New Form in Old Louisville

Inside a Mid-Century Modern Home Overlooking Central Park

Story by Janice Carter Levitch

Photos by Luke Metzinger

Chelsey Cox, along with her husband Kyle, daughter Palmer Jane and cat Gobi, happened to stumble upon their home in Old Louisville by chance one afternoon while visiting friends nearby. They noticed a for sale sign in the yard and fell in love immediately. The home was professionally renovated prior to their 2014 purchase, and they are the first people to live in the home as it was imagined by the architects. They weren’t looking for a new residence, but when they found this gem, they couldn’t let it slip through their hands.

“We weren’t even looking to buy a house, but we happened to have a friend who was buying a house down the street,” Chelsey said. “So we were just walking around the neighborhood with her. We truly fell in love with the architecture and design of it. We knew we had to be here in this home; we’re from Florida and after being in Louisville for seven years, we needed a home that reflected our taste.”

Chelsey works as a design partner with Natalie O Design, a boutique interior design company founded by Natalie Officer. Since Chelsey has fostered a lifelong passion for aesthetics, Officer says working with her has been a dream.

“(Chelsey’s) passion for design, world travel and art has made our time working together amazing,” says Officer. “Having been introduced to her home and her love for it in the interest of a renovation made a collaborative design adventure a natural transition. Our strategy at Natalie O Design is to incorporate each person’s strengths as true partnership. It is at the heart of what we do. It’s an intricate mingling of capabilities that makes our work so intimate and intentional for our clients.”

Chelsey’s house is located one street over from Central Park and adjacent to St. James Court. Serene and tranquil, the natural light streams through the original iron and clear glass windows that allude to a bygone era.

“We wanted something more contemporary that offered a lot of natural light and lots of glass,” Chelsey said of her home. “Kyle is a certified master gardener, and it’s important we have the space for him to take care of all the plants we need to maintain all around the house and property.”

One of the home’s most breathtaking views is in the master bedroom, where a single wall is floor-to-ceiling glass, offering a crystal clear northern vista of Central Park. Charles Cash, the original architect, is helping the Coxes plan a new bath addition.

“The home was actually built as an artist studio for people living on St. James Court in the 1940s,” Chelsey explained. “The original artist was Murah Cutler, and she used it as her studio. The architect connected the original brick structure of the house to a garage on the bottom with the master suite over that. This created the loggia and offers us private outdoor living.” The glass loggia connects the two buildings and opens up onto the interior courtyard.

Indoors, the natural light would capture anyone’s attention. For the Cox family, it makes for an oasis after a busy day and offers a private serene atmosphere. “Lots of light constantly flows in and reminds us of the style of architecture we are more familiar with in Florida,” Chelsey said. “That give us a deeper sense of home.”

Chelsey wants friends and guests to feel comfortable and welcome from the moment they enter the front door. This inclination directed her choice of colors and textiles, leading her to selections that accentuate the home in the best light possible. From soft shades of salmon to rich emerald green, it is unique and pleasing. Some of the textiles Chelsey prefers are bamboo and raw silk pillows paired with neutral shades that serve as a canvas for pops of color throughout the home.

Chelsey commented on the style of the home, “After brainstorming with my sister about what kind of interior style this house is, we came up with just the right wording: relaxed-global greenhouse. Because I’m always tinkering around and I change things frequently, we came up with formalizing this description. Our home is relaxed, and growing up in Florida, we aren’t accustomed to having the formal Southern-style home.

“We really live in all our space,” she continued. “We have a 10-month-old and have to resign a little bit to the fact that it can be messy. Traveling as much as we do, my husband and I are always picking up things that resonate with that beach/tropical look. In our kitchen, we have granite countertops and maple veneer cabinets that flow with the natural and down-to-earth feel throughout the house. We’ve always referred to the house as our greenhouse from the very beginning. And because of the loggia and glass, we’ve always been able to have lots of plants in there.”

Some of the artwork on display is from Peru and other parts of the world, which reflects their love of travel. Most everything seen throughout the house holds sentimental meaning. “It’s so important to us to be able to work with things that are very personal and have meaning,” Chelsey said. “It makes the space feel more complete instead of having everything matching exactly. There is always a place for symmetry but sometimes it works to add a little quirkiness or a surprise element of design.” V