The charm-drenched character of this walkable, historic neighborhood inspired two techies to restore “The Pink Palace” and start a new life with their blended family. Here, they share the evolution of their renovation and romance.
Written by Christine Fellingham | Photographed by Kylene White
She is the Director of the Machine Learning Fleet at Google. He is Vice President and former Director of Information Technology at Rivera Group. But their passion for tech didn’t prevent Viji and Thomas Evers from falling in love with a gracious Old Louisville Victorian.
Somehow, the idea of reimagining this whimsical mansion seemed like the perfect project for their blended family. “We love to live a balanced life,” laughs Viji. “We work incredibly hard, play hard.” This beautiful diamond-in-the-rough dwelling has proven to be the perfect place to do both.
A Victorian may be the last type of home most people would imagine a tech couple living in. Can you explain the shared attraction?
We have shared an interest in elegant tech solutions from our earliest times together. There are technology solutions that have every feature imaginable, but are clunky to use. They’re not well-designed. I think this same holds true for our draw to Victorian homes and our home in particular. These old homes have proven they are exceptionally designed. Of course, some of the infrastructure has improved — like moving from gas lighting to electric and from knob and tube to modern wiring, but the core structure was perfection from day one. That is very appealing to tech people who have an appreciation for well thought out and resilient design.
Have you added any high tech features to the Pink Palace?
We definitely wanted to enjoy some very modern capabilities in our home. All of our lighting is voice controlled. We are pretty all in on Google Home. The dishwashers, coffee makers, audio, security, etc. are all integrated and available to us everywhere. But none of this is ever at the expense of the historic integrity of the home. We see this as a similar progression as moving from gas lighting to electric. In many cases, the perceived challenges of living in a historic home are eliminated by modern improvements.
Who chose the pink paint? (It’s gorgeous!)
One of our first undertakings after we purchased the home was to give it a face lift to bring it back to its magnificent elegance. We wanted to leave the home pink, but felt it needed a historically accurate color palette, and we wanted to highlight a lot of the details like the rosettes on the columns. The Pepto Bismol, parrot green and bright purple accents from the prior paint job just weren’t cutting it for us.
Thomas found a nationally recognized expert on historic paint from Charleston, SC, and she sent us various options for the six different colors that would adorn the house from base, to accent, to trim. It took us three months to paint the home and we also added key accents like a copper cap and finial to our turret; copper downspouts, etc. When it was greeted with rave reviews on social media, we felt proud that we had done right by the home.
Can you tell us the basics about this structure in terms of square footage, rooms, floors? Is there anything you can share about its history?
The home was built in 1893. It was purchased first by William Slaughter, the president of the company that developed St. James Court. Total square feet is a bit over 5,000. There are three floors above grade and a nice basement. There are four to six bedrooms, depending on how you configure it.
There are a lot of interesting stories about the home in books and walking tours. In the summer, especially, there are hundreds of people every day stopping to see it. Its stunning beauty and presence on the court is not lost on us and hasn’t dulled a bit to us over the years. The best stories are about the fantastic times friends and neighbors have shared with us in the home. We’ve thrown some very nice Christmas parties and even Valentine’s parties.
What are your next goals together after you finish this house?
In our business in Old Louisville, we have purchased a number of properties and invested heavily in their upkeep and renovation. We really care about our tenants because they’re our neighbors. Looking ahead, we have a lot of work to do to make all of our properties something we and our neighbors will be proud of. We have invested millions of dollars in the neighborhood and will continue to make investments.
Tell us about living in Old Louisville.
For the most part, living in Old Louisville has been a dream. We’ve lived in different cities around the country and world and Old Louisville felt like home from day one. But for sure there are challenges. Occasionally parking isn’t the easiest, but not enough to not want to be here. Noise can be an issue at times. The path of jets landing at the airport goes right over our neighborhood. We’ll sit on the patio at the end of the day and have to pause conversations. But you make the best of the pause. It may be the right time to take another sip of cava or bourbon.