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La Maison: Glass by Design

A traditional Southern manor with good bones is transformed into a modernist stunner

A steel gas fireplace from Malm Fireplaces flanks the family room’s intricate feature wall.

When it came time to remodel a circa-1920s residence purchased in Lafayette’s picturesque Bendel Gardens, G. Richard Young and his wife, Nicole, turned to an innovative architect and interior design duo, Gil and Tanya Zaunbrecher, to reconfigure the abode.

Instead of the stately, white-columned entrance with multiple French doors, the Youngs envisioned unobstructed views, clean lines and an updated, modernist approach. To animate the interior, the couple brought style-defying ideas and an array of contemporary art from home base New Orleans.

Gil and Tanya initiated the transformation with an exterior rendering of a remodeled front.

“The exterior rendering was the catalyst for the rest of the house,” says Tanya. “The first phase was to see what the front exterior potential could be.”

Energized by their bold reconfigurations, the Youngs furthered the scope to include a second-floor addition, a master bath remodel, a courtyard with a pool and a new family room distinguished by unique wall systems.
Revisions began with carefully calibrated contrasts in glass, installed between interconnected rooms to make them feel seamless. The designers eschewed draperies, deeming them a visual distraction for the metamorphosed living areas.

“Every wall in the new family room is a statement and a piece of art,” says Tanya.

While the family room’s original, exterior brick wall has given way to a revised, angular “feature wall” punctuated with playful art, a second wall was replaced by massive curved glass for ample courtyard views.

“Mr. Young texted me a picture of a wall in a movie he saw, and that was our inspiration for the feature wall,” says Tanya. “I had to figure out how to create it. I drew the design in our computer program, and found a company in Canada to laser-cut each panel piece so it could be installed like a puzzle. Each panel is separated by a piece of metal, to get a shadow line and create more depth.”

Designed for easy access, the glass wall system dividing the family room and dining room is fashioned by unique 18-foot-long frosted paneled glass doors that were sourced in California, then driven to Lafayette by expert installers.

At the end of the day, despite continued renovations, elegance is at ease in the Young home, where bold ideas inspire splendid results.

A new stone patio and raised pool deck were carved into the original, bare hill.

A David Harouni portrait of the Youngs’ five children balances a minimalist staircase designed with a solid maple tread and riser that sits atop a white stair stringer. A sliding glass wall system separates the dining room accented with Francis Pavy’s mixed media sculpture and Harouni’s iconic oil on canvas.

A patch of the original terrazzo flooring anchors mid-century furnishings in the family room, where steel column-supported windows create a seamless look into a patio featuring gray concrete “fingers” that frame tanning and lounging areas.

Nicole and Richard Young


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