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Behind Shelby's Doors: Reflections of home

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The Biagis’ glass house lets them commune with nature – no matter where they sit.

By Lisa King

Home is where the heart is – and in David Biagi’s case – where the house is.

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“I wanted to build a place I could always come back to,” he said.

“Also, we get to see a lot of wildlife, because we can see them from inside the house. The kids really love that.”

In the early 1990s, when Biagi moved back to Shelby County from New York City, where he had worked as an architect with Gwathmey Seigel & Associates Architects, designing homes for such people as Stephen Spielberg, he wanted to build a house on his family’s land on Aiken Road, but at first, he said didn’t intend to put down permanent roots.

Instead, he planned to commute from wherever his architectural expertise took him. But it didn’t work out that way, he said.

Shortly after building his ultra-modern, 4-level house, mostly of glass, in 1994, the house was spotlighted in Metropolitan Home magazine and from there, appeared in publications all over the world, Biagi said.

“So then I didn’t need to leave Kentucky to find work; the house brought it to me,” said Biagi, who, in addition to his architectural business in Shelby County has been since 2003 director of the School of Architecture at the University of Kentucky.
But the history of the house gets even more interesting from there.
After Biagi married Tricia Barry, the couple realized they needed more room, so they constructed an addition to the house in 2001, adding two kids’ bedrooms, a master bathroom and a family room, increasing the square footage from 900 to 2,400 spread over a total of 10 rooms and three baths.
Biagi said he likes the way the house is situated, right in the middle of a 60-acre tract of land that consists of 40 acres of woodlands, with a meadow-like area in the middle. The mile-long gravel drive that leads to the house is surrounded by woods, then the path opens up.
“I like the long vista of the lane and the denseness of the woods, then how it opens into the field where the house is,” he said.
Biagi said he designed the house to be able to maximize natural light and its effects. One side of the house is constructed completely of glass, with the east and west walls windowless, creating an effect inside the house like a screen on which light and color from the sun and shadows from the trees continuously cast varying patterns.
“It transforms all day long,” he said.
Both Biagis say their favorite feature of the house is all the glass and the opportunity that gives them to observe nature as one could not do in a traditionally constructed home.
“I especially like sitting in the living room and being able to look out and see the grounds and the wildlife and everything,” David Biagi said, adding that he loves being able to look through the front entryway, through the house, and onto the back deck.
Tricia Biagi agreed.
“I love all of the glass windows that open us up to nature,” she said. “No matter what mood you’re in, it always lifts your spirits. I feel so blessed to live here and get to experience all the beauty of nature.”

Inside stuff

Address: 4581 Aiken Road, Todds Point
Owners: David and Tricia Biagi
Statistics: 4 levels, 10 rooms, 3 baths.
Architecture: Modern
Built: 1994 by David Biagi
Accoutrements: The original 900-square-foot portion of the house was built in 1994, and the 1,500-square-foot addition, consisting of a master bedroom, two children’s bedrooms and a family room, was constructed in 2001.