Bonnie WarrenThe manicured front yard features a unique broad walkway with mondo grass interspersed with the slabs of flagstone.
Kenneth “Kenny” and Jennifer Rabalais live in Metairie Club Gardens. Their home is the showplace you would expect for owners of the Plant Gallery on Airline Highway. The home that has been carefully put together by the couple offers a manicured lawn with a broad walkway in the front and a rear yard with a large pool, stylish cabana and careful plantings around the periphery. Step inside the large home and you will be amazed that each space has that made-for-photography perfection.
Jennifer and Kenny Rabalais, with children Ashton, 8, and Alexander, 10 and dogs Copper and Sadie.
“We think of our home as user-friendly, never stuffy and just a fun house,” Kenny says, as he quickly points out that the floors downstairs are all 24-inch squares of Travertine that are easy to maintain. “The kids could play on their skateboards and they wouldn’t hurt it,” he adds, referring to Ashton, 8 and Alexander, 10.“Just because you have mostly white fabrics on the furniture doesn’t mean you can’t live a casual lifestyle,” Jennifer adds. Interior designer Gerri Bremermann helped the house achieve the Country French look.” She selected just the right antiques to dress up the rooms without creating a stuffy look.”
Elegant silk drapes cover the windows in the dining room that features fine antique furnishings.
The open floor plan allows a clear vista from one space to the next. The formal living room is divided from a sitting room by an opening accented with handsome columns. Both rooms are illuminated by antique chandeliers, as are the kitchen and dining rooms. A large den with a beamed ceiling adjoins the sitting room. “One feature we really enjoy is the way the house opens onto the brick rear patio through a series of French doors that allows maximum light to flood the house all day,” Kenny says. A recent “bump” out created additional space for a sunny breakfast room at the end of the kitchen that appears to have been transported intact from a French country house to Metairie. “We enjoy the large kitchen and the white cabinets makes the space seem even larger,” Jennifer explains.
Antique French furnishings in the living room, selected by interior designer Gerri Bremermann, are grouped around the glass-topped table. The large mirror over the mantel reflects the garden beyond.
Although casualness is the watchword of the house, the dining room is a study in grandeur with its lush silk drapes, antiques and a large mirror over the sideboard that allows for an interesting reflection of the kitchen and breakfast room beyond.
The country French kitchen dressed in white has a wall of open shelves at one end.
“We both love fresh flowers,” Jennifer continues. “We think they add so much to a warm and friendly feeling of a home.” She is also quick to point out that all of the accessories came from their fashionable gift shop that has become a must-visit by area interior designers. “Yes,” she says with a smile, “I do all of the buying for the gift shop and I often find something at market that I know will end up in our home, so I buy more than one so I won’t feel guilty about taking it out of inventory when the shipment arrives.”
Four chairs grouped around a small round table placed under the antique chandelier add style to the sitting room
The rear of the house features a series of French doors downstairs and large windows upstairs to provide maximum light
A cabana is featured in one corner of the garden.