The Wells’ home is perfect for entertaining. It was the setting for the weddings of their two children; Kendall to James Pickens and J. Kenyon to Melanie Cashion. They also host church-related events, such as a small-group Bible study that meets at their home every Wednesday evening. Cathy and Kenyon have hosted groups from Young Life and Reformed University Fellowship, with whom their large pool and hot tub are popular. The pool has a 14 foot deep diving area and a shallower end for pool volleyball. Cathy and Kenyon remember hosting a group of over 180 children two years ago. “I counted 65 in the pool, 15 lined up for the diving board and 12 in the hot tub,” Kenyon says.
The generosity of the couple arises from their certainty that everything they have comes from God and belongs to God. “God has blessed us more than we deserve,” Kenyon says.
On the lower level of the home are three full bedrooms and bathrooms. Wells’ two children, although they had grown up when the house was built, were allowed to participate in the design of their bedrooms. Kendall, an interior designer, chose cream and blue for her large rice bed. Her bathroom has a feminine gold-framed mirror nestled between sconces above her bathroom counter. Gold and blue wallpaper lines the walls to the ceiling, and an elegant garden tub is built into the far end. J. Kenyon’s bedroom features a mahogany sleigh bed with a navy blue bedspread and windows flanked by blue canvas curtains depicting hunting scenes. “He was happy he was able to live here before he got married,” says Cathy.
The most notable part of this floor is the self-contained suite of apartments that the Wells provide for friends and friends of friends who need a place to live for a while. Complete with its own kitchen, bathroom, living room, laundry room, private entrance and private parking, the space has accommodated a number of people with temporary emergency needs. Young families between homes and several single mothers recommended to the Wells by the late Kathryn O’Connor of the Daybreak Lifecare Center have benefited from their gracious hospitality.
“We don’t accept money for their stay,” explains Cathy. “We’re just asking them to work and save their money so they have some money to support themselves when they can go.” Cathy and Kenyon want to use what God has given them to bless others.
A staircase or elevator leads to the third floor of the house where Kenyon’s office is located. Here there are a pair of bedrooms with twin trundle beds in each. “We need extra beds when all the grandkids are there,” says Cathy. This floor also has a dreamy playroom with a large dollhouse, mini-gym equipment, riding horses that actually move, and loads of toys and books. In the hallway is the house’s latest surprise: a spiral staircase leading to the dome. A 360 degree view all around the house offers three water sides overlooking the lake. A cluster of cafe tables invite visitors to sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy the sunset.
Cathy and Kenyon point out various landmarks, such as the new relief dam, Spence Island and Bomb Island, where purple swallows put on a show every night from late June to mid-August. The Wells can also view the 4th of July fireworks from the comfort of their porch. In a bald cypress tree in the water, a couple of young ospreys have built a precarious nest. Kenyon indicates where the Spence family once grew corn on the right side of the island before the lake was created. It again shows to the left where the Saluda River flows into the lake. Scattered around the pool are various trees the Wells have planted, including large live Florida oaks.
Here, with a view of the pool and the lake beyond, the conversation shifts from the many charities Wells supports, including beleaguered missionaries in Ukraine, to deeper topics like personal grief. Cathy and Kenyon lost J. Kenyon to a heart attack in early December 2020 at the age of 40. The Wells’ grief is eased by the fact that he was a devoted believer in Christ. Kenyon points to a tree in the water next to the osprey’s nest. “We planted this bald cypress there for J. Kenyon because he enjoyed duck hunting there with his beloved Labrador, Lucy, when the water was low in the winter.” J. Kenyon’s funeral service was held in the backyard of his home on the Saluda in Powdersville. “Flowers were offered to those present to throw into the Saluda River after the service,” Kenyon said. His finger points to the left again. “And the Saluda River flows right next to it.”
At the end of a winding road in Lexington, magnificence awaits in the form of Cathy and Kenyon’s home. It could just be a show place, a place to host parties and enjoy the cool breeze on a wide porch. It’s those things. It is also much more. This is a house for those who need a home. It is a place where the laughter of children and young people resounds and where the family is celebrated. It is a place to mourn lost loved ones, as well as a place to give thanks for eternal life. It is a place where Cathy and Kenyon live in appreciation of what God has given them and where they share it with others.