Upon arrival at their home, one is quick to notice that it’s the details that matter most to John and Marcia Walker.
Their tri-level home in the Collins Lane neighborhood is surrounded with beautifully sculpted flowerbeds. Flowers of all varieties provide pops of color that are sure to catch the attention of passersby. A pink rhododendron provides a lovely contrast against their home, which has blue shutters that match the blue bricks that are scattered among bricks of red and brown tones. The home was built in 1968 using bricks from the old E.H. Taylor Distillery.
“We have lots of lavender,” Marcia said. “The peonies are starting to bloom, and mock oranges and roses are coming on. There are oriental poppies, and we’ll have Siberian irises.”
When the Walkers bought their home in 1995 after moving to Frankfort, the only landscaping in the yard was two wooden boxes and two trees. One of their first projects was building a kidney bean-shaped garden that is now filled with flowers, including plants that attract monarch butterflies. A “Monarch Waystation” sign welcomes the migrating butterflies.
“That bean garden was special,” John said. “It took a lot of time.”
The Walkers decided to share their talents for gardening with Frankfort by joining the Garden Club of Frankfort, which they’ve been members of since 1995. The club is involved with many beautification projects in the capital city. They currently both serve as treasurers of the club.
John, who is retired from the Kentucky Department of Human Resources, and Marcia, a retired schoolteacher, have been married for 32 years. Marcia is originally from Maysville and John grew up in Columbia in Adair County. When they moved to Frankfort, Marcia was a teacher at Collins Lane Elementary, not even a block from their home.
“It was a nice commute,” she said. “I could walk.”
John retired from human resources in 2006 and Marcia retired in 2010.
A great ‘party house’
The Walkers chose their home, not only because of its location, but because it was also a “party house,” John said. “Marcia has a big family.”
They moved into the house on Dec. 9, 1995, and that Christmas, they welcomed Marcia’s family — about 50 people.
Upon entering the 1,700-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bathroom home, that attention to detail from the yard is carried inside.
Sprawled in the entryway of the home, is a beautiful floral rug that Marcia hooked herself. Off to the left of the entryway is a formal living room with a large rug of John’s family home that he hooked hanging on the wall above the couch.
“He’s an artist,” Marcia said. “He took a picture of his family’s home, drew it on canvas and hooked it.”
They took up the hobby in the early 2000s.
“You really get into it,” John said. “It’s a fun thing to do.”
Together, they have hooked about 50 rugs. Some of them are commission pieces they’ve done.
The hobby has also led them on many trips, including one to Nova Scotia in eastern Canada.
“There’s a big rug hooking community in Nova Scotia and a rug museum,” John said. “We knew some of the people who contributed rugs to the museum.”
They are part of a hooking group in Southern Indiana.
The rugs are scattered throughout the home either on the floors or the walls. In their bedroom, two large rugs of aerial views of John’s father’s farm in Columbia cover the floor. The rugs are made mostly of wool. He used silk to make Russell Creek, which flows through the property.
The Walkers say they haven’t had to do much to the home since buying it. In 2013, despite Marcia being in the midst of battling cancer, they did make some upgrades.
“I had cancer, but that didn’t stop us,” she said. “We redid the kitchen, and got rid of the carpet, which had been in here since 1981. I looked under the carpet, and it was hardwood floors. We were able to match the hardwood all throughout.
”Upstairs it’s golden oak; we didn’t have to do anything to those floors.”
The kitchen has a large island, which offers plenty of prep space. During the upgrade, they removed a pass-through wall that separated the kitchen from the living room. So that they didn’t lose storage, they had cabinets installed below the island on the side facing the living room.
The dining area has a beautiful farm table made out of sycamore with beach wood legs that was custom made by Robert Kirkman of Three Elements Design on St. Clair Street.
“It’s a showpiece,” John said. “It’s beautiful.”
Family heirlooms, including several pieces of furniture made from a large cherry tree that fell on John’s childhood home, fill the home. Made from the tree were end tables, a large chest of draws and four-poster bed.
Another set of end tables was made out of wood that came from John’s grandfather’s store in Gradyville.
“My aunt called and told me there was a fire,” John said. “It all burned down.”
The wood for the end tables was salvaged from the fire.
Marcia has several pieces of furniture that were passed down to her in the home as well, such as a vanity and dresser that belonged to her grandmother.
Decorating the walls is not only rugs, but also art they acquired while traveling. One floral painting was purchased in Paris, France.
“We‘ve always traveled,” Marcia said. “We’ve been to Scotland, England, London, Paris.”
One of their dream trips they made come true was to Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France.
“We got there early in the morning and steam was coming off the pond,” Marcia said.
“It was gorgeous,” John said.
Even after all of their travels, the Walkers still say there’s no place like home. They have no plans to ever move away from Frankfort or their Collins Lane home.
“We don’t have a need to move to Florida or anything like that,” Marcia said. “We’ve enjoyed Frankfort. It’s always been a nice place.”
“We have a nice garden and nice view,” John said. “We’ve always enjoyed the house and have never had a regret. It’s been a great house.