By STEVE KAUFMAN
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 wouldnâ€™t have been the only time in her life when her choices were guided by the voices in her head.
â€œWhen I was a little girl, my father left his job and developed a successful tool and die business in his garage,â€ she recalls. â€œHe always told me not just to â€˜work somewhereâ€™ but to follow my dream.â€
Janice has embraced Franklin D. Carterâ€™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 â€œKMAC Couture: Art Walks The Runwayâ€ 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 didnâ€™t fail her. â€œWhen I first stepped into the house, it felt like it was talking to me,â€ 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 â€“ and, most of all, of her two daughters, Alana (now 16) and Sarah Carter (14) â€“ 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.
â€œI wanted the wall colors to become increasingly deeper and more embracing as you go further into the house,â€ 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 theyâ€™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 â€œJoan of Arc.â€ â€œI love that you can see this through the window,â€ the homeowner says. â€œFields liked to sculpt robust women.â€
Itâ€™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 friendâ€™s Kentucky church, now dressed up with a mink throw.
Even more personal is Janiceâ€™s office, across the entryway. â€œWhen I moved into the house, I kept having a vision of myself at a desk in front of a typewriter, though Iâ€™d never written before,â€ she says.
She has now. Sheâ€™s about to come out with the second book of her â€œGraceful Energy Series,â€ which she calls â€œa pocket reference for the soul.â€
She works at an ornate Italianate desk with an ultra-modern Philippe Starck lamp perched on top. Sheâ€™s surrounded by artwork, including her own photography from all over the world and her daughtersâ€™ 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 Janiceâ€™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. Itâ€™s where she entertains small groups, goes outside to relax and holds her annual Oaks party, with hundreds of guests.
It still has winterâ€™s bare landscape, but bulbs are beginning to pop out and it will soon be filled with springtime color.
â€œMy daughters have never been to France, and a few years ago I looked for a place to rent for the summer,â€ she says. â€œBut everyplace I saw reminded me of my own backyard, and it convinced me to stay home.
â€œIt also convinced me that I had achieved with this house exactly what I had set out to do,â€ she says.
She characterizes her state of mind in vintner terms. â€œMy choice of wine suits my mood,â€ she says, â€œand right now, Iâ€™m feeling Champagne.â€
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune