Soon Bahrami and her husband, Joe Workman both have challenging and time-consuming careers––she’s a dermatopathologist, he’s a dentist. But the two also have another portion of their professional lives they take seriously; the couple loves to buy property. Their Highlands home, located on the top of the Falafel House in the Highlands and built in 1889, was a “ginormous” renovation, but anyone who walks in would say it was worth it.
Soon and Joe bought the place in 2010. In the middle of a bustling Bardstown Road, Joe, the contractor, and Soon, the decorator, got right to work. The space was in “horrendous shape,” according to Soon, where multiple walls made for small spaces. So, the couple demolished the excess walls, opening up the property, rehabilitated the hardwood floors and lifted the ceilings 2 feet to utilize it as a residential space. But, Soon says, they wanted to retain the “original flavor” of the industrial-themed unit.
Now, the 1,700-square-foot space is a 2-bedroom, 2-and-a-half bath getaway with a 600-square-foot studio unit next door. The inspiration for the décor came from two dark brown industrial light fixtures Soon says really “spoke” to her. “I want this place to look vintage,” she says. And it certainly does with a late 1800s British carousel, steam-punk artwork and old sewing machines used as shelves. Other distinguishing features include porthole mirrors in an upstairs bathroom, a desk made out of airplane material in the master bedroom and stairs leading to a skylight that goes out to an outdoor entertaining space on the roof.
The couple uses the space as a getaway from their Cherokee Gardens abode, as well as to rent to and entertain guests from outside the area. They love to redo homes, Soon says, because it’s how they decompress. “I don’t have children, I have buildings,” Soon says.