Four Expert Tips for Home Buying and Refinancing

Story By Class Act Federal Credit Union

From Yvonne Overstreet, Mortgage Lending Manager at Class Act Federal Credit Union

1. You can refinance your home to pay for other expenses and save interest.

Refinancing your mortgage is a creative way you can use home equity to finance things such as home improvement, debt consolidation, vacations, weddings or excessive debt. There is a cost associated with refinancing a home; therefore, Class Act will calculate the costs versus benefits of refinancing and determine the most financially beneficial way to move forward.

2. Don’t be discouraged if your credit scores are low.

Low credit score? No worries! While most financial institutions turn people with bad credit away, Class Act educates you on how you can improve your credit by conducting a credit analysis, where we identify opportunities to increase your score. After the member has completed the suggested action items, they are encouraged to return to have a reassessment of their credit report.

3. Take advantage of the benefits Class Act offers.

Class Act’s rates and fees are extremely competitive. Class Act is not-for-profit, and profits are poured back into the credit union to benefit members. Our focus is giving every member individual attention. Members can text, email, call or meet face-to-face to discuss all of their financial needs. Class Act also holds and services many of the home loans.

4. Don’t let intimidation hold you back.

Because Class Act is an education-focused credit union – and we understand that most people don’t know the ins and outs of the mortgage process – a mortgage professional will thoroughly explain and walk you through the entire process. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or repairing credit, we are here to help.

Visit classact.org or call or text 502.964.7575 to see how you can become a member today!

A Classic Country Estate

The home of late mystery writer Sue Grafton and her husband Steven Humphrey tells a story all its own.

By Laura Ross
Photos by
Kathryn Harrington

Lincliffe sits like a jewel among the storied mansions of River Road, overlooking nearly 30 acres of gardens, woodlands and the Ohio River. Families have come and gone, but the myriad of stories within its majestic walls could fill a book.

That would be entirely appropriate and possibly a key to what Steven Humphrey and his late wife, internationally beloved mystery novelist Sue Grafton, had in mind when they purchased the property 20 years ago.

“There were holes in the walls and the ceiling on the third floor,” said Humphrey. “Linoleum was everywhere. We first looked at the house in 1999 and knew it had to be restored.”

Grafton, who revolutionized the mystery novel genre with her “alphabet” series featuring gumshoe Kinsey Millhone, was born in Louisville but spent many decades in California, where she and Humphrey also have a home in Santa Barbara (which is currently on the market.) Grafton passed away in 2017 following a battle with cancer.

Lincliffe, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a classic Georgian Revival estate with nearly 15,000 square feet on three floors and includes seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. It was built in 1911 for the prominent Belknap family. In the 1920s, the Crawford family moved in, and later in 1945, Lincliffe was purchased by the Gheens family, who lived in the home until the early 1980s. Later, Helen Combs resided at Lincliffe for several years until Grafton and Humphrey discovered it in 1999.

Walking through the front garden to the understated entrance takes you into a classic country house that could easily have been plucked from the English Cotswolds.

Bittners, which was founded in 1854, was already well established in Louisville when Lincliffe was constructed. Grafton and Humphrey called on the renowned design firm to recreate the former grandeur of their newly purchased, but faded and failing, home.

“We had to restore it completely,” said Douglas Riddle, president and COO of Bittners. “I believe Bittners used the original house plans when our team first met with Sue and Steve.”

“We gutted the kitchen to the concrete walls and ran new electrical,” said Humphrey. “We took a wall out between the scullery kitchen and the cooking kitchen. Structurally, we redid the third floor and built our offices, redid the bathrooms and built a theater room. It was fun, but a lot of hard work.”

The interior is classically sumptuous yet comfortable, a look that was a mix of the couple’s tastes and the design eye of Bittner’s retired designer Patrick Welch.

Creating a flow of classic beauty throughout the mansion was no small task. Welch and his team of designers over the years, including Bittners Vice President of Residential Interior Design Lori Andriot, filled the house with rich colors, fabrics and special touches that bring the essence of the lush gardens outside into the interior of the home.

“You don’t see this level of custom design much anymore in Louisville,” said Riddle. “The hours of artisanship that went into all the pieces, the quality and layering of fabric and all the custom furniture and fabrics are just phenomenal. It really is, sadly, becoming a bit of a lost art of design.”

The dramatic antique red and gold-etched ceiling in the main transverse hallway is set off by room after gorgeous room. Light rushes in from a series of French doors leading to the gardens and terraces. The hallway features Empire-style hanging brass lanterns, gold embellished mirrors and window treatments by Carlton V. with Stroheim trim. Four Louis XIV armchairs with antique needlepoint insets over Cowtan and Tout velvet fabric dot the hallway.

An original billiards room, paneled in dark wood, holds Humphrey’s prized 1905 Brunswick pool table. Two original cubbies on either side of the ornate fireplace were changed into closets at one point. However, after Humphrey and Grafton studied old photographs of the room, they happily uncovered the original horsehair upholstered backs for large benches that once flanked the fireplace discarded in the cavernous basement.

As expected, the library was a favorite haunt for Grafton. She helped design the room with Bittners and created a comfortable reading room with floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with her novels and a host of other contemporary works from mystery colleagues and other writers. Art and treasures collected in the couple’s world travels fill shelves and tabletops.

Nearby, the music room featuring a grand piano, is open and airy. A Lee Jofa sofa and Edward Ferrell club chairs in a red and cream Clarence House fabric welcome guests. Four Louis XVI side chairs covered in Scalamandre fabric provide additional seating. The draperies are parchment colored linen by Calvin.

A stunning sunroom with lattice woodwork throughout is a perfect spot for entertaining. It’s a favorite room in the winter when snow falls and creates a snow globe effect with the massive windows and doors. It has been converted into a home office by, and for, Humphrey’s new love, Janice Carter Levitch (publisher of The Voice-Tribune).

In the dining room, a crystal chandelier holds court over a custom-designed mahogany table and crimson silk chairs by Bittners with seating for up to 18 guests. Nearby is an antique sideboard holding silver serving pieces. Blue haze silk plaid draperies complement exquisitely hand-painted rare French Zuber scenic wallpaper.

Up a sweeping main staircase, the second floor holds tastefully designed bedrooms and bathrooms in a traditionally English country house design. The third floor beckons (via the staircase or an antique lift for two) and features a massive windowed hallway that leads to Grafton and Humphrey’s respective custom-designed offices, a bathroom and a theater room, complete with kitchenette, leather reclining seats, a popcorn machine and dozens of classic and contemporary movies on tap.

Humphrey has plans for the cavernous hallway. As he prepares to sell their Santa Barbara home, he wants to bring back art and a host of antique scientific instruments that Humphrey, who is a philosopher of physics, has collected. He plans to create a gallery for the art and antiques along the third-floor expanse.

Back downstairs, the enlarged kitchen is modern, light-filled and functional, creating a welcome space to harvest vegetables and fruit from the Lincliffe gardens.

When Andriot took on the redesign of the morning room in 2015, she followed the lead of the design before her.

“I wanted to preserve Lincliffe’s existing glamorous vibe, which was reminiscent of ‘The Great Gatsby’ or ‘Downton Abbey,’ while adding a more informal flare,” Andriot said. “The morning room was a more intimate space that Sue and Steve used quite often for reading and unwinding. I wanted to reflect the room’s elegance in a relaxed manner while keeping the focus on the exquisite views.”

“In order to achieve the restfulness they requested, I used a softer, muted color palette of smoky greys and blues,” Andriot added. “These hues captured an atmosphere of hazy mornings that allowed the beauty of the outside to be present in that space.”

Lincliffe’s expansive gardens are no less magical than the mansion’s interior and are a personal haven for Humphrey, who actively attends to his creations each day. Since acquiring Lincliffe, Humphrey and his colleagues Jeff Baldwin and Rick Heavrin have transformed the rolling acreage into eight formal, themed gardens that are breathtaking in their detail and careful, thoughtful plantings.

Humphrey discovered that John Olmsted, nephew of the legendary Frederick Law Olmstead, created the original site plan in 1905 and worked on terracing, planting trees and developing hardscape designs. In the late 1930s, noted landscape architect Bryant Fleming created the boxwood gardens and added the fountain, but other plans were never executed.

“It makes my imagination go, ‘Ooohhh,’” enthused Humphrey. “My gardens are like Sue’s books – I continually edit them.”

Humphrey’s garden “rooms” include a spectacular homage to the four seasons, an expansive allee of tall trees leading a path to vistas overlooking the Ohio River, herbaceous border gardens based on Kew Gardens in England, a wildflower garden, vegetable garden and a greenhouse, and includes beehives that produce a wealth of fresh honey each summer.

Humphrey meticulously plots an ever-changing inventory of flowers, plants, trees and statuary. “Once, about 10 years ago, I planted 7,000 tulips,” he said. “I have spectacular pictures of my ‘four seasons’ theme of tulips in white, pastels, oranges and rust colors. And, you know what? None of them came up the next year. That was the last time I did that!”

When Sue once commented that most of his gardens were hot and sunny, Humphrey created a cool shade garden for her. “It’s turned into one of my favorite gardens,” he said. “I planted woodland plants, hostas, ferns and more and added a fountain and benches. We’ve placed a plaque there in the shape of a book and named it the Sue Grafton Memorial Shade Garden.”

Inside and out, Lincliffe is truly a little piece of heaven on earth.

“When I first arrived (here), I was immediately taken by the entire experience,” said Bittners’ Andriot. “The grounds are magnificent. The estate has such a presence with its breathtaking architecture. It was an honor to work with Sue and Steve and be a part of Lincliffe’s history.”

Humphrey has no plans to leave Lincliffe. “I want people to visit, see it, have events here and enjoy the experience,” he says. “Lincliffe has been a joy and a true labor of love.”

“Lincliffe has such grace and style and if you listen closely, it tells a beautiful story, much like it’s owner did,” said Andriot.

And, the next chapter is sure to be a page-turner. V

 

New in NuLu

Janice Carter Levitch and Douglas Riddle.

Butchertown Grocery Bakery is opening soon

By Mariah Kline
Photo by
Robert Burge

As the weather begins to cool down, most of us are putting away our swimsuits and reaching for our sweaters. With looser clothing on our bodies and holiday feasting still a few weeks away, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to something sweet and savory. NuLu will soon have a spot to indulge when Butchertown Grocery Bakery opens its doors at 739 E. Main St.

Much to the delight of sweet-toothed Louisvillians, Butchertown Grocery’s Owner and Executive Chef Bobby Benjamin and his team are ready to expand. Since opening in 2015, the current bakery space inside the beloved restaurant has become much too small for pastry chef Barbara Turner and her crew.

“It was truly amazing to see how much they were able to produce in such a small space while never compromising quality or technique,” says Benjamin. “I am beyond excited to see what they can do with more space.”

On the menu, diners can expect bakery staples like pastries, cookies and cupcakes as well as breakfast and lunch sandwiches, grain salads and even take-home dinner options like lasagna and chicken pot pie. As for beverages, the bakery is partnering with Good Folks Coffee Company to provide the best brews possible as well as sodas, kombuchas, beer and bourbon.

The interior design of the bakery is being handled by Bittners, located right next door to the new space. The Bittners team also curated the look of Butchertown Grocery and is eager to bite into the new project.

“Butchertown Grocery was designed to play as a canvas for art, and (in this case) the art was the food,” says President and COO Douglas Riddle. “Butchertown Grocery Bakery is the same concept – a strong foundation of design to support the art of pastries.”

Benjamin says the bakery will be a true extension of Butchertown Grocery, meaning the clean and modern visual appearance will carry over.

“The great thing about really good design and really good food is (that) you can repeat yourself,” says Riddle. “A great recipe for a meal is the same as a great plan for design. Why change it?”

Fans of Benjamin and his staff are already eager to have access to artisan foods and the bakery. But, what is Benjamin most looking forward to seeing?

“The look on Chef Barbara’s face,” he says. “She means the world to me and has worked incredibly hard to make this vision a reality.” V

The Best for Babies

Josh Moore. Photo by Andrea Hutchinson.

The 2019 Signature Chefs Auction benefiting March of Dimes Kentuckiana

By Mariah Kline

One of the year’s tastiest events will return to the Omni Hotel on Nov. 14. The Signature Chefs Auction will delight more than 600 guests with tastings from 30 local chefs and extraordinary live and silent auctions. At the heart of this entertaining fundraiser is a group of compassionate leaders and a cause that needs the community’s support now more than ever.

Taking the lead this year are event co-chairs Monica Bohn and Bryan Wiegandt with Century Mortgage Company and lead chef Josh Moore of Volare Italian Ristorante.

“We are so thankful to the executive leadership team and the rest of the folks who have consistently supported March of Dimes and the Signature Chefs Auction,” says Kristin Lehman, the organization’s executive director of marketing development. “We would be nothing without our volunteer leaders.”

The Grants – mom Erin, dad Charley and daughter Emory – are serving as the 2019 ambassador family. At the auction, they will share the story of Emory’s premature birth and further educate the crowd on how their family benefited from the work of March of Dimes. 

At the 2018 auction, a record-breaking $300,000 was raised for the cause, and this year’s goal is $350,000.

“We hit an all-time best fundraising total for this event in 2018, and we’re looking forward to hopefully another record-setting year,” says Lehman.

Bryan Wiegandt and Monica Bohn. Photo by Kathryn Harrington.

By continuing to support the March of Dimes, volunteers and donors are helping more babies receive the best start possible in life and investing in the health of everyone.

“We could not do what we do without the community support of our events like Signature Chefs Auction,” says Lehman. “Today, we educate medical professionals and the public about best practices; we support lifesaving research; we provide comfort and support to families in NICUs; and we advocate for those who need us most, moms and babies. … We are fighting for the smallest among us and advocating for their health each and every day. And we do so with the tools, technology and knowledge needed to build a brighter future for us all.” V

Visit signaturechefs.marchofdimes.org/louisville or call 502.473.6682 to purchase tickets and learn more.

2019 Signature Chefs Leadership

Event Co-Chairs: Monica Bohn and Bryan Wiegandt with Century Mortgage Company

Ambassador Family: Erin, Charley and Emory Grant

Lead Chef: Josh Moore, Volare Italian Ristorante

Auction Chair: Anna Hill, Brown-Forman

Lead sponsors: David Fenley Family, Limestone Bank, Kroger, Century Mortgage Company, Century Entertainment & Furnishings and Churchill Downs.

UofL vs. Notre Dame

The University of Louisville football team took on the University of Notre Dame on Sept. 2 at Cardinal Stadium. The Fighting Irish defeated the Cardinals 35-17.

Photos by John H. Harralson Jr.

Honoring Excellence

Louisville’s Semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently announced the names of high school seniors across the United States who are semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. To qualify, students must perform exceptionally in academics, demonstrate leadership abilities and be endorsed by an official of their high school. The Voice of Louisville is proud to share the list of this year’s winners from our community and extend our congratulations to the honorees.

Louisville Assumption High School

Natalie P. Ambrosino

Sarah E. Chung

Ballard High School

Kyra M. Lyvers

Bennett H. Wilson

duPont Manual High School

Naren K. Alluri

Sarah E. Bogan

Hayden M. Brown

Abhishek Chaudhary

Kamal Chilukuri

Benjamin H. Gediman

Shashidhar Gollamudi

Lilly Y. Gonzalez

Laine E. Hirn

William T. Holland

Jia-En J. Hu

Leo F. Hughes

Andrew T. Kook

Donovan B. Liem

Maxwell S. Martin

Emma S. Martinez-Morison

Madeline C. Mattheu

Sanya K. Mehta

Elif Ozyurekoglu

Bhavana Pavuluri

Aysha Puzhakkaraillath

Yizhen Quan

Shyam Ravishankar

Pranav Senthilvel

Shreshth S. Srivastava

Raymond M. Suo

Ethan P. Tate

Kenneth C. Tien

Christian A. Tingle

Sai Nikhil R. Vangala

Caroline G. Youdese

Felicia J. Zhong

Eastern High School

Harrison J. Evans

Jackson S. Jones

Matthew R. Mitchell

Highlands Latin School

Madison P. Miller

Tanay Neotia

Chloe G. Walrad

Holy Cross High School

Caleb P. Wiegandt

Kentucky Country Day School

David J. Brennan

Zahra F. Khan

Taylor C. Parker

Caroline R. Topham

Louisville Collegiate School

Molly W. Fitzgerald

Aaron G. King

Cyril A. LeDoux

James C. Relish

Sacred Heart Academy

Laura G. Geddie

Nell W. Rydzewski

Sophie W. Rydzewski

Madeline V. Stokes

Caroline B. Sumner

St. Xavier High School

Patrick M. Leonard

Anthony E. Mohr

Colin S. Roark

John P. Stegman

Trinity High School

Michael V. Chou

John M. Fernandez

Nicholas J. Huls

John R. McCalpin

Jackson R. McClellan

Hunter C. Ruckriegel

Logan J. Thomas

Bryce M. Thompson

Gavin S. Weakley

Aden W. Yeager

LVA Homecoming

Louisville Visual Art hosted its first ever Homecoming celebration at the LVA Creative Hub on Oct. 20. The day reunited alumni from the organization’s many children’s fine art classes and the Academy of LVA.

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Sonny and Gladys Bass Anniversary Party

Friends and family of Sonny and Gladys Bass celebrated the couple’s 73rd wedding anniversary on the afternoon of Oct. 20 at Noosh Nosh.

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Glory Denied Patron Circle Party

On Oct. 22, Kentucky Opera’s Patron Circle members gathered at Blue Grass MOTORSPORT for a preview of “Glory Denied,” the company’s upcoming production. The automotive dealership also celebrated the launch of the 2020 Porsche 911, which guests had the opportunity to view up close.

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Wheels of Desire from Photographer David Harrison

As part of the 2019 Louisville Photo Biennial, the exhibit “Wheels of Desire: Automotive Images by David Harrison” is on display at Blue Grass MOTORSPORT through Oct. 31. Harrison shared with us a few images from the show, which is the first biennial photo exhibit to be on display at a car dealership in the event’s more than 20-year history.

Photos by David Harrison

Butchertown Grocery Bakery Opens its Doors

Butchertown Grocery Owner/Chef Bobby Benjamin, Pastry Chef Barbara Turner and their talented team officially opened the doors of Butchertown Grocery Bakery on Oct. 25. Joining the crew for the official ribbon cutting were Sadiqa Reynolds (President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League), Ben Moore (Senior Economic Development Manager with Louisville Forward) and Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith. Butchertown Grocery Bakery will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Photos by Kriech-Higdon Photography