Cherokee Gardens ranch on Tour of Remodeled Homes

Julie Blankenbaker and her husband Ralph were prepared to renovate their Cherokee Gardens ranch home

Julie Blankenbaker and her husband Ralph were prepared to renovate their Cherokee Gardens ranch home as soon as they purchased the property.

“When we bought this place, we knew we wanted to (remodel),” Julie told the Courier Journal. “It was (owned by) a 90-something-year-old woman — and it looked like a 90-something-year-old woman’s home.”

She and Ralph weren’t keen on the interior design or the layout of the house.

“When we bought it, we knew we wanted to make it ours, and make it more functional and also accessible,” Julie said, adding that attending The Tour of Remodeled Homes a few years ago is how she and Ralph got inspired to finally start the process. “We went on the tour because … if we’re going to remodel, we need to see what this is all about because we were clueless. We went two years in a row, (and) by the second year we’d decided (to move forward).”

An outdoor dining area at the Blankenbaker home. July 12, 2021

Open concept living

The Blankenbakers met Stonehenge Construction at the tour and enlisted their help in creating a revamped space — one of the main goals of the remodel to create a kitchen that would offer better functionality.

“I have three kids, (and) six grandkids (who live) in the area,” Julie said. “And I’ve got (my) siblings and their families, so we could have 20 people here (at once).”

As is common with most family gatherings, every single person would congregate in the kitchen — this meant Julie often couldn’t get to the refrigerator without having to ask three people to move.

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The kitchen in the Blankenbaker home. July 12, 2021

“It just wasn’t functional,” she said, adding that smaller, separate groups of relatives would have to spread out in pockets throughout the house. There was no flow, and the setup discouraged interaction.  

Tommy McKechnie and the rest of the Stonehenge Construction team removed a load-bearing wall, opening the kitchen up to the rest of the main level. They also built custom cabinetry as well as an eight-foot island and installed new appliances. The updated open floorplan allows guests to seamlessly stroll from the family room to the kitchen, into the dining room, and back again.