When Sherry and Harry Jacobson-Beyer moved into their Old Louisville home in 1976, the third floor of the 1903 Victorian was an empty shell.
“The (former owner’s) son was (living) on the third floor,” Harry said. “He had a household extension cord running from the second floor to the third floor, with a probably 200-amp stereo set — and an unvented space heater and a red light.”
Before moving in, the Jacobson-Beyers completed some of the basic renovation work themselves, enlisting an electrician, a plumber and others to help get their home into a more comfortable and livable state. Now 40-plus years later, the home is filled with an eclectic collection of furniture and accessories that reflect their unique personality.
“The first thing that was done was the plumbing,” Harry said, “and then we put in our washer (and) dryer … (Sherry) was a teacher at the Brown School … She hired some of the seniors, and they came, and they carted tons of plaster out of the house so that they could then put up walls.”
Various rooms in the house have since been remodeled two or three times, with some spaces simply receiving a fresh coat of paint every so often. There is, however, one part of the house that has maintained all of its original 70s charm.
“The room that has been untouched since (the first remodel) is the utility room,” Harry said. “The wallpaper is a self-adhesive that we got from Kmart in 1976.”
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The blue, yellow, and white geometric paper covering two walls and the ceiling has proved durable: now 45 years old, it’s still going strong, complementing the bright blue cabinetry and yellow countertops.
In one corner of the room, on the brick wall just to the right of the washing machine, Sherry and Harry’s magnet collection is on display. More than 100 magnets — souvenirs from trips to California, New York, Spain, Canada and beyond — are a small part of the memento collection they’ve amassed from their travels over the years.
The couple’s ornamental mask collection, which adorns the walls along the main staircase, includes pieces from Cuba, Costa Rica, Australia and New Zealand, to name a few. Some are relics from vacations they have taken together; others are from Sherry’s time in the Peace Corps, and a few were gifts. No two masks are identical — like the rest of the home’s décor, each one is unique.
In addition to magnets and masks, Harry and Sherry have accessorized their space with countless other items, including photographs, tapestries, prints, sculptures, and other types of art. Spread throughout the home are pieces by local artists J.D. Schall, Stan Goldberg, and Chris Hill, as well as works by artists from outside the Bluegrass State — and even Harry himself.
“Four of them are mine,” he said, referring to the collection of framed photos on a wall in his office. “Two are from different friends who are photographers, and the one in the middle on the right side (is by) my cousin C.J. Pressma, a local photographer.”
Most of Sherry and Harry’s furniture and furnishings, much like their artwork, has been incorporated into their spaces over the years; each piece discovered at a different place, during a different time.
“We got (our) coffee table in Galveston, Texas,” Harry said. “We found (it) at an antique store … We both saw (it) and fell in love with it.”
The pair are fans of finding unique antiques and giving them a new life, like the lamp they acquired through an online auction a few months ago.
“It had a plain shade on it, and we went shopping for [another] shade,” Harry said, to give it an upgrade.
“The guy (at the store) immediately brought out that (current) shade,” Sherry said. “He said … it’s the most expensive shade in the store, and it’s the most outlandish shade in the store.”
As pricey and extravagant as it may be, the shade was a perfect fit, and the lamp found its new home on the third floor of the Jacobsen-Beyer abode.
“There’s probably five pieces of furniture (that we) bought at a regular store, and everything else came from an auction, or an estate sale, or a relative,” Sherry said. “We never had anybody come in and tell us (how) to design our house or (to) purchase (certain) artwork. We bought everything (ourselves).”
nuts & bolts
Owners: Sherry and Harry Jacobson-Beyer. Sherry is a retired main-frame computer programmer and Harry is a retired teacher and librarian. Also in the home is the couple’s dog, Elliot.
Home: This is a 4-bed, 2-bath, 3,000-square-foot, three-story, Victorian home that was built in 1903 in Old Louisville.
Distinctive elements: Five mantles and three sets of pocket doors; original, unpainted trim and woodwork; original red pine flooring on the first floor; kitchen remodeled in late 1990s to include Corian countertops and backsplash, as well as custom-built cabinets; remodeled bathrooms with modern tile and fixtures; eclectic artwork collection of various mediums, collected over the owners’ more-than-45-year marriage.
Applause! Applause! Remodelers Joe Goulart and Howard Hardison for their inspiration, ideas, and hard work; landscape architect Dick Wicke for his incredible artistic sensibility to the urban areas of the home; local artists J.D. Schall, Stan Goldberg, and Chris Hill, for their pottery, photography, and unique artwork that adorns the house.