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June 2012
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A Room with a View

Story by Kenn Gray Photography by ROK Studios

For Fletcher and Bonnie Schrock, it was love at first site. Fletcher's law firm McMurray & Livingston bought the property on downtown Broadway in early 2013 to use as their office. Fletcher took Bonnie for a tour of the five-floor building shortly thereafter. When they got to the fifth floor, they walked off the elevator, and Bonnie gazed with wide eyes at the open, empty space. She walked to the opposite end of the loft, looked out the window at the view, turned to Fletcher and said, "I want to live here."

Sometimes falling in love is just that easy. And that's how the love affair with this property began with the Schrocks. Seven years earlier, the couple had a discussion about moving out of their home on Alben Barkley Drive to downsize since their children were grown. Bonnie said of that time, "That move didn't happen. We just weren't ready to leave yet."

But the moment she saw the fifth floor of the newly purchased building she knew that she was ready this time. "It was just a different season in our life."

Fletcher and Bonnie knew that they needed help decorating and designing their newly found space and felt that they really didn't have a style or any special pieces that they wanted to include in the new design. They asked around and the quintessential answer they received was Kenn Gray. They contacted me, and we immediately made plans. "Kenn asked about what colors we liked and what our wardrobes looked like, trying to get an idea of what colors we would like to incorporate," Fletcher added.

The Schrocks met me at the loft. "He walked in, looked around, asked us a few questions, then said, 'OK, I have a vision. Come by next week, and I'll show you.' He didn't take a single measurement; he just knew," Bonnie said with delight.

They met with me the next week, and they loved all my ideas. "It was the easiest shopping trip ever," Bonnie said. "Honestly, he had all the answers that we were looking for in this loft." Based on their likes and dislikes, I came up with a color palette to accentuate the exposed brick and opposing drywall that the Schrocks think "blends very nicely."

The dining space, being central to the larger expanse, was an important centerpiece of the project and, thus, sports a large round dining table with scroll back chairs, topped with a chainmaille chandelier. The original brick behind the ebony table and chairs is easily highlighted by the softer colors in the silk area rug underneath. I brought in subtle color and texture to support the heritage and contemporary edge to the design.

At the front end of the home is perched a lovely den, or sitting area. A perfect melding of fabrics harken back to the other spaces while making a statement all their own.

The "Library" section nestles in from an historic fireplace and features a worn gray leather sofa facing two dramatic wing-back chairs in a rich gold and gray tapestry fabric. The library cabinets behind serve to anchor and delineate the space.

That's probably one of the reasons that this is one of Bonnie's favorite places to be, especially in the winter. "When the fireplace is burning, it's just perfect. The seating arrangement is so cozy. We can watch the river, see the floodwall all lit up. During prom season, we watched six weeks of pageantry. It was so much fun."

I always love working on historic properties, and this was no exception. Fletcher and Bonnie were so excited to make downtown their new home, and my goal was to make it a seamless transition while giving them a high style and comfortable home full of charm and grace.

The Schrocks couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. "From the furniture placement to the incredible lighting, it just couldn't be more perfect to us. When people come to visit, they just know we had help from an interior designer," Bonnie chuckled.

The Schrocks love being able to walk to restaurants, the Carson Center, MAC, and even the Farmer's Market in the summer. The central location allows the Schrocks to feel like they are on top of Paducah.

"One of our first mornings spent at the loft, the American Queen was docked at the riverfront. I looked out the window and said, 'Look what's in my front yard!'" Bonnie delighted with glee. Fletcher and Bonnie have some future projects on the loft in mind including the kitchen and the master bath, but for now, they are just enjoying the view ... inside and outside.

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