Historic home is renovated

By GAYLE COULTER State Journal Staff Writer Published:

It's finished.

The renovation of the Owsley House at 314 W. Main St. is complete and ready for new occupants.

None is likely to be as famous as Gov. William Owsley who lived there from 1833 to 1848. Before Owsley purchased the home, it was used as the Bank of the Commonwealth and was home to several notable Kentuckians including Thomas A. Marshall, the former chief justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Zigurds and Nancye Grigalis, of Lexington, purchased the house in April 2003 for $50,000 from the Kentucky Trust for Historic Preservation.

The organization had been searching for someone to restore the property for about a year and a half. It was a challenge because the Owsley House caught fire in 1999 and as a result, serious damage was done to the building.

Grigalis, an architect for the Department of Finance Division of Engineering in Frankfort said he had been watching the house since it burned and was always interested in seeing it preserved.

"I had people tell me I must be crazy to undertake this magnitude of a job," Grigalis said. "But I enjoyed the challenge. It was appealing."

Grigalis has previously restored historic homes in Philadelphia and upstate New York so he knew what would be involved in the process.

Grigalis has turned the space into two offices which could be leased separately or by someone who might need the six rooms containing 2,200 square feet.

A new bathroom is in the upstairs stairwell area and there's a new heating and plumbing system, new windows and a new staircase.

It's a new building from the foundation up placed inside the historic exterior, Grigalis explained. Steel beams were installed in the basement to support the structure.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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