From the immaculate front yard decorated with various stones and a rain chain, to the cozy porch overlooking a rock waterfall to mimic a Kentucky stream bed, one doesn’t know where to stop and look when arriving at Steve and Trish Sauter’s Windy Hills home. It’s a sight to see from the road, but taking a tour through the fleur-de-lis iron doors will make a jaw drop.
Steve’s family settled in St. Matthews over 100 years ago, starting out as dairy farmers on Rudy Lane. Steve and Trish lived in their ranch home for decades before wanting to expand into their extremely renovated 2,719-square foot one-story. In fall 2018, the couple paired with architect Jim Peterson, builder Vince Kimbel, and designers Julie Redmon and Jeffrey Thacker of Cherry House Furniture, to create their “elegant farmhouse,” as Trish calls their dream home.
The 1970s-era home was quite a bit smaller before its renovation. Construction included lifting the ceilings to create wooden vaults in the living room, creating more space, as well as adding a master suite and indoor patio. New wiring, plumbing, geothermal hvac and modern kitchen was a must, which includes a floating soffit above the island with light features that can be directed via iPhone. Hundreds of participants of the Tour of Remodeled Homes recently toured the Sauter’s home, where they stopped and stared at many of the architectural and techy features, according to Trish.
The Sauters knew they wanted all the latest technology and to use all local Louisville designers to build something with Southern charm, modern but with elements of age. The interior included transom windows from 1800s mansions, a fireplace in the living room with slate tile to mimic the rock beds of southern Kentucky, and random-width wood flooring also from southern Kentucky similar to an old farmhouse. The family spends most weekends and holidays at their home at Lake Cumberland, so this city abode was meant almost as a vacation spot. The home was designed to have cross breezes from the dining room to the indoor porch. “It provides outdoor living indoors,” the couple says.
The Sauters say they want to live in the home for the rest of their lives, so keeping everything on one floor was key. The new heated, mosaic tile shower includes a shower window to create an outdoor experience. Steve, who owns his own landscaping business, made sure that the backyard had a nightscape with illumination on the hydrangea trees. The lighting scheme has a “completely different look after dark,” he says. The detached garage lights up like a giant lantern with glass doors luminating amber light.
Julie, who has spent 15 years as a designer at Cherry House, went with a rustic but sophisticated look for the family’s new home. “It needed to be comfortable for ‘them’ (and) be who they are,” Julie says. She chose pictures of trees as you walk in, and fabrics and furniture that weren’t too traditional or too modern. A solid wood dining table blends nicely with the farmhouse floors, granite countertops and bright cabinetry. Julie glammed up Trish’s office, decorated the Sauter’s daughter’s room with an antique dresser and upholstered bed and created a mud room incorporating the family’s love of horses. “(Cherry House) did a fantastic job of marrying modern and antique styles,” Trish says.
Perhaps one of the most eye-catching portions of the home is the wall display of niches of varying sizes in the living room. Jeffrey at Cherry House accessorized the niches with silk trees, hydrangeas and various pottery. The niches have a specialty lighting system, which creates a silhouette effect of the objects contained in each. “The key to everything is listening,” Julie says. “It’s their project. You need to be there to help them. That’s what I like about design … you’re starting with a blank slate … to see the end results, for me, it’s gratifying, satisfying. It’s like Christmas.”
Designers: Julie Redmon and Jeffrey Thacker of Cherry House Furniture
Builder: Vince Kimbel,
Architect: Jim Peterson