Josh and Travis Wilkes-Schrimsher just moved into 1222 Garvin Place in September 2017 and are obviously integrating into Old Louisville because they readily agreed to put their home on this year’s Holiday Home Tour.
From Mount Washington, Josh obtain his degree in Interior Design from Sullivan University. He worked for other interior designers for seven years before branching out on his own to start Ross-Hite Design earlier this year. His husband, Travis, who is originally from Alabama, currently works as a Safety and Compliance Director for a marine building company in Chattanooga, where he is also obtaining an engineering degree at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga. The two hit it off immediately when they met in downtown Louisville in 2015. Later that year during a Halloween trip to New Orleans, one of their favorite vacation spots, Travis proposed to Josh. One year later they eloped, returning to New Orleans where they married in Jackson Square.
Prior to moving to Old Louisville, Josh lived in the Highlands for ten years. After he and Travis were married, they wanted more space and the opportunity to have a business showcasing furniture and accessories in their home. They looked in NuLu, the Highlands and other neighborhoods before finding 1222 Garvin Place. While out looking at homes with their real estate agent along Sixth Street in Old Louisville, they saw their current home from the back and immediately fell in love with the outdoor space it provided. Unbeknownst to them, Josh’s best friend and business partner, Edie Hite, was in front of the home talking to its owners at the same time. It wasn’t until later when the three were chatting and comparing pictures of homes they’d seen did they realize that both were looking at the same house at the same time. It was truly fated.
Built in 1890, this 4,300 square-foot Architectural style home sits in the heart of Garvin Place. The land on which all the houses in the 1200 block of Garvin now stand was a part of the inheritance of Henrietta Speed. During Reconstruction following the Civil War, she subdivided her portion of her father’s estate and the first structures began to appear in the 1870s. The home was first listed in records in 1892 as 1512 Garvin Place and was owned and occupied by shirt manufacturer and prominent Louisville businessman, James S. Carr. He sold the property in 1900 to William Wallace McDowell, a fire insurance agent who was the great-grandnephew of the famed Dr. Ephraim McDowell of Danville.
Other owners of this home included Stationary Company president Hyman G. Offutt in the 1920s, and the widowed Rebecca A. Brown, who, beginning in 1930, ran it as a rooming house along with her daughter Josephine. Rebecca’s grandson, William Stanley Ditto, and his wife, Marguerite Nall, who were affiliated with Ditto Heating and Plumbing, are listed as primary residents in the late 1940s. Rebecca A. Brown is still named as owner and occupant in the 1958 Louisville city directory, even though by this time the house had become known familiarly as the Ditto Place.
The owners immediately preceding Josh and Travis unfortunately stripped the home of most of its Victorian elements. Only the original inlaid hardwood floors and all but one of seven fireplaces remain. Josh’s extensive Chinese Foo Dog collection, as well as his grandmother’s still very well-loved (and used) set of cast iron skillets, are both quite at home here. The couple’s future plans include adding a greenhouse on the lovely third-floor porch.
Another unique feature of this home is that it serves as the headquarters for Ross-Hite Design, Josh’s interior design business. The unique business concept was to showcase furniture and accessories in their intended environment—in a home as opposed to a showroom—to help people envision how pieces would work in their own residence. As such, almost everything in the house is for sale and the furniture is constantly changing except for that incredible cast iron set in the kitchen. Josh and Edie’s business offers interior design services and holiday decorating. Their work has been featured in the Courier-Journal and Voice Tribune, and his holiday décor will only be publicly viewable to Holiday Home Tour ticket holders.