Louisville Residents Troubled By Crime Turn To Block Watches Monday, May 29 2017 

Mary Ellen Cassidy was terrified.

She was home alone when intruders slipped in as she slept and stole nearly everything. She was shaken and scared afterward, and she said she began to suffer panic attacks and no longer felt safe alone.

“I just couldn’t stay in that house,” she said.

So Cassidy moved from Jeffersontown to the Highlands, where she’s lived now for more than two decades. But petty crime is still a problem in her otherwise quiet neighborhood near Atherton High School. To fight it, she wants to start a Neighborhood Block Watch group.

And she’s not alone.

More than 50 people attended a recent block watch workshop hosted by Metro Council members from the districts that encompass the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Fifth Division, where property crime drives police activity.

More than 60 percent of the division’s roughly 2,300 reported crimes this year are listed as burglary, vandalism, vehicle break-ins or thefts, and drug or alcohol violations, according to police data.

Councilman Brandon Coan, a Democrat who represents District 8 — which includes much of the police department’s Fifth Division — is optimistic about the effect block watch groups could have on these types of crime.

At present, just about two dozen of the nearly 1,200 blocks in District 8 have registered block watch groups with the city’s police department. Coan wants 600 such groups registered in the coming years.

“We have the capability to do it,” he said.

But he acknowledges it can be difficult to maintain such a group — they’re time consuming and require residents to get out of their comfort zones and meet neighbors.

Still, police officials support those who want to reignite block watch groups and get more people engaged with law enforcement. Doing so is more helpful than complaining about crime on social media, said Major Shera Banks, the Fifth Division commander.

Residential crime complaints that flood social media networks like Facebook or Nextdoor can generate online discussion, but they’re rarely reported to police, Banks said.

The discussion can also often go astray and sometimes result in exaggerations.

“It’s like the telephone game from when you were a child,” Banks said.

Building enthusiasm for block watch groups to spread to other areas of the city — areas tormented by violent crime — could be difficult, said Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, a Democrat who represents District 4.

Smith’s district includes neighborhoods such as Russell and Smoketown, areas that account for nearly a quarter of all gunshots reported by police this year. Fear of violence would make people apprehensive about getting out of their homes and walking blocks on a regular basis, Smith said.

“They’re afraid,” she said.

In District 4, blocks are mixed with churches, halfway houses, businesses, industry, rental units and vacant properties, Smith said. She said she knows plenty of residents in her district who are ready and willing to lead the charge. But getting organized is key.

That’s what Mary Ellen Cassidy is ready to do.

“We just want a good, healthy, family-oriented neighborhood,” she said. “That’s what we all want.”

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign — But What Do They Say About Louisville’s Culture? Friday, Apr 21 2017 

I’m standing on the corner of Lucia Avenue and Bardstown Road with Bryan Patrick Todd — a corner most people in Louisville probably know pretty well, thanks to him. He points to a black brick wall in front of us that’s covered in three big orange words.

“Weird, independent and proud,” Todd says, slicing the air with his hand to punctuate each word.

To the side of those is a slim line of letters that runs down the bricks to spell out the word, “Highlands.” The mural was commissioned in 2012 by the Highlands Commerce Guild, and has since become something of a fixture in the neighborhood.

“I think it really ended up complimenting the building,” Todd says. “And I think when people are driving up and down the road, it’s made for kind of like, sort of a landmark in the Highlands neighborhood.”

Ashlie Stevens | wfpl.org

Bryan Patrick Todd in front of his mural.

And these signs — the ones unique to an area, made by locals — are something that Nikki Villagomez says can tell us a lot about a city.

Villagomez is a designer and the author of the book “How Culture Affects Typography,” a topic she’ll be speaking about next week at an event hosted by AIGA Louisville, the local chapter of the Professional Association for Design.

She first became curious about the topic when she was serving as the president of the South Carolina AIGA chapter. During that time, she suggested doing a “design exchange” with the chapter from Honolulu.

“We boxed anything and everything that had to do with South Carolina, shipped it to Honolulu,” Villagomez says. “They did the same for us. It was literally South Carolina in a box.”

Included in the box were some fun things like a bag of grits and some tea from Charleston, but they also sent examples of pieces designed by South Carolina designers for South Carolina clients.

“On the day of our event, we opened up the box from Honolulu, and it really felt like Honolulu exploded,” Villagomez says.

She continues: “Everyone got leis, they sent sand from Waikiki. But the pieces designed by Hawaiian designers for Hawaiian clients, really you could tell how their culture affected the typography and design choices they were making.”

According to Villagomez, there was lot of sans serif typefaces — the kinds without feet or wings on the letter — and a lot of blues and green. The next year, they did an exchange with Las Vegas.

“Vegas clients by Vegas designers were such a stark contrast from the year before,” she says. “A lot of slab serif, thick typography, a lot of sharp angular, bright colors. Again, their culture plays a part in their design and typography choices.”

Since then, Villagomez — now based in North Carolina — has studied font and typeface all over the world, and takes a look at how local culture and history shape what we see on our signs.


Welcome to Schnitzelburg

In preparation for her discussion in Louisville, design professionals from all over the city have sent her images of their favorite local signs. She won’t give away all her findings until the presentation, but one thing stood out to her:

“I got a lot of pictures that have to do with neighborhoods — it seems like the city is very much separated by what neighborhood you’re in,” Villagomez says. “Whereas, for example in comparison, or I guess in contrast, my presentation in Orlando was all about the city of Orlando.”

On that note, Bryan Patrick Todd says he’s painted about seven neighborhood-specific murals across the city.

“Each neighborhood has a uniqueness to it and they’re proud of the differences,” Todd says. “You go to Crescent Hill and the vibe is totally different than the Highlands, and I think that as small as the city is compared to Chicago or New York, we love how different these blocks are.”

Ashlie Stevens | wfpl.org

When Pigs Fly — another of Todd’s neighborhood-specific murals

Villagomez wants to stress that none of these things — whether it’s something small like font choice or something bigger like how we use signage to designate our surroundings — is an accident. It’s all very much rooted in and reinforced by a city’s history and culture.

And she hopes through discussing these distinctions, it will cause people to really notice the constructed world around them.

“Especially for people who are born and raised in the same city where they currently live, it’s very easy to not see the signs around you,” she says.

“How Culture Affects Typography” by Nikki Villagomez will take place on April 27 at the Tim Faulkner Gallery. More information is available here.

Louisville New Construction in 2017: Neighborhoods and More! Monday, Mar 20 2017 

Photo of Louisville new construction home.

Could this be your Louisville new construction dream home?

For some people there’s confusion when it comes to Louisville new construction. And… it centers on whether or not they should have a Realtor or not. The short answer is a resounding YES!

The long answer will help you understand why. See, there’s a pervasive lie that lurks about, hoping to snare a less-than-educated consumer. Tell me if you’ve heard this before: “You can save money if you don’t have a Realtor when you build new construction.”

On the surface, you might think this could possibly be true. I mean, all builders are honest and reputable right? None of them would ever take advantage of someone, right? Winky Face

Is it possible to get a better price without a Realtor?

The truth is that there is only one possible way that you could save money. Here’s the formula:

  1. Take your Realtor to the builder with you,
  2. pick out your favorite lot,
  3. select the house plan that best fits your situation,
  4. make any the floor-plan changes,
  5. make your finish selections (and don’t change anything after),
  6. get the bottom line price for the home then leave to “think about it”,
  7. return the next day without your Realtor and tell the builder to take the Realtor’s commission out of the price and start building the home.

First, no reputable builder would go along with this deception. Builders want to have a strong, positive reputation in their market.

Second, builders don’t want any of their homes to show lower published prices. This hurts future pricing.

Without this trickery described above, a buyer without a Realtor has no way to know that the price the builder gives you is actually better than what it would be if you keep your Realtor. The builder could simply be keeping that commission.

Bottom line is all real estate clients benefit from professional representation. Single family homes or condos; urban, suburban or rural; existing or new construction, the Realtor is a strong ally to buyers when it comes to a successful home purchase.

Benefits of having a Realtor when buying Louisville new construction

Here’s a partial list of benefits. I’m sure there are others.

  • Realtors understand the pros and cons of new construction compared to buying an existing home.
  • Realtors know which areas are rising and which are falling.
  • Realtors know the best time to buy.
  • Realtors understand that buyers never pay commission.
  • Realtors understand the legal issues with new construction.
  • Realtors know which builders are great, average, or “not on your life!”
  • Realtors with great experience know how to get the best deals.
  • Realtors understand how the financing of a lot separate from the home might be advantageous.
  • Realtors understand the piles of paperwork because they use it every day.
  • Realtors will help the builder do a better job for their client. (This is the big one!)

Because Realtors often recommend certain builders over others, the builder will want to do a great job for the buyer who has a Realtor so that in the future, that Realtor will remember it and recommend this builder again!

Louisville new construction options in 2017

Map of Louisville new construction in 2017

There are even more new construction options than this! Just ask your Realtor to perform a search that best matches your desired home.

Now let’s look at some of the great Louisville new construction neighborhoods that are building right now! These are the largest ones, mostly in Jefferson County.

Ballard Glen: Single Family Homes. Low $300k’s up to mid $400k’s.

Brookfield: Single Family Homes, Low $200k’s up to low $300k’s.

Catalpa Farms: Single Family Homes, High $300k’s up to mid $600k’s.

Cooper Farms: Single Family Homes, Low $200k’s up to low $300k’s.

Flat Rock Ridge: Single Family Homes. High $100k’s up to high $200k’s.

Fox Run: Single Family Homes. High $300k’s up to $500k’s.

Glen Lakes: Single Family Homes, Mid $300k’s up to high $400k’s.

Lake Forest Legacy: Condos. Low $400k’s up to high $400k’s.

Little Spring Farm: Single Family Homes, Low $300k’s up to high $400k’s.

Locust Creek: Single Family Homes. Low $400k’s up to high $500k’s.

Norton Commons: Single Family Homes & Condos. Low $300k’s to more than $1m.

Notting Hill: Single Family Homes & Condos. Low $300k’s up to high $500k’s.

Persimmon Ridge: Single Family Homes. High $300k’s up to low $500k’s.

Poplar Lakes: Single Family Homes. Low $300k’s up to high $300k’s.

Poplar Woods: Single Family Homes. Low $700k’s up to $1m.

Primrose Meadows: Single Family Homes, Low $200k’s up to low $300k’s.

Rivers Landing: Single Family Homes, Low $300k’s up to high $400k’s.

Rock Springs: Single Family Homes. Mid $400k’s up to to high $500k’s.

Saratoga Springs: Single Family Homes. High $300k’s up to to high $400k’s.

Shakes Run: Single Family Homes, High $300k’s up to mid $600k’s.

Signature Point: Single Family Homes & Condos. Low $300k’s up to high $400k’s.

Spring Meadow: Single Family Homes. High $100k’s up to to mid $200k’s.

Stone Meadows: Single Family Homes. High $100k’s up to to high $200k’s.

Summit Gardens: Single Family Homes. Mid $300k’s up to high $400k’s.

The George (previously Seminary Woods): Condos. $300k’s to more than $4m for the penthouse.

Valhalla Vista: Condos. Low $300k’s up to to mid $300k’s.

Yacht Club Estates: Single Family Homes. Low $200k’s up to to high $200k’s.

Coming Soon

Fincastle Farms: Single Family Homes. High-End Luxury Homes.

Sutherland Pointe: Single Family Homes. Rumors have it homes may be in the $500k’s.

There are a great number of other Louisville new construction options, either in neighborhoods that are quite small or almost fully sold out. There are also a large number of options in neighboring counties. Here are new construction active listings by county:

If I can help you in any way, please feel free to contact me. I’ve love to help you find your dream new construction home in Louisville!

Related: Do I Need a Realtor When Buying New Construction?

The post Louisville New Construction in 2017: Neighborhoods and More! appeared first on Louisville Homes Blog - #1 Louisville Real Estate Website.

Homearama 2016: Quantity & Quality Monday, Jul 18 2016 

Photo of entry into Homearama 2016 section of Norton Commons by Tre Pryor

I like to arrive early to avoid the rush… but then again so did a couple hundred of other folks. (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Photo of a framed chalkboard by Tre Pryor

Words to live by. (click to enlarge)

Homearama is like a Holiday for me, I simply love it. From the exterior architecture to the latest in interior designs… and it’s all brand new! What’s not to love?

This year’s event takes place in two locations, as a few Homearama’s have done in year’s past. River Crest is a high-end neighborhood located in Bullitt County. There are nine homes built by various builders ranging in price from $425,000 to $650,000.

Photo of a walking bridge in Norton Commons by Tre Pryor

Even walking bridges are well done in Norton Commons. (click to enlarge)

Our other location for 2016 is Norton Commons, which has been home to Homearama in year’s past. In this year’s event the location moves further back in the community, past the YMCA and Norton Commons Elementary. It’s amazing that there’s still a great deal of space left to be completed, given the development first broke ground in 2003.

This year’s event has 24 homes to tour (for some reason House #4 is not part of the event) priced from $450,000 to $1,000,000. Also of note, the entire site is on geo-thermal, not just certain homes.

Photo of three horses at Honeysuckle Stables by Tre Pryor

Honeysuckle Stables, once Mint Spring Farm, is a great reminder that this is still Kentucky. (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

I arrived early on Day One and here is what I found. Look at all these early risers!

Photo of the booths at the start of Homearama 2016 by Tre Pryor

There’s a good crowd here already? I was a bit surprised. (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Homearama in Norton Commons

Photo of the Norton Commons amphitheater by Tre Pryor

The ampitheater is well situated in an open area by a beautiful lake. (click to enlarge)

Being a planned community has a great deal of pros and a few cons as well. One thing is certain, “there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place” as the saying goes.

From the lot maps to the commercial business locations, the pools, dog parks and even an amphitheater, Norton Commons has a lot going on! It is well laid out and (at least in the completed portion) manicured and spotless.

Now let’s head over to the event!

Homearama 2016 Highlights

Clearly, many attend the event to see the over-the-top features displayed in some of the homes each year in Homearama. If that’s you, then make a beeline for House #13, Hampton Pointe by Artisan Signature Homes. This 6,000 sq. ft. home boast some of the most envelope pushing interior design and architectural choices I’ve seen in years.

The home actually has a spiral staircase that begins in the second floor and goes up to the third, which is entirely dedicated to fun. Did I mention the spiral staircase has a slide? Yeah, pretty cool huh?  Check out these photos!

Photo of the exterior of House #13 at Homearama 2016 by Tre Pryor

House #13 stole the show in terms of being the most memorable, outrageous house in recent memory. Just wait ’til you see the inside! (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Photo of the great room in House #13 by Tre Pryor

The two story great room with the curved balcony and spiral staircase is just really amazing. (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Photo of the covered porch of House #13 Homearama 2016 by Tre Pryor

Can you say indoor outdoor living? This home has those uber-cool accordion doors we see on HGTV all the time. (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Photo of ceilings constellations painted with fluorescent paint by Tre Pryor

In this room on the third floor the black ceiling has constellations painted with fluorescent paint. It’s much more subtle in person. There are also embedded LED lights. Insane! (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Photo of the third floor playroom in House #13 Homearama 2016 by Tre Pryor

Talk about a fun kid’s space, this house has it all. Literally. (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Out of the 24 homes, here are three more that more than deserve your time.

  • House No. 6 Whitman Cottage – I especially loved the custom vaults in the open-concept kitchen-to-family room space.
  • House No. 1 Portoghesi – Lots of rich features and great use of space.
  • House No. 25 Happy Hour – My favorite because of its modern theme done right.
Photo of the great room in House #6 by Tre Pryor

These vaults are simply gorgeous. (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Photo of the kitchen in House #25 by Tre Pryor

How incredible is this kitchen? Worth the price of admission to Homearama 2016! (click to enlarge) | Photo by Tre Pryor

Louisville Real Estate Trends at Homearama

Each year I spend time looking at what trends I find in the homes built for Homearama. Here’s what I’m seeing in 2016.

Photo of a covered porch with fireplace and concrete floors by Tre Pryor

Cozy, covered porch.

    • Concrete Patios: I didn’t see a single piece of wood decking. Every outdoor space was either concrete, concrete with brick or a brand of composite decking. Maintenance free is definitely big!
    • Painted Ceilings: Can’t say I’m a fan but designers are always looking for the next new thing and maybe this is it?
Photo of a master bedroom in Homearama 2016 by Tre Pryor

Fewer 1st floor masters.

    • First Floor Masters: In years past the move was clearly towards more first floor masters. It’s likely the layout constraints of Norton Common’s small lots make this more difficult as I found far more second floor masters than in year’s past.
    • Shiplap Style: It would make Jo so proud! I found a number of interesting, horizontal shiplap-styled walls in this year’s tour. Fun stuff! (see image below)
Photo of reclaimed hardwood floors in Homearama 2016 by Tre Pryor

Reclaimed hardwood.

    • Hardwood Floors: Carpet is all but dead. Only in some bedrooms and a few basements, otherwise flooring is solid surface, and most of the time engineered hardwood. Click the image for a large view of the reclaimed hardwood floors that were actually taken from fence posts at Claiborne Farms, Secretariat’s home located in Paris, Kentucky.
Photo of a standalone bathtub in Homearama 2016 by Tre Pryor

Standalone tubs.

    • Jetted & Soaking Tubs: I believe we’re starting to see a move away from luxury, jetted tubs in the Master Bath as more people are opting for larger, more luxurious showers. Homes in this Homearama still had some tubs, but most were the new, freestanding style that’s all the rage. Whether modern or classic, they really make a statement.
Photo of bedroom with shiplap style walls in Homearama 2016 by Tre Pryor

Smaller bedrooms.

    • Bedroom Sizes: It’s clear there is a move towards allocating less square footage to bedrooms, even the Master. Instead, this space is being used to make the open concept kitchen/family rooms larger. I also noted more small, dedicated office spaces or nooks that we didn’t see five years ago. It’s simply changing the priority of each kind of space.
Photo of hallway with tall ceilings and a brick treatment by Tre Pryor

Tall ceilings.

  • High Ceiling: Perhaps it’s just Norton Commons but higher first level ceilings is definitely a “thing.” It’s really a great use of your new construction dollar because it’s really not a lot more money but really adds to the feeling of space without going overboard with a two-story room.

Homearama 2016 Event Details

Dates: July 16 – 31, 2016
Hours: Weekdays: 5pm – 9:30pm, Saturdays: 10am – 9:30pm, Sundays: 1pm – 6pm


  • Regular Admission: $10/person
  • Two-Day Pass: $15/person
  • Children 12 and under are free with an adult
  • Tickets are site specific



  • Concessions are available
  • Parking is free

If you need more information, please visit the Homearama 2016 website.

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