The Alexander House in Old Louisville shows elegance on this Holiday Home Tour
Like many homes in old Louisville, Todd Reed and Kevin Milburn’s Victorian home holds a wealth of history. Built in 1894, it is called The Alexander House after its original owner, John Alexander.
In 2017, the property was featured in local author David Domen’s book, “Ghosts of Old Louisville,” where it was the site of documented paranormal activity. In fact, Milburn heard voices calling “John” downstairs.
He and Reed have lived in the house for 25 years. After all this time, the house is in the spotlight for another reason: The first floor will be open to tour-goers on this year’s Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour.
Made of memories
Over the course of more than two decades, Reid and Milburn have made many memories in their home. But there is one person in particular who will forever hold a special place in their hearts.
“In 2017, we got married on New Year’s Eve in front of the fireplace,” Milburn told the Courier Journal. “We have been married for six years, (but) we will be spending our 30th year together.”
He explained that Old Louisville’s unique character brought them to the house in the first place — and the property offers a front-row view of the eclectic neighborhood.
“I grew up in old houses, so it was kind of comfortable,” he added. “You’re not technically a (historic) house owner, you’re a museum curator.”
As custodians, they have done everything they can to preserve the historic elements of the house as much as possible. The floors, pocket doors, and grilles are all original—as are the stained glass and clawfoot tub.
“The house was never chopped up,” Milburn said. “It’s always been a family, (and) we’re the eighth owner.”
The outdoor spaces are just as comfortable – if not more so – than the indoors. A balcony downstairs overlooks a garden behind the house, while curtains and blinds hung on the sides reduce the view of neighboring houses.
Upstairs, the balcony has a treehouse feel, with parquet floors, bamboo siding and a huge willow tree forming a canopy with its feather-veined leaves.
“We planted it in a pot (many years ago),” Reed said, adding that the tree has since taken root in the backyard and has become a permanent fixture on the property.
Reid and Milburn even built a bathroom into the basement to bring the outside in. Glass blocks allow natural light to permeate the space, which features a rain shower head and a bamboo wall.
Final vacation, hurray
Reid and Milburn were planning to move from their old home in Louisville earlier this year, so they thought 2022 would be the last time they would be in charge of the holiday decorations at 1453 S. 2nd St. -But plans changed.
“Last year, I purged and got rid of a third of our decorations,” Reid said with a laugh.
Although the house isn’t stuffed top to bottom with trees, ornaments and lights this year, the couple tastefully incorporated the remaining decorations throughout the house. They’ve also found ways to incorporate random finds into holiday decor. On the kitchen table, for example, a small tree covered with tiny flamingos and drink umbrellas looks like it’s ready for a Christmas cocktail party.
“I was upstairs looking for old decorations, (when Reed found the ones we bought for a party 25 years ago.) They were still in the bag, (so) I made a pink flamingo tree,” Milburn said.
Since the move didn’t happen this year, Reid and Milburn are scheduled to leave next year, which is why they decided to pull down what was left of their holiday decorations and put them on display for all the people of Louisville to see.
“Why don’t you go out with a bang?” Reed said.
Old Louisville was a unique place to live, Milburn added, because it offered a melting pot of residents.
“We were fortunate to have the opportunity to embrace our style in this historic building and leave our mark on future residents,” he said. “(We have become) an extension of the home and the neighborhood.”
Do you know a house that would be a great home for the week? Email staff writer Lenny Omalza at firstname.lastname@example.org or lifestyle editor Katherine Gregory at email@example.com.
Nuts and bolts
friends: Todd Reed and Kevin Milburn. Kevin is an architect and Todd is a home consultant.
house: This is a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 2,600 square foot Victorian home in Old Louisville. It was built in 1894.
Featured items: Hardwood floors; Stained and cut glass windows; Open kitchen design with center island; Multiple outdoor seating and entertainment areas.
applause! applause! Todd Reed Home Staging and Interior Decorating; Kevin Milburn for architecture and construction management, coordinating and facilitating all modifications, additions and property maintenance; Many residents of the old Louisville neighborhood who have provided help and support during the owners’ 25 year journey.
What: The Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour will highlight the rich and diverse history of historic Old Louisville during the holidays. The self-guided walking tour will include 10 participating residences and historic buildings decorated for the holidays.
when: December 2-3, noon to 5 p.m
where: Ticket headquarters are located at the Old Louisville Visitor Center in Central Park, 1340 S. Fourth Street.
the tickets: Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the event and can be purchased online at oldlouisville.org/holiday-home-tour or in person at the Historic Old Louisville Visitor Center at 1340 S. 4th St. Admission for children 17 and younger is free. All patrons must start by calling to obtain their admission ticket and brochure, which includes a list of participating locations. Tickets and brochures will be available at the Central Park Visitor Center on Saturday or Sunday beginning at 11:45 a.m.
parking: There is ample street parking, as well as parking at the Filson Historical Society lots on Third Street and other designated locations. There will also be free shuttle buses spread throughout the tour route.
more information: For more information about the Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour, visit oldlouisville.org/holiday-home-tour or call 502-635-5244.