It is all about the light in the new home architect Jody Zeringue, AIA, designed and built in Lake Vista in 2010. “I love the way the light diffuses throughout the house,” explains Zeringue, a principal in the New Orleans firm of SCNZ Architects LLC. “Even in the center of the house it never feels dark or closed off. I also like how the light filters down from the clerestory windows, so you get light from above and views and light from windows and doors in all directions, giving it an airy and open feeling.” He continues, “because this double-height space was the main organizing element of the house, I wanted to do something different with the ceiling material, so this is the one spot beaded board was used, which echoes the rhythm of the wood floors below and ties into the beaded board soffits of the porches at both ends of this space.”

Located on a quiet street where the front of the houses face the park-like setting and driveways and garages face the streets, Zeringue is quick to point out that he has easy access to City Park and the Lakefront. “I love living in such a green area with many mature trees and shrubs, not to mention the unique lanes that weave through the area giving access to the radial parks,” he says.

The picture-perfect architecture fits neatly on the pie-shaped lot and definitely showcases the talent of the young architect. It isn’t the usual cookie-cutter replica of the two-story historic houses that have been built since Hurricane Katrina; instead it’s a fresh approach to something truly new. “The house has a basis in both the vernacular architecture of the Gulf Coast and the Arts & Crafts Style, with the result being a modern take on those styles,” Zeringue says.

He then points out some of the special features of the design. “I was sensitive to address the unique site concerns of Lake Vista; namely, my lot has two front yards. The east-west orientation of the long axis of the lot provided the opportunity for the use of clerestory windows on the north and south facades, while the street side façade was more about the arrival sequence of creating a private courtyard in the space nestled between the garage, master bedroom and study,” he says. “The park side façade features a large porch facing the big oak tree, which serves more of the traditional New Orleans public front porch function.”

Ever aware of wanting to include fresh details to blend with the more traditional elements of the design of the home, Zeringue says, “Some of the modern details I was able to integrate in the design include the stainless steel in the guard rails of the stairway, with the more traditional elements such as a beaded board ceiling in the center hall and coffered ceiling in the living room.”

Zeringue also paid close attention to addressing energy saving features by using solar panels along the south-facing roof. “The solar panels along with the use of natural light instead of electric light during the daylight hours, the use of radiant barriers and thermally efficient windows help to reduce the energy consumption,” he says.

“I really enjoy my home and the open, light feeling I get from the moment I walk in,” he says. “I loved the challenge of integrating the features that were important to me into a design that also addressed the concerns of the site, and having lived here for four years I’m very happy with the decisions I made and how it turned out.”