Compact charm

The 505 building on West Main Street has 17 units and is in the 500s on Main complex, directly across from Rupp Arena and Triangle Park.
The 505 building on West Main Street has 17 units and is in the 500s on Main complex, directly across from Rupp Arena and Triangle Park.

Interior decorator Ed Botkin may have found his forever home.

His condo at 505 West Main, in the 500s on Main complex, has just 784 square feet of living space, but it gives him all the room he needs to create a beautiful home with a spectacular view of Triangle Park.

“When my Realtor, Reece Miller of Signature Real Estate, brought me to see it, he said, ‘It’s going to take a little bit of imagination,’” Botkin said. “When I first saw it, it looked like a bomb had hit it. It was a mess.”

The unfinished, one-bedroom end unit on the mezzanine didn’t have a single closet — or a window in the bedroom, which was required to meet building code. Its exposed ductwork and ceiling beams were a little too industrial looking for Botkin’s taste.

Even so, “I fell in love with it,” he said.

“It has these windows and the light is great,” Botkin said, looking at the long wall of floor-to-ceiling windows in his open kitchen and living room. The windows extend to a second wall at the far end of his living room.

“It’s a fabulous place to work.”

Botkin is an interior decorator at Commonwealth Designs (formerly Barlow Homes), which currently is building homes and townhomes in the Ellerslie at Delong neighborhood on Richmond Road, as well as in Georgetown and Louisville. He and remodeler Will Muetterties also own their own firm, Petra Designs.

Custom spaces

Once Botkin decided to buy the condo, it took six weeks to finish its interior. That included cutting through the outer brick wall in his bedroom to create a window, which provides egress as well as more light into the room.

A friend, Paul Marshall, helped Botkin design a two-door closet that Corman and Associates built and matched to his dark bedroom furniture. Because the room is small, the closet doors slide from side to side rather than opening out into the space.

Botkin had all the exposed ductwork and beams in the ceiling painted black.

“I wanted it to feel like it’s in New York,” he said. “I like the dark and light contrast.”

The decorator splurged on his lighting fixtures.

“Brecher’s Lighting helped me,” he said. “A lot of people say that when they drive down Main Street now, my condo glows, where it used to be dark.”

Botkin, an Anchorage, Ky., native, has lived in nine different homes since moving to Lexington in 1993. His first home was in Hartland on the city’s south side.

He eventually moved to the Hamburg area, living in the West Wind neighborhood as well as the Prestwick attached-home community. From there, he moved across Man o’ War Boulevard to Homeplace, where he lived in two different homes.

His mother, who had dementia, lived with him until her death in 2007.

Since then, Botkin has been downsizing in stages. Two years ago, he moved to The Highpoint condo building at Woodland Avenue and East High Street, where his unit had 980 square feet.

One of the first residents there, Botkin moved in with only his clothes and a Tempur-Pedic bed. The people who purchased his previous house also bought all of its furnishings.

For 14 months, Botkin liked being closer to downtown and walking his Sheltie, Reagan, through nearby Woodland Park. But when he got an unsolicited inquiry about selling his condo for a handsome profit, he agreed.

Botkin rented a townhome in Stuart Hall until he bought and finished the condo on West Main, where his front door is just a few steps from his parking spot in the building’s private garage off Felix Street. The complex has a second garage entrance on Algonquin Street.

Botkin decorated his new condo with the furniture and accessories he had purchased for his East High Street home.

“The major thing about a small space is that you just bring in the things you really need,” he said. “I really like that. I don’t need 2,500 square feet. Even at Highpoint, I had a hearth room I never used. You don’t have a lot of clutter, which is my design style.”

Urban living

A smaller home has enhanced Botkin’s life.

“It’s so freeing not to have so much stuff,” he said. “I can’t tell you how much I like it. I am much more minimalist than I was 10 years ago. I like the old mixed with the new, antiques with contemporary things. That’s downtown, really.”

His dog, Reagan, is happy to sit on his bed beside the living room window and watch the Main Street traffic below.

In the mornings, Botkin and Reagan cross the street to Triangle Park. In the evenings, they walk north to Gratz Park.

“I like to sit there and look at the (surrounding) architecture,” Botkin said. “It’s a hidden treasure that no one takes advantage of.”

Seven months after moving downtown, he has embraced a diverse neighborhood, which is home to the homeless and the wealthy, as well as people in between, in addition to many visiting tourists.

“It’s Dickens-esque,” Botkin said. “During Breeders’ Cup, I met people from Ireland and Europe. It’s a different way of life.”

Although he has a history of moving often, Botkin might just stay put, downsized and downtown.

“My lifestyle would have to change dramatically to go,” he said.

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