Historic to modern, Old Louisville mansion is full of holiday cheer

It’s difficult to imagine an Old Louisville house with its original floor plan, woodwork, doors, windows and hardware looking as current as Bethany and Joshua Adams’ home does. But Bethany, a licensed and certified interior designer, has managed to preserve the best aspects of the home’s historical features while incorporating personal, modern touches to turn it into a practical living space for her family of four.

Award-Winning Design

“I like a more modern style,” Bethany said, “but this is a beautiful historic house, and what appealed to us is the openness.” Though the home was built in 1896, it was ahead of its time in the sense that it had a modern, open floor plan on the first floor — with the exception of the kitchen. “Like all kitchens from that time period,” Bethany explained, “it was really closed off with lots of doors and walls.” She and husband Joshua wanted to open the space up to create more of a connection to the front of the house; and, of course, bring in a bit more of a modern style.

The renovated kitchen, which earned Bethany a Design Excellence Award from the American Society of Interior Designers just last month, has Carrera and Bardiglio marble countertops and floors.

“I chose marble to reference the original marble sidewalk that is outside,” Bethany said. “I really felt like this kitchen had to have marble, to sort of tie this modern kitchen back in to the original architecture.”

In addition to incorporating the same type of material, she also paid attention to detail, referencing the diamond pattern from the front-door glass in the kitchen flooring.

Open shelving and flat-front cabinets in a simple, modern, frameless style bring the space into 2018. Brass handles on the cabinetry, brushed-brass plumbing fixtures, and a laminated brush-brass toe kick complement the space’s light fixtures — one of which is original to the home.

Some aspects, however, like holiday decorations that currently adorn the coffee table, are not part of the Adams’ everyday comings and goings. They’re temporary, for the Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour. Though Evelyn can usually manage to follow Bethany’s “do not touch” instructions, it’s unlikely baby Iris will have that much self-control by this time in 2019.

“Next year, when she’s toddling around, we won’t have little Christmas trees all over the table.”

For now, the trees remain — at least through the end of the tour.

Home of the Week:Repurposed items are the driving force of this Jeffersonville home

Historic to modern, Old Louisville mansion is full of holiday cheer

Know a house that would make a great Home of the Week? Email writer Lennie Omalza at aloha@lennieomalza.com or Lifestyle Editor Kathryn Gregory at kgregory@gannett.com.

The Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour

WHAT: The 42nd Annual Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour allows people to visit the largest collection of Victorian architecture in the country, decked out in their holiday finery.

WHEN: Noon to 6 p.m., Dec. 1-2

WHERE:Leave from the Old Louisville Visitors Center in Central Park, 1340 S. 4th St.

TICKETS: Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour presale tickets are available until Nov. 30 for $25 and can be purchased online at oldlouisville.org/holiday-home-tour or by visiting the Old Louisville Visitors Center. Children 12 and under are free. Day-of tickets can be purchased for $30 at the Visitors Center.

PARKING: Free parking is available at Cochran Elementary School, 500 W. Gaulbert Ave. Shuttles run continuously to all stops on the tour.

BOURBON TASTING: Tour-goers aged 21 and over can enjoy a premium bourbon tasting hosted by the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience at the Louisville Bourbon Inn, 1332 S. 4th St., from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 1 and 1-5 p.m. Dec. 2.

MORE INFORMATION: The Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour is the primary fundraiser for the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council, which preserves, protects and promotes the history of Old Louisville. For more information about the tour, visit oldlouisville.org.

Nuts & bolts

Owners: Bethany and Joshua Adams, and their daughters Evelyn, 7, and Iris, 8 months. Bethany is the principal interior designer at Bethany Adams Interiors, and Joshua is an assistant professor of English at the University of Louisville.

Home: This is a 4-bed, 2-and-a-half-bath, 4,500-square-foot, Romanesque Revival brick home in Old Louisville. It was built in 1896 and has a second-floor family room, library, playroom and a finished basement mudroom/laundry room. While most front porches were added to Victorian homes at the turn of the last century, this home's original design includes a large colonnaded covered entry and second story covered balcony. The home's exterior is a mix of plain and beveled brick and intricately carved decorative terracotta elements.

Distinctive Elements: With only slight modifications to the kitchen footprint, the home retains its original floor plan and all its original woodwork, doors, windows and hardware, including six unique stained-glass windows, which, like most of the original windows on the front of the home, were designed to pocket up into the masonry walls. The home also boasts eight fireplaces, several of which are built into corners and one at the bottom of the stairs that appears to have no chimney — it vents out to the side of the house. The marble on the front walkway is original and believed to be the only remaining example of such a walkway in Old Louisville. The master bathroom retains its original marble wainscoting and tile floors, as well as the original claw foot tub. Balusters for the newly opened stairway to the mudroom from the kitchen were hand-turned by a mill worker to exactly match those existing on the home's other three stairways. The original triple-bay, cast-iron laundry sinks in the basement were refinished and put back into service along with the original pink marble backsplash.

Applause! Applause! A special thank you to Stefan Rumancik and the crew from Designer Builders for helping to achieve the vision of modern living in an historic home.