A Contemporary Oasis
Located in a quiet neighborhood near Lakeside Shopping Center, the street view of Brenda and Ray Newman’s home gives only a faint hint to the glamour beyond the front door. Step inside and view the all-white furnishings in the large living room with a sloping ceiling that allows a second floor balcony, and you’ll find a show house of contemporary furnishings and accessories featuring large expanses of glass that wash every corner in light.
“We both fell in love with the house,” says Brenda, a singer, entertainer and owner of Beebe’s Jazz Dinner Club near West End. “There is such excitement in the open floor plan, not to mention the beautiful Japanese garden that wraps around the place.”
The home has plenty of amenities, including a teahouse in the backyard that extends the family living space into the garden. “While the Japanese garden was a great plus, it was the interior that captured our imagination,” Brenda says. “It was easy for me to visualize creating a dream home and since we were relatively newlyweds living in an unimaginative condo off Metairie Road, I thought it would be a unique hideaway for both of us.”
Brenda didn’t have a tough job convincing Ray to move. “The garden clinched the deal for me,” he says. “It is so peaceful and quiet, with wooden paths leading to all kinds of exciting corners and separate, seemingly secret, gardens.”
“I grew up in northeastern Mississippi near a creek and learned a love of the outdoors from my mother,” Brenda adds. “I love ‘tending the garden,’ just like she did. Here we have the perfect oasis.”
Brenda designed the interior and selected the unique bleached oak for the floors in the downstairs to complete the envelope of her all-white color scheme. The black grand piano has its own stage that’s raised 10 inches above the rest of the room. An adjoining dining room is partitioned from the living room by a narrow wall and once guests step into the space their eyes are immediately drawn to the rear garden through the two large windows and glass door.
Once on the rear deck, it’s only four steps up the pavilion they call a teahouse. “It’s one of my favorite spots to relax and watch television,” Ray says. “We have a wonderful Asian wok in the covered building, along with a refrigerator and a sink.” Brenda added, “It’s an ideal place to entertain.
“There is so much to love about our home. Ray and I enjoy sitting on our deck sipping wine and listening to the waterfalls and trickling of the streams.” They also enjoy watching the sunset as it lays a soft ebony blanket over the color of the day garden, and creates a romantic nighttime vista with special lighting along the pathways and against the trees.
Even the night is contemporary.