TOH: MIDLANE FARM

 

In the middle of bustling Hikes Lane stands a historical home that seems to be somewhat out of place amongst more modern architecture. But, at one time, the 1800s-Midlane Farmhouse was standing solo on many acres of rich land suitable for agricultural operations.


George Hikes came to Louisville around 1790 from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Traveling down the Ohio River via flatboat, he brought with him his wife, Barbara Oleweiler. They settled on land given to Hikes for his service in the revolution as a Colonel. Around 1820, a Federal five-bay L home, typical of the time, became the home of George Hikes Jr. and has remained in the family through the present-day passing through the hands of many generations.

Midlane Farm has been updated over its almost 200 years, never altered in drastic fashion, according to its website. The back and side porches were additions around 1870, electrical was added around the turn of the century, coal, then oil, heat was added in the 1920s, and indoor plumbing was added in 1948. All the systems were completely updated in 1983 when Barbara and Ed Stephens did an extensive renovation of the home. Preserving the historical integrity during the process, all the windows, doors, moldings, plaster, and general look of the house still appears as it would have centuries ago.

Now, the homeowners, the Stephens' son Chas and his wife Kim Laramore-Stephens live there and operate it as an Airbnb and event venue for weddings, receptions, showers, parties, and business meetings. Chas focuses on the management of the outside grounds, gardens, and buildings, and Kim takes on the interior.

Chas is a lifelong Louisvillian and is passionate about the community. He loves showing off his 4,200-square-foot home, resplendent with three bedrooms, one-and-a-half bathrooms, and traveler's quarters. He's known for taking his guests out on the town to show off all the city has to offer. "We love to interact and become friends with the repeat customers," Chas says. "If they're not familiar with Louisville, we let them experience the beauty." Kim was born in Texas and grew up in Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. She's the ultimate Southern lady who is an amenable hostess to those staying in the guest house and may want a drink in the fire-lit den. The couple met in high school, and after both ended previous relationships, they met again as adults and have been together for almost ten years.

The den is a compilation of the couple's travels and past lives with multiple college flags, Derby memorabilia, and license plates. This room shows the couple's personality, as they chose to use "poetic freedom" when decorating, says Chas. "Everything in here has some meaning," he says, possibly also meaning the couple's dog Rufus who snores on floor. Avid collectors, you can often find them driving miles and miles for a particular antique piece they saw online or heard about through acquaintances. They try to keep the details of the home as close to the period as possible. "We know the history of the home (and we believe we) have an obligation to the family members to keep it the same," Kim says. "We embrace what it is."

The kitchen is original, with a few updates of a brick and wood backsplash, a bright window, and white wooden cabinetry. The home contains a large dining room with an added chandelier the couple found "junking." Photos of people of the past line the walls in memory of family members and each room has a few pieces of the couple's southern folk pottery collection. Past the living room and small powder room, the parlor holds small events with two period pianos and furniture from the 1700s and 1800s. Chas' mother lived in the home before the couple, so they put their spin on the decor, adding antique furniture that looks like it "belongs" in the house, says Chas. "It's an evolution of tastes."

You can reach the bedrooms and master bath by either of the two staircases in the home. A twin Shaker bed and period wooden desk located in what the couple calls the Spinning Room, also appropriately holds a spinning wheel. Past another bedroom is the master bath with a 1913 clawfoot tub that sits on top of black and white tiles. The bathroom was updated in the 1940s to add a vanity and, soon, a stand-up shower. Steps lead up to the master suite, which holds the couple's collected antique furniture, including a four-post bed.

The couple's house is available for guests to rent, but most of the time it is a space for the couple to enjoy. Even though a lot of the furniture was made to look like it was original to the home, it was still essential to feel comfortable, Kim says. The couple loves spending time together in the mountains in Northeast Georgia, but they say Louisville will always be home.


Posted on 2020-03-06 by By Taylor Riley | Photos by Tim Furlong Jr
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