By Janice Carter Levitch
Photos by Kory Johnson
Certain homes have a special magnetism to them and Jeff Wellemeyer’s is one of them. From the moment you step into the entry hall, it is apparent that this isn’t your traditional Kentucky estate. Grand in scale, the interior measures more than 13,000 square feet and is situated on 1.7 acres in Anchorage, Kentucky.
The Frederick Law Olmsted firm in Brookline, Massachusetts, was commissioned in 1914 to design a plan for the growth of Anchorage, a suburb of Louisville. Surrounded by lush, bucolic landscaping, it has become one of the premier neighborhoods in the Louisville area and is a perfect setting for Wellemeyer’s grand estate.
The home has a majestic glamour that has attracted celebrity guests such as Ralph Lauren and Muhammad Ali, who was an overnight guest numerous times. The legendary boxer even left his signature on one of the walls along with his famous “Me? Whee!” poem.
Considered to be contemporary in architectural style, it is a superior showcase of luxury. Inspiration was gathered from several concepts including the well-known Delano South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, designed by the avant-garde French designer Philippe Starck. Also a source of inspiration was the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, conceived by Steve Wynn, known for his involvement in high-end casinos and hotels. The exterior finishes exemplify the sensibility of merging stucco with stone to celebrate the beauty and appeal of both.
Solid glass double doors greet you at the main entrance just beyond the circular motor court. Once inside, the two-story entryway welcomes you with a lavish curved staircase across from the main wall, which is covered in beautiful, natural stone. Ralph Lauren personally designed the great room that features a 24-foot vaulted ceiling with skylights. Throughout the first floor, luxurious soft-white draping adds to the overall drama of the space. The flooring is a gleaming, charcoal grey marble set diagonally, adding a visual flow to the large space.
Meticulously designed, the gourmet kitchen is made for entertaining even the most discerning guests. White cabinetry and Cambria countertops set the stage for the efficient island and stainless steel GE Monogram appliances. The breakfast room has a one-of-a-kind octagon design that includes a double-tray ceiling and a fireplace. The walls are covered with the original Martinique Beverly Hills Hotel wallpaper in the jungle palm design. The iconic print has been seen in the Beverly Hills Hotel located in California and the Greenbrier Hotel located in the mountains of West Virginia.
Custom furnishings are the crowning features that aesthetically connect each open space flawlessly. From original artwork to a perfect touch of greenery, no detail is left unattended. A mahogany deck runs the full length of the back of the estate, which is currently listed for $1,999,000 with Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty by real estate agent Jon Mand.
The study is accented with sumptuous wood paneling, a coffered ceiling and a fireplace with a sleek marble surround, creating a masculine feel. Ceiling-to-floor windows offer a beautiful backdrop to the formality of the design. Across from the study is a bold and grand-in-scale dining room. Continuing the ethereal theme, the dining room is wrapped in ceiling-to-floor vanilla draping, offering a visual repose from the deeper, whiskey tones in the wood-paneled study. The chairs are upholstered in shades of white and surround the circular table, which is highlighted by the crystal chandelier hanging above. An original painting in shades of grey is the only work of art gracing the walls of this fashionable dining room.
The master suite is a haven of luxury with upholstered walls in a rich charcoal grey tone and a vaulted ceiling with trusses. Complementing the linen walls are accents of design sprinkled throughout the bedroom and into the master bathroom. Epitomizing glamour, the master bath includes a Jacuzzi soaking tub, his-and-her vanities and walk-in closets.
Two stairwells that lead to the second level make it easily accessible from different areas of the first floor. The second floor also includes two additional bedrooms that share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom. A game room, den area and a bonus room for informal family gatherings can also be found on the second floor.
The walkout lower level continues the exceptional comforts of modern design with a billiard room that houses an inviting billiard table. Plenty of access to the outdoor space allows guests to enjoy the covered portico that provides comfortable seating and easy access to the terrace above. A freeform designed swimming pool is a visual treat nestled amongst mature trees, and it creates a private oasis for enjoying moments of solitude or family fun. Nearby is a tranquil, natural stream that adds to the peacefulness of the space.
The outdoor kitchen features granite countertops, a coffered ceiling, gas grill and an exceptional dining area. Also on the lower level is a fitness space outfitted in state-of-the-art equipment and boasts a restful view of the wooded property. An adjacent massage area and gorgeous full bath offer incredible grandeur for guests staying in the bedroom suite. There’s even a movie theater with spectacular stadium-style seating.
With an 11-car capacity garage, there is plenty of space to house even the most avid automobile lover’s collection. There is room to spare in the additional garages flanking each side of the estate that also feature hydraulic lifts. Another two-and-a-half car garage is attached to the master suite.
Considered a “smart home,” its functions include voice-activated lighting, fully integrated HVAC, motorized draperies and skylights, digital video surveillance and an advanced whole-home audio system, all of which can be controlled from a smartphone anywhere in the world. Curated with amenities such as a bidet, steam shower, walk-in closets, scenic views of the nearby golf course and so much more, this home truly has everything to complete its incomparable splendor. V