We only spent two days in Louisville, but it was enough time to get totally hooked on this beautiful city on the river. Along Main Street downtown, the cast-iron facades—pre-fabricated units made in the Louisville foundries replaced masonry buildings in the 19th century—are being restored in big stretches, but I love how they look with the paint peeling away from the muscular rusty pillars. And with azalea trees in full, brilliant bloom, this is one of the greenest cities I have ever seen. Even the grass seems greener in the Bluegrass State—like fluorescent carpet lining the streets.
I got a tip from a Louisville-born pal whose sister still lives here (and owns a clothing shop called the Peacock Boutique): She instructed me to head over to Goss Antiques, and both Kelly and I are still reeling. It’s 90,000 square feet! Originally a cotton mill from the 1800s, the place is packed full of Louisville antiquities—the kind that make you feel like you’ve slipped back into a time when everyone wore fancy wide-brimmed hats, served mint juleps in stamped silver cups, and decorated their parlors with horse busts, statuettes and racing paintings. There’s even a restaurant inside.
We could have easily stayed for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon lost in decorating history, but we wanted to check out Jack Frye’s—a local institution, opened in the 30s as safe haven for bootleggers and bookies, where folks still go today to get fancy Southern fare (confession: we went for the storied old-school interiors). On the way, we stumbled across a little store on Baxter called Oxenrose. The owner Jonathan Thornton, who has a background in “visual merchandising, crafting and compulsive hoarding,” refinishes just about anything and makes a ton of his own stuff, including lighting from the craziest old objects (an old phonograph horn and a rat trap cage).
For more photos from the road, go to the Lincoln-Designtripper site!