The Annual Showcase Celebrates 51 Years Of Building And Design
By Nancy Miller
Along with the sweltering hot days of summer comes one of the season’s coolest events. For 51 consecutive years, Homearama has treated thousands of visitors to the most up-close-and-personal look at super fabulous homes.
This year’s Homearama is better than ever, inside and out. Catalpa Farms, the 200-acre site of 2018’s iteration, is Jefferson County’s first conservation subdivision. Catalpa Farms developer Mike Jones says the area celebrates Mother Nature’s grand design. The tranquil setting is characterized by picturesque woods and a tree canopy, expansive natural views and capacious open spaces in which mature trees and other fauna flourish.
Homearama, produced by the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville (BIA), is where cutting-edge design trends merge with the newest construction innovations. For people in the market for a new home or those wanting to be inspired to transform their own space, Homearama has it all.
The site features four distinctive styles of architecture: Craftsman, European Traditional, Modern Farmhouse and French Country. The doors to seven homes, five of which are for sale, open to a kaleidoscope of design possibilities. An early glimpse into the homes reveals trending elements such as vaulted and cathedral ceilings, open floor plans, natural stone and repurposed wood. Color palettes range from neutrals to bolder hues. Integrated into several of the houses are home theater rooms, dedicated entertaining spaces and fitness centers. One home displays an exquisite collection of antiquities.
The homes showcase how advances in appliances, windows, doors and insulation areas contribute to remarkable energy efficiency that saves money and increases the functionality and comfortability of today’s lifestyles. Homearama also proves that outdoor living is no longer an afterthought to home design.
Home builders and interior designers will be on hand to discuss how their creations evolved from the planning stages to stunning completion. They’ll provide details about everything from the elements of the homes’ unique construction features to the specifics of selecting colors, textures and all the elements that add up to spectacular.
Although Ally Adams, manager of shows and events for BIA, has been involved with Homearama for a few years, this is her first year as show director. “It’s an awesome responsibility and an absolutely exhilarating and fun experience,” she says. “It’s also a lot of hard work and a little bit of insanity. But, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.”
According to Adams, this year’s event is designed to be a total experience that includes a playground area, an expanded concessions menu that will offer sandwiches and craft beer and a seminar series that will focus on the process of building a custom home, interior design ideas and state-of-the-art home technology products.
Home builders participating in Homearama 2018 are Infinity Homes & Development, Jagoe Homes, Mason Construction and Development, P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders, Signature Crafted Homes and Welch Builders. Homearama designers include LL&A Interior Design, Century Entertainment & Furnishings, JLR Designs and Set the Stage.
Homearama will be held at Catalpa Farms, 17814 Shakes Creek Drive in Fisherville, from July 14-29. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. Ticket gate closes an hour prior to listed closing times. Free parking is available.
Regular admission is $10 per person. Children 12 and under may enter at no charge as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Tickets may be purchased with cash or check onsite.
Revered Builder Perry Lyons On History, Style and Trends
There aren’t many discussions about home building in Louisville in which Perry Lyons’ name doesn’t come up in the first few minutes. Lyons, partner in P. L. Lyons Architectural Builders, has more than four decades of experience in the industry and has gained the reputation new builders strive to emulate and veteran builders regard with both awe and respect. His company’s prominence can be seen in developments such as Spring Lake Farms, Norton Commons, Poplar Woods, Shakes Run and Locust Creek.
He is past president of the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville (BIA) and producer of Homearama, and has participated in the event for 43 years. Since the first Homearama was held in Hurstbourne in 1975, he has witnessed myriad changes in the home building industry and the event itself.
Many Louisville homes today are more informal than in years past. Another difference is the growing interest in single-floor plans with a basement. “Trends really depend on the age group,” he says. “Empty nesters or soon to be empty nesters may prefer a ranch with a basement. But, some younger families are also choosing that thinking they will be in the same home for quite some time.”
Another trend that seems to span the ages of homeowners is that of an open floor plan in which the family room and kitchen flow together as opposed to formerly distinct and defined spaces.
Keeping up with the nuances of interior design can be head-spinning. “In design and décor, everything goes,” says Lyons. “It used to be that a modern house was totally modern, a traditional house was completely traditional and an eclectic house exactly that. But now we’re seeing the mixing of designs, such as ultra modern furniture with antique pieces.”
Advances in electronics, ranging from audio visual to security, have had a major impact on home building, sometimes requiring intricate planning. It wasn’t so long ago that wiring for a television and telephone were about the extent of “modern” electronics, Lyons recalls, unlike today’s homes in which it’s important to be aware of what types of wiring will be necessary for various electronics.
“In the ’70s, we just made space for a furnace and fireplace,” he says. “But now, because of engineered floors and roof systems, it takes a lot more planning to make all of that work. And the old, standard way of plumbing was simple whereas today it’s much more complicated because of all the types of plumbing fixtures, like the varying styles of tubs.”
Shows on networks like HGTV are a mixed bag for Lyons and his colleagues. The programs have educated viewers about new products and have piqued their interest in styles and techniques. But, on the flip side, the shows usually don’t represent the complexities or full costs of a project, leading viewers to have false expectations and an unrealistic idea of what they will encounter in a similar situation.
Homearama, on the other hand, is an exciting version of a reality show. Visitors are able to talk to builders about behind the scenes issues while they also will see many of the design touches Lyons considers to be popular headliners. He references the use of hardwood and luxury vinyl taking the place of carpet and the interest in reclaimed and repurposed products. In the Old European-influenced Homearama home that he built for designer Jonathan Reyes of JLR Designs, he used reclaimed fence posts from a horse farm and repurposed four sets of antique Egyptian doors. Wallpaper seems to be a cyclical thing. It fell into disfavor for several years but is making a big comeback. Lyons even has it on the ceilings in his Homearama house.
“I think there are a lot of reasons why Homearama is so successful every year,” he says. “In Louisville, we have always had a real mix of quality custom builders who have wanted to display their work, and people have responded to that. No matter what someone is looking for in a home, they can find it at Homearama, where we will help them visualize what their new home or remodel could look like.
“Louisville has always been an affordable housing market, relatively speaking,” he continues. “Homearama became a beneficiary of that – allowing anyone to come and have a dream. It’s become a summer destination for Louisville residents. It’s not on their bucket list; it’s a ‘have-to’ item. We see many people come back year after year, and some of their kids are now coming on their own. Homearama provides inspiration, from architecture to interior design, and can really jump start the creative process for people who are interested in building or buying a home.”
The Homearama house Lyons built is the perfect example of why there are so many return visitors to the event. People can’t get enough of the extraordinary details that unfold from room to room. Lyons and Reyes are ready to greet their visitors with wow factors such as a 500-pound iron door; a kitchen/dining area that that has a magenta, blue and white color scheme and a blend of ultra-modern pieces with 16th century furniture and accessories; and a lower-level gym complete with a ballet barre. And don’t forget that wallpaper resurgence: The foyer has cork wallpaper on the walls and grasscloth on the ceiling. An Old English pattern paper dresses up the walls in the master bedroom. There are plenty of other surprises, too. Under the staircase is a bookcase that encloses a secret room. Well, it was a secret until now. VT