Isenhour brought mid-century style to Lexington “beginning with a standard midcentury template—post-and beam construction, open floorplans, lots of exposed wooden beams and Kentucky limestone.” His later work “morphed from these contemporary ranch styles to bolder, block-style homes with rooms stacked in a more minimalist, streamlined fashion.”
A native of North Carolina, Isenhour began his professional life as a chemical engineer for DuPont. Becoming disillusioned with his career, he moved to Lexington in 1952 and began working with his builder father-in-law, A.R. Henry. Influenced by homes he’d seen in California, he began to develop homes in a modern, airy style increasingly desired in Lexington. The new UK Chandler Medical Center and IBM brought new families to the area and Isenhour’s homes began to dot the suburban neighborhoods of Glendover, Lansdowne, Lakewood, & more.
Isenhour insisted homes related to their building sites and worked to preserve viewsheds and existing trees. A deep respect for the natural world is evident in the use of wood, local stone, and the abundant light flowing through oversized windows.
The modernist style was new to Lexington and while many maintained the market for contemporary homes was limited Isenhour remained steadfast. The homes today remain as in demand as at the time of their building. Of the many houses designed by Isenhour, only one has been demolished today.
Don’t miss the definitive book on Isenhour, lovingly wrote by his son (and fellow architect), R.L. Isenhour.