Andria and James Cowherd share a love of horses, horse racing, and the Kentucky Derby, which shines through and through in their uniquely decorated home which many have nicknamed “The Derby House.”
Andria, a native of Orange County, California, moved to Las Vegas with her parents in 2008. James, an Ohio native and the son of two horse trainers, fell in love with horses and the sport of horseracing at a very young age. In 2003, he moved to Las Vegas, where he started a graphic design company, AVS, Inc. The couple met through a mutual friend in Las Vegas in 2008. Since then, they’ve made an annual trip to Louisville on the first Saturday in May to enjoy a tradition known far and wide: the Kentucky Derby. For many years, they stayed with James’ family in Simpsonville. After they married in Las Vegas in 2012, Andria and James decided to purchase a home of their own in Louisville to more conveniently enjoy the Derby and all that Louisville has to offer each year. The couple spent awhile searching for a home, as they wanted a house they could gut and completely renovate themselves. They looked at several, and almost made offers on some, but when they found 604 Floral Terrace, they knew it was the right home for them. Still full-time Las Vegas residents, Andria and James visit Louisville frequently, traveling now with their twins, Harley and Cash, who were born last year.
Built in 1905, 604 Floral Terrace is the first home you encounter along this beautiful walking court as you enter from Sixth Street. The shady land on which Floral Terrace now sits began life as a “Children’s Park and Playground” that included swings, see-saws, gymnastic equipment, a ten-pin lane and even a swimming pool. Originally called Cedar Hill Park, it became Floral Park in 1868 after Cedar Hill moved across Sixth, predating Central Park by four years. In the summer patrons could purchase ice cream, soda water and confectionaries. Concerts and fireworks displays were a major draw. An octagonal building was later erected in the middle of the park for concerts and dancing. In the summer of 1878, the park showcased “Mr. Esterlee’s wonderful mechanical contrivance of three thousand revolving automatic figures.” Nothing else can be found about his contraption, but it sounds enchanting!
A botanical marvel, Floral Park was never free to the public; you had to pay admission to get in. It was owned by Henry Dumesnil, who lived on Ormsby about where the Park Chateau apartment building now stands. In 1887, he leased it to the city rent-free for five years. The city neglected it, so when the lease was up (and after a public argument over who owed the taxes on it), Dumesnil turned it into a residential development. The central portion of the block became Floral Terrace, a hidden walking court whose elevated lots were built atop the park’s raised concrete beds and walkways and whose lush landscaping was undoubtedly inspired by the green wonderland that came before.
It’s understandable that James and Andria were drawn to Floral Terrace and its rich history. Since purchasing this 2,297 square-foot Colonial in 2012, they have completely gutted and renovated the entire house. The couple redesigned the first floor layout, installed new plumbing and electrical systems, and introduced their own Derby-themed décor throughout. While some renovations are still taking place, the couple completed much of the work last summer ahead of their twins’ birth. Displayed in the entryway is a one-of-a-kind rocking horse carved of wood that James and Andria had commissioned at St. James Court Art Show by Artist Mike Rawson. The couple also has Derby and horse-themed paintings done especially for them by their Arizona friend and artist, Carole Andreen-Harris. In the basement, they installed shelves with recessed lighting to house their extensive bourbon collection: another proud Kentucky staple you’ll find in this home.