For nearly 25 years, Mike Goodlett has lived and worked in a house near Wilmore, Kentucky, that originally belonged his grandparents. Over the years, he has embellished the house’s interior and even its structure with artwork of his own creation in a sort of visual call and response. Paper flowers bloom from cracks in the ceiling. Doorframes and windows are adorned with carvings. Delicate ballpoint pen-webs emanate from the electric outlets. Accessible only by an overgrown and narrow road, the house and studio are mostly hidden from view.
The house’s history, according to Goodlett:
“The house was part of a farm that belonged to my grandparents, Payton and Hattie Brandenburg, and they moved there around 1930. My granddad raised mostly tobacco. In 1970, they built a new house in Wilmore and moved to town, after which the house was rented until I moved there in 1990 when my grandparents died and the farm was sold. My cousin built a new house on part of it.
I don’t know exactly when the house was built, but the second story has store-bought moldings circa 1900 that are common in houses in Lexington. The moldings in the back part of the house are hand cut so I guess that part is older. The one lane road that ends in my yard was originally the back entrance to the farm and the house was built to face the original entrance on the other side. I spent quite a lot of time here as a kid.
My grandparents moved because they couldn’t stop the junkyard next door and then one night the junkyard caught on fire before the EPA and things like that.”
Additional photographs of Mike Goodlett’s home and studio can be viewed in Burnaway’s recent publication, titled Interior.
– Reported by Phillip March Jones