A Home for Living and Loving Life

By STEVE KAUFMAN
Contributing Writer

When she was searching for a home to raise her two young daughters, Janice Carter Levitch felt this house in Cherokee Gardens spoke to her.

It wouldn’t have been the only time in her life when her choices were guided by the voices in her head.

“When I was a little girl, my father left his job and developed a successful tool and die business in his garage,” she recalls. “He always told me not just to ‘work somewhere’ but to follow my dream.”

Janice has embraced Franklin D. Carter’s advice with a vengeance. She has traveled all over the world, started the Cosmo Model & Talent agency and recently began a writing career. She also has launched the event “KMAC Couture: Art Walks The Runway” for the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

So when a friend told her about this house on the hill, she listened. Once again, the voice didn’t fail her. “When I first stepped into the house, it felt like it was talking to me,” she says.

She has talked back to the house as well. In these 10 years, she has customized it, personalized it and made it her own.

Her love of art and antiques, of travel, of design and style – and, most of all, of her two daughters, Alana (now 16) and Sarah Carter (14) – are evident all over the house.

It starts in a bright, warm and inviting entryway. The wallcovering, a sunny light-caramel shade, transitions to a caramel color in her office, then to a coffee bean shade in the dining room and finally rests on a chocolate brown kitchen.

“I wanted the wall colors to become increasingly deeper and more embracing as you go further into the house,” she says.

All the colors are special mixes of Porter Paint colors by Whitehouse Residential & Commercial Painting Co.

The other color-setters throughout the house are privately selected area rugs from Frances Lee Jasper Oriental Rugs. But they’re not all colorful. The rug in the entryway is a monochromatic Tabriz, sophisticated and subtle.

The living room, to the left of the entryway, runs the length of the house, light pouring from the front windows to the French doors at the rear, which open onto her wine terrace.

In the very front of the room is a Paul Fields sculpture of a nude female form on a pedestal, called “Joan of Arc.” “I love that you can see this through the window,” the homeowner says. “Fields liked to sculpt robust women.”

It’s a very personal room, accessorized by such idiosyncratic touches as a pair of symmetrical elephant tusks above the fireplace, brought from Africa for her by cookie entrepreneur Elizabeth Kizito. A long chair against the wall was a pew from a friend’s Kentucky church, now dressed up with a mink throw.

Even more personal is Janice’s office, across the entryway. “When I moved into the house, I kept having a vision of myself at a desk in front of a typewriter, though I’d never written before,” she says.

She has now. She’s about to come out with the second book of her “Graceful Energy Series,” which she calls “a pocket reference for the soul.”

She works at an ornate Italianate desk with an ultra-modern Philippe Starck lamp perched on top. She’s surrounded by artwork, including her own photography from all over the world and her daughters’ works. The girls have been involved in art, theater and music since they were little, and Alana recently won the Silver Key scholastic art award at Louisville Collegiate School.

The kitchen also reflects Janice’s passion. Her love of food and wine is evident in her collection of Riedel glassware, containing about 20 different styles of wine glasses, and a collection of Tunisian pottery.

While she has put her stamp on pretty much every room in this stately three-level, 4,000-square-foot home, she seems especially inspired by her outdoor space, a graceful wine terrace with stonework leading up to a pergola and pool terrace. It’s where she entertains small groups, goes outside to relax and holds her annual Oaks party, with hundreds of guests.

It still has winter’s bare landscape, but bulbs are beginning to pop out and it will soon be filled with springtime color.

“My daughters have never been to France, and a few years ago I looked for a place to rent for the summer,” she says. “But everyplace I saw reminded me of my own backyard, and it convinced me to stay home.

“It also convinced me that I had achieved with this house exactly what I had set out to do,” she says.

She characterizes her state of mind in vintner terms. “My choice of wine suits my mood,” she says, “and right now, I’m feeling Champagne.”

Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune

  • Home of the Week has been a wonderful chance for me to meet some of the great people that make it all happen weekly at VT.

    Steve Kaufman…my gratitude for writing such an eloquent article featuring my home…which is an extremely private space for me but after I met you it seemed we had been friends for a lifetime and that reassured me that I had the perfect writer in my home and the trust was there that you would write the article as you felt best highlighted how my daughters and I live in our home…it also offers your readers a glimpse inside the private life of those who live in the featured home of the week.

    Chris Humphreys…I thank you for capturing such beautiful images of my home. Meeting you and working with you the day of the shoot was relaxing and that also reassured me your talent as a photographer would certainly shine through when photographing my home. Many of my friends and family have already been complimenting you on the images that they have seen.

    The years I have lived in this special home in Cherokee Park have been amazing. Memories of family gatherings such as holidays, birthdays, Oaks / Derby parties and fundraisers will always linger in my mind. I believe that is what life is all about…having a place to truly live and enjoy moments that are meant to stay with us always.

    Thank you for featuring my residence as ‘Home of the Week’.

    Janice Carter Levitch