FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - For the first time in 25 years, children are living in the governor’s mansion in Frankfort again.
Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife Britainy are selling their Louisville home and will be living full-time in Frankfort. The fact that some of the residents are children is clear the moment you pull up to the mansion, as there’s a basketball hoop in the back.
The last Kentucky governor and first lady to have raised their kids in the mansion were Brereton Jones and his wife Libby. Jones served from 1991-1995.
WAVE 3 News spent time with the first lady to get a glimpse of their new life together.
“This is Winnie and Maddy,” First Lady Britainy Beshear said of the two standard-size black poodles who helped greet the WAVE 3 News crew at the door. Their dogs have made themselves right at home among the French-inspired decor.
They love to play fetch down the mansion’s long hallway. Winnie, the younger of the two dogs that the Beshears adopted just recently, loves to skid across the floors of the ballroom.
The family’s private residence is upstairs. WAVE 3 News toured the public parts of the house and sat down in the first lady’s salon. She said making the decision to move to Frankfort was easy.
"Any parent who has a job with unpredictable hours, you don’t necessarily get home to see your kids at night or get home to eat a meal with them,” Beshear said. “And at the very least, he can come over, say hi, kiss the kids goodnight before he has to go back to work.”
The Beshear family moved into the mansion the Sunday after the inauguration in December.
“I think for this beautiful old home, to have kids running around in it, is so neat because it just brings new life into a house that has been empty of children for so long,” Beshear said. “It’s been kind of fun watching.”
The family celebrated Christmas in the new home and put up their own Christmas decorations. While the house is open for tours a couple of days a week, much of the time they have it to themselves.
“Especially on weekends when we’re home, there’s no better place to learn about the house you’re living in than to play hide and seek,” Beshear said. “And the four of us, plus the dogs, definitely have found some hiding spots.”
Beshear also admitted to having fun with the new laser tag game their son, 10-year old Will, got for Christmas. He and his 9-year-old sister Lila have memories of the mansion from when they were younger. That’s when their grandfather, Steve Beshear, served as governor from 2007-2015.
While the First Lady hasn’t hosted any state dinners in the state dining room yet, Will and Lila have hosted their friends here.
"So Lila sat herself on one end (of the table) and Will sat himself on the other end, and in between, there was the mac-n-cheese and chicken fingers,” Beshear said before recalling having returned back to the mansion on inauguration night at about 2 a.m., and the ballroom was filled with kids.
“I came home to a cheerleading routine and boys sliding across on pants legs, and it was perfect,” Beshear said. “Absolutely perfect.”
They do use the family dining room on the main floor. And since there’s a chef on staff, the children have a new morning ritual.
“They love going down to the kitchen in the morning and ordering eggs,” Beshear said. “Which is great because before-hand I could not get them to eat breakfast.”
While the Beshear family doesn’t pay a mortgage, they do cover their personal food. They hope to renovate the kitchenette in the private residence soon, which would allow the family to use that space more.
There are pieces of history throughout the home that was built in 1914. Twenty-six Kentucky governors have lived in the mansion. Soon, the pictures of the 63rd governor of Kentucky and his wife will take their place among the pictures of others who have held the office.
“It is a very special feeling to know that not only are you as a family playing a small part but that Kentucky’s history is a part of you," Beshear said. “It’s inspiring.”