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    Photos by Mickie Winters

    Kellie and Amos Hudson
    Portland

    Kellie Hudson and her husband Amos rented their home for 15 years before buying it in 1997. After an initial purchase of $87,000, the couple has invested an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 in improvements, with Amos, a bricklayer, doing most of the labor himself. The newest addition is an ultra-modern office space, complete with a black ceiling, a decorative silver wall panel and contemporary light fixtures.


    Image: Kellie and Amos Hudson's Portland home.

    The attic hides scorch marks from a fire that burned down the back of the structure, originally a camelback. It was rebuilt as a single-story home before the Hudsons ever stepped inside. Now, sleek floors, an open kitchen, a sliding barnwood door, recessed lighting and a house-wide speaker system give the space a contemporary feel. 

    Kellie’s mother grew up in Shively and moved to Portland later in life, which prompted Kellie to come back home after living in Colorado, where she met Amos. “I like it down here because you’re close to everything,” Kellie says. “We love to go to concerts, to ballgames, out to eat. We’re so close to downtown.”

    “You can go anywhere you want from here,” Amos says.


    Image: Kellie and Amos Hudson's Portland home.

     

    Kerrie and Chris Clifford
    Portland

    “I’m a lifer,” says Chris Clifford. A seventh-generation (or so) resident of the neighborhood, he grew up a few blocks away from the Portland home where he lives with his wife Kerrie, sister to Kellie Hudson. 


    Image: Kerrie and Chris Clifford's Portland home.

    While the couple was looking for a home more than 20 years ago, their current house went on the market. Chris was familiar with the place and its former owner, so he knew the bones were in excellent condition. Although the house has undergone an almost total makeover, the woodwork downstairs is original. Chris, a woodworker, refinished floors throughout. A built-in window bench lines one wall in the dining room. Chris has redone all of the woodwork upstairs, which at one point was a separate apartment. The custom rosettes in Kerrie’s dressing room are shaped like shoes. The newest accomplishment is the stairwell, with Chris’ handiwork on display in the anchor and fleur-de-lis inlays on the landings.


    Image: Kerrie and Chris Clifford's Portland home.

    The Cliffords estimate that, including purchase price, they’ve invested about $150,000 in the home, with Chris doing most of the labor. “To live here, people have to love old houses,” Kerrie says. “You have to love them because they take work, but they’ll last forever.” She has considered starting a Portland home tour. “I think it’s really important for people to see (progress),” she says. “Not just fully renovated homes, but ones that are being worked in right now — to see a range of demographics.


    Image: Kerrie and Chris Clifford's Portland home.

    “I hear people, and I hear the news. Even the people I work with (at Winston Industries) are like, ‘Oh, my God, are you OK? I can’t believe you live there.’ But they come here and see a different side of Portland. I think the community at large doesn’t understand what a true gem this neighborhood is.”


    Image: Kerrie and Chris Clifford's Portland home.


    Image: Kerrie and Chris Clifford's Portland home.


    Image: Kerrie and Chris Clifford's Portland home.

     

    Katina Whitlock
    Shawnee

    “I don’t even know why I was driving down the street, but I was driving down the street on Saturday, there was an open house on Sunday, an auction on Thursday — and I bought it like that,” Katina Whitlock says of her home on Northwestern Parkway, where she has lived for 12 years. 

    Whitlock, who grew up in Shawnee, had been living in a townhouse downtown and wasn’t looking to move to west Louisville specifically. She just wanted a place near downtown that fit her minimum criteria: a brick home with a basement and a yard for her dog. “The guy who did the inspection, he usually does appraisals in Anchorage. What sold me was, he was like, ‘This house, as is, is half a million dollars 20 miles away.’” Whitlock paid $100,000. “A lot of the houses here on the parkway are the exact same as you would find on Eastern Parkway,” Whitlock says. “The only difference is the ZIP code.” She was 27 when she purchased her house. “I jokingly say that I gentrified the neighborhood because I was the youngest to move in,” she says.


    Image: Katina Whitlock's Shawnee home.

    The home turns 100 next year, and Whitlock has done some updating. She finished the basement. She knocked out the wall between the kitchen and breakfast nook to give herself more space. A brown-and-gold backsplash, new cabinets and a farmhouse sink give the kitchen a modern touch. When she moved in, the stairwell was “green foil and pink flamingo wallpaper.” When she took it down, she found some 12 layers of wallpaper, a colorful history of the home. Now the wallpaper is gone, and the taupe stairwell is awaiting a new banister that will arrive after upstairs renovations — like turning two bedrooms on the second floor into a master suite — are complete.

    Whitlock is vice president and chief development officer at the Urban League, and recently she offered to give someone a ride home. “He said, ‘Yeah, but I live in the West End,’” she says. “And I was like, ‘OK, because I live in the West End too.’ He said something like, ‘I just didn’t think someone with your job would live in the West End.’”

     

    Jacque and Coneshia Morris
    Chickasaw

    Jacque and Coneshia Morris looked for a home in Shelby Park before finding their place in Chickasaw with help from the Urban League’s REBOUND program, which builds or refurbishes housing in west Louisville. 

    The Morrises (Jacque does ministry work and Coneshia fills in as a secretary and occupational therapist at a couple hospitals) moved in in September 2015, and soon after, a neighbor across the street filled them in on all the neighborhood information — including the story of the previous owner, a man who had worked to make a beautiful home for his wife by adding details like dentil crown molding, ogee-style archways and wood paneling. The man left the home after his wife died, and it remained vacant before REBOUND picked it up and renovated it with input from the Morrises. It’s a fitting history for Jacque and Coneshia, who met 15 years ago when Jacque was bused from his home in west Louisville to Westport Middle School, near where Coneshia lived. They’ve been together since.


    Image: The Chickasaw home of Jacque and Coneshia Morris.

    Windows in the upstairs master bedroom offer a view of the Ohio River. The family spends a lot of time in the basement, finished with a family room, a home office and a playroom for two young daughters, who also enjoy running in the front yard. “I fell in love with the house before they renovated,” says Coneshia, who was able to see past the outdated carpet that hid beautiful wood floors. “I was like, ‘I really see where this house can go.’” 

     

    Beverly and Donald Jones
    Park DuValle

    Somewhere in Park DuValle is a tree that Beverly Jones planted when she was little, a prize she received from winning an essay contest about conservation. After that, her parents moved the family to Shelby Park. She didn’t stay away from the West End for long. “We like to call it the Best End,” she says with a laugh.


    Image: Beverly and Donald's Park DuValle home.

    Almost 50 years ago, Beverly and Donald got married, and they have spent their lives together in West End neighborhoods. The couple built this home 14 years ago, when Park DuValle began finding new life as a mixed-income development following the demolition of the Cotter and Lang projects. After raising three kids, retirement had the Joneses looking to downsize. Fewer rooms, less yard to mow. At first, Beverly was skeptical about the new Park DuValle. “After the neighborhood started to develop, I thought, ‘OK, this is a great idea,’” she says.


    Image: Beverly and Donald's Park DuValle home.

    The couple spent about $100,000 on the home. Costs have been low since then — a roof replacement, some painting, light maintenance. Homeowners designed their houses from a catalog of choices, which has created a cohesive neighborhood of two-story homes and duplexes. The subdivision is clean and quiet. After school, groups of teens walk to a community center.


    Image: Beverly and Donald's Park DuValle home.

    Throughout the Jones home, family photos sit on shelves. Comfortable seating faces an electric fireplace. Warm tones cover the walls. “We don’t ask anyone to take their shoes off when they come in,” Donald says. “We want our home to be livable.”


    Image: Beverly and Donald's Park DuValle home.

    This originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here. To find your very own copy of Louisville Magazine, click here. 

    Michelle Eigenheer's picture

    About Michelle Eigenheer

    A Louisville transplant beginning to appreciate all the city's small things.

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