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a loft overlooking the dining room take up most of the second floor. There’s also a freight elevator that serves the main floor and garage. “I had room to put it in, and I felt like if you were ever confined to a wheelchair, you’d need one,” Mike explained. He also widened hallways and doorways throughout the house to accommodate a wheelchair.
Once finished with the addition, Mike turned his attention to the original part of the house by renovating the kitchen and dining room and enlarging the bedroom. Synthetic stone applied to a wall and column mimic natural stone used for the fireplace in the dining room.
The Paris native recently moved to a farm about five minutes away, outside the city limits. He raises cattle and keeps horses to run them there. “I used to spend a lot of time on the water, either here or at the lake, just about every weekend,” Mike said, feigning melancholy. “And I traded all of that to go back to work 7 days a week. Every time I come back here, I realize I do kind of miss it.”
The residence is listed for sale with Thwaites Realtors LLC, 1620 S. Main, Paris. Call 859-987-9119 or visit www.thwaitesrealtors.com for more information or to schedule a showing.
SIDEBAR: Stoner Creek was named for Michael Stoner, who settled near the creek in the 18th century. It’s also said to be where bourbon whiskey was first imparted with its distinctive color. About 7 miles upstream from the Thornton residence is Darley’s historic Stonerside Farm. You know Darley property is close when you see a contemporary, triple-span covered bridge. Believed to be the first built in Kentucky in 120 years, the covered bridge connects the two sides of the farm.