An unassuming wood frame rental property on Eastern Parkway near Bardstown Road has been transformed into a modern single family home. Bob German and his partner Brent Carter hired architect Michael Koch to help transform the property at 1824 Eastern Parkway into Louisville’s newest modern town house ready for occupancy in February.
German says original plans called for tearing the sided two-and-a-half story house down and starting from scratch, but zoning rules didn’t allow the size of house that was desired. Instead of seeking a costly zoning variance that wasn’t guaranteed to be approved, the house instead went through a breathtaking renovation.
When tipsters began mentioning a new modern building on Eastern Parkway, I began searching for information. When photos began to pour in and I learned the project was a renovation, I was really surprised. From the outward appearance, the building looks brand new.
Bob German currently lives in the Highlands and loves the area’s walkability and urban offerings. He often visits Chicago and wanted a modern dwelling right in the heart of the walkable Highlands and he says you can’t find a part of Louisville more walkable than Eastern Parkway and Bardstown Road.
The team began work planning the house a year and a half ago and German says despite the modern change to the property, neighbors and the city have been overwhelmingly supportive. Even though some neighbors might not want their own modern house, they understand what living in a city and in the Highlands is all about.
Michael Koch, who designed the Gallery Square Lofts on East Jefferson Street and Clay Street, was able to provide the benefits of an urban condo with the amenities of a house all while using the original structure’s foundation. German says choosing to renovate instead of build new did add significantly to the overall budget, and says it’s probably not the right choice for everyone. In this case, the zoning pressures made it feasible and German believes it will be worth it in the end.
Eastern Parkway is zoned R-5 meaning a structure cannot take up more than 50 percent of its lot size even if the original structure has a greater density. In this case, the original house takes up more half the .05 acre lot.
While the modern house appears to contrast its surroundings, there are important contextual clues that help it relate to the neighborhood. The structure conforms to the same setback as the houses surrounding it and generally maintains the same building height. The new house emphasizes the horizontal lines of its siding with a fenestrated corner. The projected front bay can also be considered a response to the asymmetric bay windows of neighboring homes.