It didn’t take long for Tommy and Tracey McLarney to decide to make improvements to their home on Longbridge Lane rather than move to gain the entertainment space they wanted.
“It was less than a minute,” Tommy recalled. “We love the neighborhood, the green space behind us, the neighbors — we love everything about it.”
Tracey had been contemplating an addition since the successful renovation of their owners’ suite bathroom five years prior.
“The big question was, can we take out that wall and extend this room 12 feet?” Tracey said, pointing to her beautifully remodeled kitchen.
“I always knew I wanted to bump it out and bump out the space above it for a big closet, but I couldn’t financially justify a 12-foot bump-out in the basement,” she added. “We hadn’t figured out how to make it work.”
The couple’s son Brannon, then 16, unwittingly came up with the solution.
“He had just started driving and was parking his car outside and complaining that walnuts from the walnut trees in back kept hitting his car,” Tracey said. “One day he said ‘Why can’t we just build a three-car garage on the back of the house?’”
“A new garage was the perfect solution,” she said. “It gave us the space, the foundation we needed, to build up.”
“That was the most expensive walnut in the history of the world,” Tommy quipped.
The roof of the McLarneys’ new garage doubles as the base for a new 35-foot-long deck.
The family enjoys the outdoor area, which overlooks their back yard and adjacent green space that abuts Veterans Park. The new structure also anchors 12-foot bump-outs in the kitchen and the second-floor owners’ suite, which gained a walk-in closet.
Ideas for a renovated kitchen had been swirling in Tracey’s head for most of the 17 years she and her family had lived here.
The former president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky and her husband, an anesthesiologist at University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, spent no time deciding on a contractor.
“We had such a good experience with J&R Construction when they did the master bath that we didn’t even get bids,” Tommy said. “We knew their work and we knew they would be on time and on budget, and they were.”
When the couple met with Jimmy McKinney, the construction company’s founder and CEO, Tracey handed him detailed plans that turned out to be accurate to within a half-inch of the blueprints.
Working with J&R project designer Seth Jones to refine the details, Tracey chose an ivory finish with subtle brown glaze for kitchen wall and floor cabinets and a rich mocha finish for the island.
Four bar stools tucked beneath the granite overhang provide casual seating at the island. Matching granite countertops, glass tile back splash and hardwood floors pull everything together.
To improve flow and increase natural light, Tracey more than doubled the width of the 36-inch-wide opening between the kitchen and dining room to 7 feet.
“It was cool to watch Tracey and Seth buzz saw through this,” Tommy said.
“We were in this kitchen having a party four months later, to the day,” Tracey added.
Upstairs, the bump-out gave Tracey the walk-in closet of her dreams without disturbing the bathroom renovation completed nine years earlier.
“I call it my prayer closet,” she said. “I spend a lot of time in there.”
Two guest bedrooms and a bathroom complete the second floor. The couple’s 15-year-old daughter Keegan occupies the third floor, which has two bedrooms and a bathroom.
In the walk-out basement, J&R Construction converted the existing garage to a sports TV room, replacing the garage door with 12-foot-wide sliding glass doors.
To keep things neat and organized, Tracey also requested the crew add built-in storage space — including a closet for craft supplies — on the exterior wall.
A billiard table occupies the original space. Tracey and her father enhanced the basement’s aesthetic appeal and unified existing and new space by applying the same faux finish paint to the walls in the adjacent TV room.
“We use this area all the time,” Tracey said. “It’s been perfect.”
In fact, Tommy’s men’s group from Centenary United Methodist Church meets there every week.
“We had a birthday party for (Tracey) a couple of years ago, and we had almost 100 people here,” Tommy said. “There were people down here watching the UK-Florida game, people upstairs — we had people everywhere.”
Crosses displayed throughout the home symbolize the McLarneys’ Christian faith and their commitment to hospitality-based ministry.
“Before we did this renovation, we prayed about it,” said Tracey, who leads the women’s ministry at Centenary United Methodist Church. “We made a promise to each other and to God that we would use this house (for a higher purpose).”
“In fact, the first year after the renovation, we had 52 parties,” she added. “Most of them were dinner parties with one, two or three couples.”
“We don’t try to beat anybody over the head with it, but it’s also our promise to God,” Tommy said.
To see more images of this week’s featured home, visit Kentucky.com and search “Homeseller.”