A 1930s post office turned into luxury home in Kentucky
Photograph: Michael Luppino

First Class

Sure it's a fine place to visit, but who would seriously consider making a former government building her private sanctuary? Well, Sarah Belhasen, M.D., for one. And she's no eccentric. She is, quite to the contrary, a family physician, a student of history, an inveterate collector of Americana, and a practical-minded native of Paintsville, Kentucky.

That her current address—smack in the middle of Paintsville's sleepy business district—happens to have served the local population (around 5,000 or so) as the U.S. Post Office for 70 years is a circumstance based on some clear-minded financial and lifestyle choices and more than a little determination. Ten years ago, the young physician moved back to this former coal-mining town nestled in the Appalachians with the goal of buying a house of her own in her hometown. But not just any house: It had to be a house with character.
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