Renovated house at Hermitage Farm to host special events - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Renovated house at Hermitage Farm to host special events

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The original house at Hermitage Farm The original house at Hermitage Farm
Steve Wilson with WAVE 3 News anchor Shannon Cogan. Steve Wilson with WAVE 3 News anchor Shannon Cogan.
Douglas Riddle tells Shannon about the renovated home. Douglas Riddle tells Shannon about the renovated home.
A look at some of the 700 acres of Hermitage Farm. A look at some of the 700 acres of Hermitage Farm.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Hermitage Farm in Goshen is famous in the horse world. It's where 1953 Derby winner Dark Star was bred, as well as a Breeders' Cup and Kentucky Oaks winners.

More than two years ago, the owners of the 21C Museum Hotel in Downtown Louisville became majority owners of the historic farm, all 700 acres.

Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown aren't keeping the farm all to themselves. They want to share it with others – to appreciate the natural beauty. That's why they are opening it up for the 4th Annual Hermitage Classic, a free event which runs Friday through Sunday.

I met with Wilson at Hermitage where he showed off his skills of combined driving. This weekend Wilson will be competing in other horsemen in this difficult sport in which the driver uses a carriage. In addition, there will be many social events and a Classic Kids Zone with pony-pulled carriage rides and petting zoo.

Wilson said he loves horses, but the main reason for buying Hermitage was for preservation.

"The primary goal was to save it from being subdivided. This area we're in now had already been plotted for over 500 homes," Wilson said.

The thoroughbred operation will continue here as well. Wilson said, "It's important to leave things to all the generations."

They recently renovated the original house on the property which was built in 1835. No one is going to live there, instead they will rent it out for special events, such as weddings and parties.

Douglas Riddle, the President of Bittners Design Firm, gave me a tour inside.

"We made it a modern lifestyle house," Riddle said. "But we always kept a nod to Kentucky tradition."

Each room is filled with pieces of Steve and Laura Lee's extensive contemporary art collection, just like at their hotel 21C. There are even portraits of the owners themselves.

"The backgrounds play a canvas to the art," Riddle explained.

The colors are whites and creams along with grays to bring in the original painted gray porch of the farm and red, to honor the red gates of Hermitage Farm.

They even made a large dining room table out of reclaimed wood they found in one of the barns. The smokehouse also got a make-over. Riddle joked, "Doesn't look like a place where they smoke the meat anymore."

Hermitage Farm is known for its past, but is now ready for the future.

Saturday night the house will be open for a special sold-out fundraiser to benefit Oldham Ahead, a non-profit with a mission of maintaining natural resources in Oldham County.

For more information on the Hermitage Classic or to buy tickets, click here.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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