Alex Narramore and her husband Deron Eckert (right) with their dog Mocha and friends.
THE NEW BOHEMIANS A historic downtown Lexington townhome blossoms with Bloomsbury style both inside and out. Written by Bridget Williams / Photography by Tony Bailey
Alex Narramore lives life in technicolor. As the founder and creative director of The Mischief Maker, the botanically accurate sugar flowers adorning her exquisite cakes are created with the same artful yet exacting eye that she applies to the design of the home she shares with her husband Deron Eckert. And, much like the bees and butterflies that are drawn to the garden oasis she's created in their diminutive back yard, the couple's home is regularly buzzing with the laughter of friends, who gather there with great regularity to partake in Alex's inherent gift for elegant entertaining. Lucky for us, we were invited to an impromptu garden party held on a sultry early summer evening. Alex greeted us wearing a figure-flattering sheath in a hue that mirrored the pitcher of Aperol spritz, the most refreshing of summer sippers she had at the ready. Making our way along a fern-filled walkway into the backyard, we suddenly felt as though we'd crossed into a portal that took us from the heart of downtown Lexington and into a botanical wonderland. "I always wanted to walk out in the morning and look out the window to a field of flowers, which takes a bit of work to manage, but all worth it," explained Alex. The garden begins as soon as you exit the kitchen and onto the back deck. It encompasses the entirety of the lot, except for a 74 slmag.net
sliver of green lawn at the center that's just large enough for a few brightly hued tables and chairs, which Alex likes to accent with vibrantly hued tablecloths and pillows from Lisa Corti. A pair of brick knee walls arc around an inground firepit and provide ample seating for savoring the setting. While Alex says that she loves native plants, she admits being partial to her English David Austin roses and "old-time roses with classic historical significance." Her ardor was inspired no doubt by a rose garden planted at her childhood home in Jenkins County, where a sweet Laura Ashley rose print predominated her bedroom. Not just aesthetically and palate-pleasing, the garden's cut flowers serve as essential references for Alex's sugar flowers, which are nearly indiscernible from the real thing. "The garden and the sugar flower cakes have become inseparable," she emphasized. An abundance of plants and cut blooms scattered throughout the three-story home blurs the line between inside and out. Alex creates all of her cakes from her home kitchen, renovated by the previous owner. The compact space boasts exposed brick and crisp white subway tiles and cabinetry. A marble-topped center island is often laden with a cornucopia of culinary delights as part of frequent get-togethers.