When downsizing in their Forever Home in Anchorage, Donna Sue and TL Kokinda had three design goals in mind: letting natural light into each room, mixing different types of wood, and decorating the space with artwork. original art that had personal significance.
“We got small and wanted to be able to look out (from) any place we were standing,” TL said. “We have renovated [and] changed the whole house. We made it our home.
Let in the light
After about a year of renovations, the renovated home now allows natural light to shine in from all angles. When standing anywhere in the house, Donna Sue and TL can see out to their lush surroundings, which offer direct access to a two-mile paved path.
“Our neighbors are really so far from each other (and there are) the trees, but we have the shades (on the windows) if we want (more privacy),” said Donna Sue. “(And) we can walk to the Anchorage Trail… it’s just nice.”
In addition to convenient trail access, Kokindas can enjoy the outdoors from the inside via the side porch, which previously served as storage space.
“When… people are chatting, say, in the living room and I want to have a cool little chat with a friend of mine, I can bring him here while another conversation is going on (outside),” he said. said Donna Sue. . “And I (also) used it… as an office. It’s just my escape room.
She and TL also share a second indoor / outdoor space: the screened porch with large windows that overlook the backyard and adjacent trail.
Wide range of woods
The screened porch is just one part of the house that has different types of wood.
“We love wood,” said Donna Sue, adding that they kept the interior parts of the windows in an effort to best preserve the existing wood elements in the house. “I just think if they want to cut down a nice tree, they better do something really cool – something worth it.” “
In addition to the home’s refurbished wooden floors and ceilings in some areas, there are also handmade wooden bowls dotted throughout the home.
“(TL) is a woodturner,” Donna explained. “He spins beautiful bowls.”
He also built the wooden ceilings in the kitchen and the screened porch.
“The ceiling has three coats of boat varnish. We did it once and we will never touch them again, ”TL added with a laugh.
Personal photos and other documents
All of the work that was done in the kitchen ceiling was worth it, as the room is where Donna Sue and TL spend the majority of their time.
“We’re going to sit at the table and we’re going to… watch the hummingbirds… or we’ll see all the turkeys,” said Donna Se.
There is also a plethora of art and other artefacts in the kitchen that hold special significance for the couple. Above the rounded table on the exposed brick wall, for example, hangs an original watercolor of the Frauenkirche in Munich, which was painted by their daughter Ellen. Donna Sue has taught German for many years and her interest in the language and Germany as a whole is evident in various works of art spread throughout the house, including an assortment of framed cards on one of the walls from the kitchen.
“I love old maps, (and) these are all maps that make sense to us,” said Donna Sue, pointing to Ohio maps, where TL is from; Tennessee, where he worked; Germany, where Donna Sue lived; and of course, the State of Bluegrass.
“My favorite card is this Kentucky card,” said Donna Sue. “I got it (as) a birthday present from (TL).”
The framed piece, which is dated 1845, is written entirely in German. Donna Sue adds that she has additional cards that will eventually be framed and added to the collection.
“I think (a house) should reflect the owners,” she said, “and I want my house to be a memory. (This) is a house that we want to be taken off (from) feet first … I love it here, I think TL too.
nuts and bolts
The owners: Donna Sue and TL Kokinda. They are both retired.
Home: This is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,600 square foot bungalow style home in East Louisville that was built in 1954.
Distinctive elements: Original 8 foot ceiling for conversation area, restored antique walnut cabinet, artwork reflecting German interests of Donna Sue and TL’s education in northern Ohio, Kentucky bluestone fireplace and bookcases integrated into the living room; original oil still life by Ann MacDonald Ross from Anchorage; three-corner cabinet salvaged from Donna Sue’s grandparents’ barn and TL turned wooden bowls in the dining room; bespoke vanities with marble and granite in the bathrooms; high, sloping ceiling, displays of family photos and original oil by Gina Portelli from Anchorage in the master bedroom; original oil from the Louisville skyline by local artist Sally LaBaugh and original still life by Susan Hastings Schroeder in the guest bedroom; raised ceiling, tongue-and-groove natural wood ceiling, exposed brickwork, quartz countertops, shaker-style cherry and walnut cabinetry, artisan-style lighting, framed antique maps and modern watercolor of the Frauenkirche in Munich painted by the daughter of the owners Ellen in the kitchen; renovated basement features office / hobby room / cinema room / utility room / full bathroom, charcoal drawing of owners daughter Louise, built-in bookcases and personally designed ceiling with wood tongue-and-groove and corrugated iron roof; original oil by Ann MacDonald Ross in the side porch, which is used year-round as an office and reading room; screened back porch with seasonal seating area and bucolic view.
Applause! Applause! artists Ann MacDonald Ross, Gina Portelli, Ellen Kokinda and Louise Burke; kitchen planner Nancy James; Howard’s Metal Sales in Chaplin, KY; master carpenter Gary Tiller; the late Mac Caldwell, who was a wonderful builder and human being; German, Swiss, Austrian and French friends of Donna Sue who provided many home design ideas.