A Modernized Charmer
After living in Texas, Marilyn and Bill Watson decided they were ready to return to Acadiana and live near family and friends. It turned out their dream home was awaiting them, too.
It was the 1930s, and young couples eagerly purchased lots on a quiet boulevard called St. Mary in Lafayette.
They planted oak trees in their spacious yards for future shade, raised their children and formed friendships with neighbors that created lasting memories. The homes they built are considered classic, signifying the decade in which they were constructed.
This area that transcends time still draws the younger set but also has caught the attention of those ready to retire.
Marilyn and Bill Watson were making a final move from Texas and knew this is where they belonged.
“I grew up in a neighborhood like this, and I knew I wanted it again,” says Bill. “Marilyn and I saw and purchased the house in one day. It had good bones, yet there was much to be done to bring it up to the present date.”
It was a year before the Watsons actually moved, so renovations began with their commuting to Lafayette on weekends to oversee the work.
Yet credit is given where credit is due. “If we would not have been working with our friend Onezieme Mouton, a professor of architecture at ULL, who listened, we would not have the satisfaction in the results that we did,” Marilyn says.
The bathrooms were completely gutted in the 2,385-square-foot home, with the fixtures and other requirements purchased at Elegant Additions in Houston. Also acquired there was invaluable advice from the owner on customizing these rooms.
Nine-foot ceilings were enriched with crown molding, which was added throughout the home, including in the three bedrooms. Another new feature that made an impact, this time in a functional way, was recessed lighting in every room. Although windows dominated many of the walls, a portion of the light was blocked by the surrounding mature trees.
When the subject of doors is mentioned, Marilyn responds with an amused smile. “This home had so many doorways,” she says. “Upon removing some, we not only added wall space but we were able to enlarge closets, as well.” The few doors needed for privacy were recycled into pocket doors.
Luckily the kitchen had been attended to by the previous owners, and so only a few alterations were called for.
Appliances were changed out and cabinets added, but Marilyn’s most cherished revision is the pantry by design consultant Gwen Perdomo of California Closets. The amount of storage she provided Marilyn is phenomenal.
Furnishings inherited from both sides of their families are Marilyn and Bill’s greatest treasures and make up the heart and soul of their new home. The rich, dark antique pieces contrast well with the light tones of the original oak flooring. Several oil-burning lamps have been modified to electric, and lovely silver candelabra adorn the top of a buffet in the dining room.
Visually enhancing the walls is original art – a closer look at many of these will reveal the artist’s signature as B. Watson. “When I previously lived here, which was from 1995 to 2005, I took oil painting lessons from Carl Groh, a known portrait-painter in Lafayette,” Bill says. “I began again this fall with him. Our favorite is called The Young Chef, which was done at a time when my son had just completed culinary school and was headed to the West Coast. We were missing him dearly.” More art and artifacts were collected by Bill during the time he lived overseas while employed by Global Marine Drilling.
The couple has done the right tweaking to finish their new habitat with touches both stylish and functional, and now they are ready to enjoy the fruits of their labor!