Local Home: Formal, Updated, Comfortable

Donna and Robert Taylor’s Metairie home combines dignity with leisure.

The comfortable den is wrapped in a neutral-colored envelope.

Cheryl Gerber

The stately home of Donna and Robert Taylor is a circa-1940 classic Georgian-style house that was completely redone a few years ago. “We both immediately liked the house,” says Donna, because of its classic architecture and the setting on a quiet tree-lined, divided boulevard off Metairie Road. She is sitting in her cheerful breakfast room overlooking a rock waterfall and lush garden with her interior designer Curtis Herring, ASID (Curtis Herring Interior Design). “We could see that the house had potential, and it took the partnership of working with Curtis to make it the beautiful home it is today.”

The Taylors gutted the main rooms at the front of the house and then reconfigured the large formal living room into two spaces. “Now we have a cozy living room and a separate study overlooking the side garden,” she says. “As it turns out, the new study is the favorite room in the house for both of us. It has wall-to-ceiling bookcases to accommodate Robert’s extensive collection of books, and it’s the perfect place for me to work at the desk in front of the large window that floods the space with light.”

The collaboration of the Taylors with the eye for detail that Herring brought to the project repositioned the home as a gem of the period it was built. “I was careful to recreate and enhance the molding and trim throughout the house,” Herring says with pride. “I was always mindful that Donna and Robert wanted a formal home that was updated and comfortable.” Neil Peyroux, Donna’s brother and owner of Neil Peyroux Custom Curtains, made all of the handsome window coverings in the home, using special high-end fabrics selected by Herring and Donna.

Herring addressed the latest in lighting throughout the house and boldly painted the entire den in an envelope of Benjamin Moore bone white. “Painting the dark-stained beams the same color as the rest of the room and designing an entirely new and unique fireplace renewed the character to the large den that adjoins the breakfast room and opens into the kitchen,” he says.

Since Robert, the chief financial officer of Superior Energy Service, Inc., is the weekend chef in the Taylors’ home, Donna wanted a large kitchen with plenty of workspace for him and storage for her. “I love the marvelous wall of built-ins that Curtis designed,” she says. “I will never run out of storage space.” Herring adds that he wanted the entire wall to look like a piece of fine furniture. “I even added lighted display shelves with doors covered with bronze grillwork that I ordered from England.” His new design blends perfectly with the Wood-Mode cabinets selected for the kitchen.

Upstairs, Curtis created a picture-perfect master suite, even designing a handsome balcony that overlooks the waterfall and pond below. “It is truly a special retreat for us,” Robert says. Laura, the Taylor’s 17-year-old daughter, who is a junior at Ursuline Academy, also has a handsome new space. The older Taylor children – Colin, 24, and Leslie, 27 – are settled in places of their own.

Purchased in 2010, today the 4,400 square foot house is a gem of Georgian-style architecture and a truly unique home. “Our home in Lakeview was seriously flooded by Hurricane Katrina,” Donna says. “When we went shopping for this home, we knew we didn’t want another ‘cookie-cutter’ looking home, and thanks to Curtis everything about this house is beautiful and traditional in a fresh way.”

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