Home in the Bluegrass incorporates spirit of the Southwest

The first floor master suite features French doors that open onto the patio.
The first floor master suite features French doors that open onto the patio.

When Tom and Dale Schmidt were drawing up plans for their Lexington home 15 years ago, their inspiration came from West Texas.

They had fallen in love with the open floor plan concept of the home they were leaving behind in El Paso.

“We got used to the open architecture and landscapes of West Texas,” Tom said. “We wanted the freedom of space with an open feel from the dining room to the great room right through to the outdoor patio.”

The spirit of the American Southwest sweeps through every inch of Tom and Dale’s Lexington home at 1233 Cape Cod Circle. It’s a laid back family home that welcomes company and also incorporates Shaker practicality along with a healthy dose of rustic charm.

“When we were building, we didn’t waste a lot of space,” Tom said. “Our concept is not as traditional as some places you’ll find, but most everything on this level is usable space.”

When entering the home, guests walk directly into the dining room, which opens onto the great room. To help define the spaces, the dining area is beneath an open-air bridge that connects the two upstairs wings.

The kitchen has built-in shelving, a vegetable sink, pull-out cabinets, a double oven, a huge island, granite countertops and a breakfast area overlooking the pool. The two ovens are great for holiday baking with the kids and grandkids, according to Dale.

The first floor master suite features French doors that open onto the patio, a tray ceiling, a tiled shower, whirlpool tub, as well as his and hers walk-in closets connecting to a workout room with an office area.

The first floor living theme continues with a guest suite, a powder room, and a laundry room with generous cabinet and counter space.

The guest suite has its own full bath and shower along with a walk-in closet and access to the patio and pool area. Dale mentioned that the guest suite would also work well for an aging parent.

A large back patio, pergola, outdoor fireplace and in-ground salt water pool, give the Schmidts many options for enjoying the outdoors. Trees and a brick wall offer privacy.

“My favorite part of the house is the outside,” Dale said. “It’s a comfortable place to watch TV or just relax. I love the fireplace.”

“In Texas we spent a lot of time outside, and now with about 450 square feet of covered decking, we enjoy sitting out here in the evenings, cooking out here, eating out here, and entertaining. Our kids, grandkids and friends enjoy it too.”

On the move

Tom and Dale and their three children had previously lived in Lexington prior to their West Texas experience. Before retirement, Tom’s job with IBM/Lexmark had kept the family on the move across the country, and his frequent business trips were turning him into a seasoned world traveler.

“Being familiar with Lexington, we knew we wanted to be in the Dunbar school district,” Dale said. “And with Tom flying 80 to 90 days a year, we needed to be near the airport.”

A spacious lot within the gated community of Cape Cod Circle put the Schmidts within a few minutes of Dunbar High School, within five minutes of the airport, and within 10 minutes of Lexmark.

The Cape Cod Circle lake provides a nice view from the home’s large front veranda. The quiet spray of the lake fountain gives a nice sonic backdrop in the evenings, and there is private fishing for residents.

Inside the home, a front staircase and a back staircase lead up to a large loft area suitable for an office or recreation room. There are two full baths and three large bedrooms upstairs, each with walk-in closets. One of Dale’s favorite features of the home are the large second level walk-in storage spaces.

“The storage is well-lit and great for Christmas decorations or whatever,” Dale said.

The lower level of the home is also great for entertaining or watching sports, with 900 square feet of finished space, kitchenette and bar.

Creativity in hardwood

Most every piece of furniture in the house was crafted by Tom’s hands in the 1,500-square-foot woodworking shop found in the ground level of the home. The workshop has its own service staircase.

“I’m basically a furniture maker,” Tom said. “I like to use solid wood and not a lot of plywood for beds, dressers, entertainment centers, end tables, coffee tables and you name it.”

Many of Tom’s pieces are handsomely rustic or reflect the Shaker aesthetic. A pencil post bed in an upstairs bedroom and the master suite bed are among the standouts.

Tom explains how he got into custom furniture-making.

“A lot of times it’s building furniture to fit in a specific place,” Tom said. “When you can’t necessarily find a made piece of furniture to fit the space.”

“And woodworking became a nice hobby to distract me from work,” Tom said. “It’s a nice way to lose yourself after a day of work. And lastly, I’m cheap.”

Of course, the beautiful furniture won’t stay with the house when Tom and Dale move on to a new chapter of their life in retirement with their kids grown up and married.

But Tom’s creativity will remain throughout the house in the built-in desk in the master suite, the laundry room cabinets, the finished basement entertainment center, and many other shelves and cabinets throughout the home.

“We put a lot of heart and soul into our living space,” Dale said. “It’s a reflection of our style and what we enjoy doing in life.”

This week’s feature home is listed with Realtor Melinda Duncan of RE/MAX Creative Realty in Lexington. To see more images of this week’s featured home, visit the Homeseller photo gallery at