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Inside Hermitage Farm’s main house, barns

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Inside Hermitage Farm’s major home, barns

Legendary horse breeder Warner Jones has raised winners of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, Breeders’ Cup and a whole bunch of different stakes races on Hermitage Farm since taking on the land in 1936. The farm handed by the fingers of one other proprietor in 1994, earlier than Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, founders of 21c Museum Hotels, bought the farm in 2010.

“We purchased this farm to maintain it,” Wilson defined. “It was going to be subdivided.”

Along with sustaining the open inexperienced area that’s Hermitage Farm, Brown and Wilson have additionally continued the thoroughbred operation, opened farm-to-table restaurant Barn8 and renovated the primary house.

“We reside in a home about this age about eight miles from right here,” Wilson mentioned, “so we didn’t transfer into the home. We went about attempting to determine the way to make the farm proceed to be viable and herald revenue, so we determined that we’d renovate the home and open it to the general public.”

Restored proper

The Federal-style house, which was inbuilt 1830, was in first rate form when Brown and Wilson bought the property. It simply wanted a little bit of an replace.

“It wasn’t in horrible situation architecturally or structurally,” Wilson mentioned, explaining that the home was constructed of bricks that have been fired proper on the farm.

“It’s simply been made extra contemporary and ethereal. It’s (new) colours are mild. We utterly renovated, and Douglas Riddle of Bittners helped us with the inside.”

After an eight-month renovation, the home was refreshed with modern-day facilities, its historic attraction nonetheless intact.

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“This room is supposed as an instance the historical past of the home and the way these homes have been used over time, from 1830 to current,” Wilson mentioned of the small eating room towards the entrance of the house. “This home is uncommon in that it has two entrance doorways. (That’s) typical of Shakers, however Shakers (weren’t constructed) with this type of ornamentation, so we predict that in all probability this was a farm workplace.”

The area options an vintage sugar loaf cupboard, tables and chairs which were round so long as the home itself, and a small liquor cupboard that when belonged to Brown’s grandfather. A set of latest china brings in a contact of in the present day.

“When folks go to on tour,” Wilson mentioned, “we are able to present them how the home has advanced over the centuries.”

Distinctive décor

Brown and Wilson’s 21c Inns are recognized for being decked out with up to date artwork collections, and the décor of their Hermitage Farm house isn’t any completely different.

“Our up to date artwork assortment is in the home,” Wilson mentioned, “as it’s the place we reside, and at 21c, and Barn8.”

From a big, Chuck Shut tapestry to items by native artists Gaela Erwin and John Brooks, the house is full of a sizeable number of unique art work.

“These homes have tall ceilings,” Wilson defined, “and we love them for up to date artwork.”

He and Brown have fastidiously complemented the house’s 11-foot ceilings and historic options — similar to the unique flooring and hand-carved mantles — with daring art work.

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“Folks typically (attribute) residing in an previous home with antiques,” he added. “Laura Lee and I don’t reside that method. (We use) an vintage right here or there that anchors the room or has household significance. However they’re nice areas to showcase up to date artwork.”

Elevating racers

The assortment of artwork and antiques continues into the house’s adjoining secure, although the items right here — together with {a photograph} of 1953 Kentucky Derby winner Darkish Star — are clearly equine themed.

“These are a set of antiques and competitors carriages that I’ve used,” mentioned Wilson, an completed equestrian, referring to the assorted carriages on show, together with an iconic one from “Gone with the Wind.”

Previous the carriages and thru one other set of doorways, Wilson’s equestrian competitors companions — the four-legged members that pull his carriages — are resting or getting baths. A few of them have traveled with him to compete all around the world, together with Slovenia, Holland, England and Germany.

“The farm has a protracted historical past within the thoroughbred trade,” Wilson mentioned, describing how Hermitage continues to function as a thoroughbred nursery. “We elevate foals, after which we wean them and take them to a special barn and lift them till they’re yearlings. Then we take them to Keeneland on the market — after which they start their racing profession with different house owners.”

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The method cycles, he defined. “We breed them, they’ve their infants, we handle the infants, after which we re-breed the mares, so we (at all times) have completely different aged animals on the farm — and we hope all of them win the Kentucky Derby.”

Know a home that will make an excellent Residence of the Week? E mail author Lennie Omalza at or Way of life Editor Kathryn Gregory at 

nuts & bolts

Homeowners: Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. They’re the house owners of Hermitage Farm and the founders of 21c Museum Inns.

Residence: It is a 5-bed, 5-bath, 4,000-square foot Federal-style house that was inbuilt 1830. There’s an adjoining 1-bed, 1-bath, 600-square-foot smokehouse. Each are rentable for particular events or nights out on the Hermitage Farm property.

Distinctive components: Authentic hardwood flooring; 11-foot ceilings; totally functioning fireplaces; kitchen and catering prep space; unique up to date art work by world-renowned artists, together with Chuck Shut, Gaela Erwin and John Brooks; smokehouse with loft area.

Applause! Applause! Douglas Riddle of Bittners


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