Bonnie Warren CHERYL GERBER PHOTOGRAPHSTHE INSPIRATION
Shelley and Anthony “Tony” Barreca’s copy of the book that features houses designed by legendary Louisiana architect A. Hays Town has dozens of yellow post-it notes marking the ideas they like. “We both love the look of old historic houses in new construction,” says Tony, the owner of Barreca Tile & Marble. “We spent hours studying each page of Mr. Town’s book,” Shelley adds. “We wanted a home that would give us traditional elegance with a timeless flavor and we were looking for comfort and a special lived-in feeling.”
The Barrecas had lots of ideas about how they wanted their home in English Turn to look. According to Tony, it was their good fortune to find the right architect and builder to work with. The couple selected the team of Mark Schroeder, AIA, architect and Frank Augello, builder. It turned out to be a winning team because Augello’s own home in English Turn incorporates the “old is new” concept and Schroeder has designed many traditional homes on the Northshore.
Furnished in fine antiques, the living room showcases a marble fireplace installed by Tony.
“The Barrecas wanted a home that was quintessentially Southern,” Schroeder says. “A home that would reflect their heritage. So I did my best to capture their own grace, charm and warmth in the design.”
THE PERSONAL TOUCH
The collaboration of Shelley, Tony, Schroeder and Augello was further enhanced by the fact that Tony’s business installs finishes such as marble, onyx, granite, slate, flagstone and others. “My father came to New Orleans from Sicily in 1958 as a young man and he was already a master at his trade of working with natural tile, marble and stone when he arrived here,” Tony says. “I began going on jobs with him when I was 13, and it was only natural for me to follow in his footsteps.” Over the years Tony has become a premier installer of tile, marble and other fine products.
Princess, the Barrecas’ Dalmatian, enjoys thefront yard of their English Turn home designed by architect MarkSchroeder, AIA and built by Frank Augello.
“We paid extra attention to selecting just the right granite, marble, flagstone and tile that we used in the construction of our home,” Tony continues. In fact, he installed all of it himself. “Tony’s touches are in every room,” Shelley adds with pride. “His craftsmanship really made a difference.”
One consideration in the size of each room was the placement of the couple’s collection of fine antiques. “We had measured everything and we knew exactly how much space we needed for each piece of furniture,” Shelley says.
Anthony “Tony” andShelley Barreca with Devron, their daughter
It was Tony who dictated the 11-foot ceilings in the entry, living and dining rooms and the large den. He also handpicked the old bricks for the floor in the kitchen and breakfast room. The marble used in the master bathroom is a study in the finest available today. “It’s mined in one special place in Italy,” he adds.
An antique mirror from Elmwood Plantation hangs over the antique French sideboard in the dining room.
THE FINISHING STROKES
While the interior offers a storybook setting, both Shelley and Tony are especially proud of the exterior that features a long porch across the entire back of the den, kitchen and breakfast room, with a matching porch adjoining the guest quarters on the other side of the pool.
Brick floors are featured in the kitchen that also features abrick wall behind the stove. United Millworks in Baton Rouge custombuilt the cypress cabinets. Special Juparana Bordeaux granite was usedfor the countertops.
“We wanted our home to flow seamlessly from inside to outside since we love to entertain,” Tony says. “We designed the pool to add character to the yard as well as functionality and I think we succeeded.”
Triple windows overlooking therear garden allow for plenty of light in the large master bedroom onthe first floor.
“We ended up with everything we wanted and we love our home as much as any of the houses in Mr. Town’s book,” Shelley says.
The pool is the focal point of the rear yard.