He is a land-use attorney with an interest in historic preservation. She left a job in advertising and wanted to explore her dream of opening a small inn after a pleasant experience staying at the historic Golden Lamb Hotel in Lebanon, Ohio. The combination of their two interests resulted in Steve and Devona Porter opening 1840 Tucker House Bed and Breakfast in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. Originally built and owned in 1840 by Hazael and Nancy Jane Tucker, the house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, after 24 years and many, many guests greeted and breakfasts served, their undertaking has proved to be successful. They bought the house in 1999 and then spent 10 months renovating it and turning it into not only an inn with four bed chambers, a parlor, dining room, and outdoor spaces, but their living quarters as well.
During the time that the remodeling and construction was going on, Steve says they spent many weekends traveling to estate sales and antique shops on the lookout for furniture and accessories that befitted the period of the house. They both had family heirlooms they were able to also use, including a sideboard that belonged to his great-grandparents and now stands in the dining room. (He admits this is his favorite room in the house.) There is also a corner Kentucky cherry cabinet that displays the china that belonged to Steve’s mother, and the silver napkin rings that adorn the breakfast settings were used at his grandparents’ wedding.
The inn’s opening weekend was Derby 2000 and their new venture was off! They had taken reservations for that weekend and had two rooms ready. By the next weekend, the inn was reserved for a wedding party and luckily all the rooms were completed and prepared to accommodate guests, he says.
The Porters have created such a comfortable and hospitable environment that they have made friends with guests who come to Louisville and stay often. There is the group of six who for years attended the Jane Austen Festival here and even though that event is no longer being held, Steve says they still come every year.
And let’s not forget that there have been famous guests, including Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley – all character impersonators of course, but still….
Then there is the food…
“Devona does most of the cooking for our Kentucky-gourmet breakfast. I am in charge of fixing the bacon, the sausage, and setting the dining room table,” Steve says. The table, with its bright yellow tablecloth sporting colorful birds and flowers, has room to seat eight — or more in a pinch, he says.
One of the inn’s bed chambers, that today is called The Traveler’s Room, historically served as a room for a lone traveler who might stop by the house looking for a place to stay for the night. This room still has its own separate outside stairway. Locust Grove and Farmington both have traveler’s rooms, Steve says.
Although occasionally, someone might show up at the door looking for a room, Steve cautions that reservations are a safer way to go.
By Lucy M. Pritchett | Photos by Patti Hartog
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