Susan Stewart always loved the country. So, when she and her husband, Tinsley, decided to build their dream home near Versailles, they made sure it was surrounded by woods and green space.
The result of all their planning is a delightful blend of country simplicity and modern luxury, peaceful rural ambiance and easy access to necessities and attractions in town.
The story-and-a-half home is located at 6135 Hiddenaway Lane, a quiet cul-de-sac a few miles south of Versailles, the county seat of Woodford County, and just off the Bluegrass Parkway. The home sits on a lot of just over one acre, and is one of only a few houses along a tree-lined stretch of rural road where bird songs are main sound that fills the air. Not only that, the 3,800-square-foot house backs up to deep woods where deer are often seen. There’s scant traffic on the lane – it’s a great and safe place for kids to ride their bikes – and nature is not just close by. It’s everywhere.
“We picked the place because it was so quiet, secluded and wooded,” Susan said. “I loved being on a cul-de-sac because I wanted to raise the kids where it was quiet and safe, with the privacy of the woods. I grew up in Southern Indiana surrounded by farmland, so this really felt like home.”
The picturesque brick home, only four years old, melds perfectly with its rustic, bucolic surroundings. It features a variety of roofline styles, with multiple shed dormers set off by bay windows. A big porch wraps around the front, adding country ambiance and providing a perfect place for entertaining large groups of guests, or just sitting in quiet contemplation of nature.
The home boasts four bedrooms – a luxurious master suite and guest room on the first floor and two children’s bedrooms upstairs – plus our full baths. Rooms are spacious throughout, especially the bedrooms, and many huge windows flood the home with bright sunlight and offer stunning views of the park-like scenery outside. There are hardwood floors throughout the home, except for two carpeted bedrooms upstairs and tiled bathroom floors. The master bathroom floors are heated which, Susan says, are much appreciated on cold winter mornings.
The home’s open floor plan makes for relaxed living, with everything radiating off the central living area: formal dining room, great room, kitchen, laundry room, and the garage entrance. There’s even a butler’s pantry to help with large gatherings. Stepping across the porch and through the recessed front entrance leads you into a wide central hallway that is so open visitors can see straight through the house to the woods visible through big windows at the back.
Susan says her family loves the home’s peace, quiet and close proximity to nature.
“We saw a weasel crossing the road the other night. There are all kinds of birds, from cranes to wild turkeys. There’s a real country feel to it, but it’s also very convenient to town. Ten minutes to Kroger’s in Versailles; 20 minutes to Lexington. Louisville is an hour away.”
Among the home’s high points, Susan says she particularly fell in love with the open floor plan.
“I like the fact that both the laundry and master suite are on the first floor, with the guest bedroom. Everything is right there. The kids’ bedrooms are upstairs, which is nice, and they also have a loft up there where they can have get-togethers and enjoy their privacy.”
Susan admits, however, that she has largely taken over the loft herself and now spends more time there than the kids do.
“I read up there, watch some TV, or just sit and relax. It’s where I hang out most of the time.”
Susan and Tinsley, a physician, met in Louisville, where he grew up. They first moved to Versailles in 2009 so Tinsley could be closer to his work on the medical staffs at Lexington’s VA Hospital and the University of Kentucky. They even bought the Versailles home of two-time Kentucky governor and U.S. senator A.B. “Happy” Chandler. But they still yearned for a home in the country, and in 2015 construction started on their long-planned Hiddenaway Lane home.
They used an “English cottage” design they had found in Southern Living magazine, then tweaked it to incorporate their own needs and ideas.
The home’s big wrap-around front porch, part of the original design, quickly became favorite feature.
“I loved being able to entertain out there,” Susan said. “It was so secluded that you could out be on the porch and still not feel like you were sharing somebody else’s front yard.”
One of the tweaks they made was including the fleur-de-lis symbol in metal railings around the house to honor Louisville, their former home. The fleur-de-lis appears on the city seal of Louisville, which is named for French King Louis XIV.
Bigger tweaks included adding a sunroom added to the first floor master bedroom, and creating a small library adjacent to it.
“It was supposed to be a laundry room, but we expanded it into a library for my husband, “Susan explained. “He loved books and reading.”
The family moved to their new home in May 2015, but Tinsley Stewart fell seriously ill soon afterward. Tinsley -- a one-time newspaper photographer who became a medical doctor, held a master’s degree in theology, and had studied in Europe -- died in 2017.
“The sunroom was going to be our private hideaway,” Susan said. “But he didn’t get to enjoy the house very long. He was a wonderful man.”
Susan continues to live in the home with their two youngest daughters – one of whom is now studying in New Zealand – and a granddaughter. But the house is up for sale.
“I hate to leave it,” Susan says. “But it’s a little too big for three people, and all the kids will be gone before you know it. I need to downsize.”
She thinks the home would be perfect for a young family with children, or for an older couple with family coming regularly to visit.
“The house is unique,” she said. “I haven’t seen another one like it anywhere. It looks like a traditional country home, but it’s also very bright and airy. If you want beauty, peace and space around you, and also be close to everything, this is country living at its best.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Alice Stewart of ERA Show Place Reality. To view more photos of the home, visit the Homeseller gallery at Kentucky.com.