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Walking into the home of Al and Goldie Smith at Christmastime could either be a child’s dream or an adult’s delight, with four large Christmas trees, red and white poinsettias placed throughout the home, and two vases of brilliant green holly with bright red berries on the fireplace mantel.
“Those aren’t fake. We grow them right here,” Smith said, pointing to the holly.
The living room contains two of the trees, one of them a stately Christmas tree at the entrance with a smaller, silver Christmas tree at the other end of the room.
That tree, perhaps unspectacular at first, is much more interesting upon closer inspection.
The tree, Smith explained, once belonged to Colonel Harlan Sanders, and a collection of Colonel Sanders’ memorabilia is nestled underneath the tree, items that Smith has picked up at an auction years ago.
Teddy bears wearing Christmas attired sit on the newel posts of the curving stairway in the foyer, a place of classic beauty and taste, with polished granite flooring, featuring life-sized Greek-style statutes of bronze and marble positioned at the foot of each side of a dual staircase that sweeps upward from both sides of the room.
Smith, a retired contractor from Hazard, said he fell in love with Shelby County as a boy of 12 when he passed through while on his way to visit his sister in Louisville.
“I told her I wanted to live there someday, and when I retired, I moved here,” he said.
Here is a 2-story Colonial style home, with four bedrooms, three baths, a living room, formal dining room, kitchen and library, situated on 16 acres at the corner of U.S. 60 and Fields Lane, just east of Simpsonville.
Smith’s wife, Goldie, who is from Pennsylvania, said she and her husband both love the home’s foyer and the especially the sweeping double staircase in its foyer.
“I’d have to say that’s our favorite,” she said.
The house also features a large fountain depicting the four seasons in front of the structure, a well-manicured lawn containing some unusual items, such as two ocean buoys that have been painted with the likenesses of two of the couple’s late beloved cats, Tommy and Charcoal.
But what really catches the eye of passersby are two 40-foot telephone poles artfully decorated – one of them sports a clever arrangement of lights in the shape of a Christmas tree during the holidays, and the other has been made to look like a huge arrow that has been shot into the air and has come down and stuck in the front lawn.
Al Smith chuckled about that.
“I just tell people I don’t know where it came from; one day I woke up and it was just there,” he said.
You might correctly assume from that unusual ornament that the rest of the home is filled with unique wonders, as well, including a handmade scene depicting the 2-room log cabin that was Smith’s birthplace in Hazard. His attachment to his birthplace is why all the woodwork in house is made of oak imported from his hometown, he said.
The house features granite floors throughout the first floor, with a large formal dining room with two crystal chandeliers and stained glass windows in the kitchen and living room.
The home also contains a dozen bronze and marble statutes, mostly done in the Greek and Italian styles, of young women, some of which were commissioned by Smith. Others, such as “Lily,” a marble bust in the living room, are antique.
There are two huge bronze lions in the dining room and other sculptures scattered throughout.
Did Smith have any particular design in mind when furnishing his home that he has lived in since 1992, which he built after retiring from a career in operating his own contracting company all over the United States?
“No, I just know what I like,” he said.
ADDRESS:5353 Shelbyville Road
OWNERS:Al and Goldie Smith
STATISTICS:4,400 square feet, 2 stories, 12 rooms, 1 fireplace
ARCHITECTURE: Colonial, painted white with a blue roof
BUILT:1992 by Al Smith
ENNUI: 52 doors, a double staircase in the foyer and granite flooring throughout