Breathing new life and glamour into a vintage Tudor was the perfect task for Mark and Kelly Spies—an architect and designer with a shared passion for design. Now their family of five can add their own history to this happily-ever-after home.

The charm and character of Louisville can be attributed to everything from bourbon to that fabled race track, but its older, established neighborhoods are also part of its endless allure. One of those happens to be the Highlands, with its mature trees, diverse inhabitants and quirky architecture that ranges from California bungalows to historically-preserved Victorians. This is one of the many reasons that an architect and designer duo, Mark and Kelly Spies, chose this particular area to call home for their family of five.

“There was never a question of looking beyond the Highlands area,” Kelly shares. When the couple decided to move from their Seneca Gardens home – after a decade long renovation– they were looking for “move in ready.’ Their quest, with their realtor, Cameron Schanie, was a bit tedious as they were having a hard time finding a house to fit their needs. Says Kelly, “You could say that we were kind of picky as an architect and designer team.” (Mark is an architect/partner with Stengel Hill Architecture and Kelly heads up the interior design department at the same firm.) The house they found, not far from their former Seneca Gardens home, was not move-in ready for their family which includes daughter, Polly, and sons, Sam and Elliot along with Goldendoodle, Zoe, but the unique floorplan and architectural details swayed them. Says Kelly,

“The energy and the feeling in the home sparked our interest.”

They both gravitate toward a more modern vibe, but wanted to pay homage to the style and architecture of the period. They knew there would be a compromise which would lean toward a balanced blend of modern and traditional. It was important to them to preserve and repurpose as much of the original character as possible. From light fixtures that were refinished and reused to the five-panel doors that were removed and repurposed as barn doors, the Spies were eager to integrate as much of the home’s  vintage charm as possible.

The spacious dining room is a sophisticated yet functional example of a renovation brilliantly executed. A new wet bar with an antique mirror backsplash provides a striking contrast to the dark cabinetry; while a decorative chandelier brightens the round wood table and its sleek accent chairs. The couple kept all of the radiators on the first and second floor, so Kelly creatively used the one positioned in the bay window as a place to display her playful accessories.

Since the kitchen is the heart of any home, it wasn’t a surprise to see this bright and airy space come to life with Kelly’s design touch. Instead of just using the quartz for the countertops on the perimeter of the kitchen, they extended it up the wall as a backsplash giving it a more unified appearance. The cabinetry and island base are cloaked in a blue hue that gives the room a visual pop. Wood bar stools embrace the island illuminated by lantern pendant light fixtures. The breakfast nook accommodates a small, round table that is paired with contemporary accent chairs.

“There is something very special about the Highlands with its diversity, accessibility to Cherokee Park, shops, and restaurants,” says Kelly. “We love our street, neighbors, and new home. We find truth in knowing that a house is simply a structure, but a home is a place for family and love. We are so grateful that we have found our forever home and are blessed to be able to cherish it for years to come.”


We asked the Spies to share some of their essential design sources.

Custom Runners: Carpet Specialist in collaboration with Mindy Dever of Bentley Mills

Wallcoverings: Lindsay Raia of D.L. Couch for the wallcovering

Area rugs: Jenny Stephenson of FLOR for the area rugs

Cabinetry: Stanley Rader with Louisville Kitchen & Millwork, Inc.

Vanities: Surfaces of Louisville

Countertops: Bella Stone Designs

Custom doors and moldings: Cox Interiors

Construction: Austin Loader of New Age Construction

Landscaping: Davis Makk of Makk Landscaping, LLC

Paint: Dages Hikes Point Paint & Wallpaper

Appliances: Bonnycastle Appliance & TV

Hardware and fixtures: Signature Hardware, Pottery Barn Teen, Lumens, West Elm, Shades of Light, Wayfair

Posted on 2018-06-08 by Allison Jones