November 29, 2023


Swing Your Home

How Kentucky 4,200-square-foot home is a modern design oasis


Rob Marcum’s newly built home has all the characteristics of modern design: clean lines, large windows, innovative building materials, and an expansive interior with an open floor plan. The house is, however, far from ordinary.

“Everything here is so unique and so unusual compared to … what we usually do for Louisville, Kentucky,” said Michael Blacketer, the consulting builder on the project. “It’s got a lot of that west (influence).”

Built to last

The home took about 2 ½ years to build, with nearly eight months spent on the stonework, including the extensive use of Neolith on the kitchen cabinets, bathroom walls, and bathroom cabinets.

Rob Marcum's Louisville home. March 15, 2022

“There’s nobody here in Louisville that had even seen Neolith before,” Marcum said of the sintered surface material. Made entirely from natural, recyclable products such as crushed stone, Neolith is created during a process involving intense heat and pressure. The result is a lightweight product that is versatile and UV resistant.

Blacketer says that there is now a local company that offers Neolith but only in smaller formats. Marcum’s home required much bigger pieces, which had to be shipped to Kentucky.

“The advantage of Neolith,” Marcum added, “is it comes in large formats and different thicknesses, and heat doesn’t bother it.”

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A view of the kitchen in Rob Marcum's Louisville home. March 15, 2022

Another interesting element of the home not commonly seen in Derby City is its roof structure — or lack thereof. “This is only the second home I’ve built in 43 years that doesn’t have a roof structure,” Blacketer said. “It’s all rubberized membrane. There’s no pitch on the roof.”

The multiple decks throughout the house feature ipe, also known as called Brazilian walnut. The exotic wood from South America is nearly twice as dense as most other woods, and up to five times harder. It is also naturally resistant to weather, insects, rot, and abrasion.

“It is hard as a rock,” Blacketer said, adding that screws had to be used to build the decks, as nails will not penetrate ipe.

Exceptional artwork

A  large crucifix is the centerpiece of the great room in Rob Marcum's home. March 15, 2022

The art adorning the home’s interior is just as unique as the building materials used to construct it. In the family room, a life-size metal sculpture of Jesus on the cross hangs from a wall above the TV. One of only two of its kind, the other belongs to Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza.  

“(Monaghan) builds churches,” Marcum told the Courier Journal. “He put that in front of one of his churches, and I commissioned (artist Bill Secunda) to make that for me.”


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