Southern Living Idea House – The VOICE

Photo by Laurey Glenn.

The magazine’s first Idea House in Kentucky presents timelessly evolved inspiration


By Sarah Carter Levitch
Photos by Kathryn Harrington


For the past 30+ years, Southern Living magazine has designed and constructed an “Idea House” in various states throughout America. “Made to inspire people that are considering building or remodeling, or for people who love houses and love going to see inspirational types of design, both interior and exterior,” noted builder Jimmy King, co-owner of Artisan Signature Homes. The house is open to the public for tours and available to purchase, with or without the furniture. The Idea House was built in our old Kentucky home, right here in Louisville, for the first time. 

Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez.

Artisan Signature Homes, based in Louisville, collaborated with a team put together by Southern Living: Brandon Ingram, the architect from Atlanta, Sarah Bartholomew, the interior designer from Nashville and Josh Myers, the landscape architect from Louisville. Together, their goal was “to build a new home with an old feel. We wanted the design to be timeless. As far as the floor plan and the interior, we wanted it to flow well, something liveable.”

Located in The Breakers at Prospect, a new community, the property serves panoramic views of the Ohio River, a classical feel with a mix of Colonial and Greek Revival design and a spacious atmosphere at a little over 5,000 square feet. The interior reveals the designers’ attention to detail. As King mentioned, “one of the best interior features is the level of detail of the trim work. Oversized trim work, six-piece crown molding, lots of wood planking, all the trim work is hand brushed to give it an old feel. We did hand-painted floors in addition to white oak hardwood floors throughout.”

Along with this generous attention to adornment, the designers remained conscious of the ever-evolving family unit and more recent adaptations to work-at-home life. King noted two unique features to the Idea House, “Some of these rooms were pandemically inspired, like the studio on the first floor. That room is right off the kitchen, and adults can go in and make zoom calls. There are lockers and a desk area where kids can do their homework. There is also a study area on the second floor, but the studio is a multi-functional room. We also built two primary bedrooms on the first floor, which is a great feature for people aging in place or people who want to bring their parents in.”

Each room, overflowing with inspiration, presents an individual exploration into the everyday life of a family home, from work to play to r&r. King shared, reflecting on the rooms, “one of my favorite areas, because of the scenic areas overlooking the Ohio River, is the second-floor porch. I can envision myself waking up in the morning, enjoying a cup of coffee with the sweeping views of the Ohio, or winding down in the evening in the backyard, watching the sunset over the pavilion. There are very picturesque views.”

“I also love the media room on the second floor, which walks out to the porch. It’s cozy and multi-functional, like an upstairs living room. There is a beautiful arched window above these french doors that lead out to the porch. When you walk up the stairs to the second floor, you get to the top and look out the doors. It takes your breath away to see the views.”

In a moment of gratitude, King expressed his appreciation for the experience, “It’s a cool thing for Artisan Signature Homes to be a part of. Southern Living is a national, iconic magazine, so we were honored and proud to be chosen to build the first Idea House in Kentucky. I am thankful to those designers, Southern Living, and the local tradespeople who worked so hard on this house. Whether from the artwork, interior design, paint colors or floor plan, I hope people gather ideas for their next build or remodel.”

The 2021 Idea House is open to the public until December 19. Tickets are $25, and a portion of the proceeds go to two local charities, Gilda’s Club of Kentuckiana and The LEE Initiative.

Southern Living Idea House
7820 Sutherland Farm Rd.
Prospect, KY 40059

Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez.