A family that lives together, but with their own space
Annette and Frank Loria built their dream house in Lakeview in a compound including the homes of their sons David and Paul. “Imagine being just a green space away from six of our grandchildren,” says Annette. “We love everything about our new home, but the greatest asset is that we’re near our sons, their wives and six of our eight grandchildren.” She hastens to add that there’s also a lot available for Abigail, her daughter, and Abigail’s husband Sam Ebeyer, where they may build in the future.
Add the fact that they are near the Lakeview Christian Center, the church they all attend, and that Gwen, Paul’s wife, is the architectural designer who designed all three new houses in the compound and Paul was the contractor.
“Gwen was the perfect person to design our home,” Annette says. “She understood that we wanted a house we could enjoy as we grow older. It is perfect for our active lifestyle today, yet it’s definitely very senior friendly, with every feature we may ever need. It is also important to note that since we’re cancer survivors and living a vegan lifestyle, we have the perfect kitchen for our needs, including space for juicing, a dehydrating oven and plenty of prep space for fresh vegetables and fruit. Gwen even designed the space for an organic garden on the side of the house to grow our greens in raised beds for easy access.” Frank adds, “We even have an indoor compost mill that takes kitchen refuse and turn it into wonderful organic material for the garden.”
It was Paul, their younger son, who came up with the idea of trying to buy adjoining property near their church. “The area had been flooded from Hurricane Katrina so he had a vision that we could all build new homes where flooded homes had been torn down and live near our church where we spend a lot of time,” Frank says. “We purchased the first piece of property in May 2008. The property directly behind the first lot was purchased three moths later, and we were able to qualify for the Road Home program and purchased the lots adjoining both properties in April 2010.” He continues, “The final piece of land became available in July that year. We re-subdivided the land so we had a possible lot for each of the three children and their families, with one for our new home, and a 100-by-100-foot common lot for the grandkids play yard.”
Gwen delivered on every feature Annette and Frank requested for their 3,544-square-foot home. “It is actually divided in two distinct spaces: downstairs with the open floor plan that incorporates the great room, dining room and kitchen, with a large master bedroom, bathroom, office, exercise room and powder room,” Annette says. “Upstairs there are guest quarters that include a living room, breakfast room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. There is even an additional sitting room, bedroom and bathroom upstairs in addition to the guest quarters that has a separate entry and a common door between it and our living space downstairs.”
“It is very much a part of our home” Frank adds. “We often use it to entertain guest ministers who visit our church.”
Paul served as the contractor for the project. The couple jointly owns their company, UPLUH. “Gwen and Paul are a talented team,” Annette says. “They also designed and built their own home and the home of David and Whitney, his wife.” (Ed. note: Gwen and Paul Loria’s home was published in the March-April 2013 issue of Louisiana Life Magazine, and Whitney and David’s home was published in the January 2014 issue of New Orleans Magazine.)
Careful attention was paid to all the exterior spaces, including the outdoor living and dining room that becomes part of the main house when the folding glass panels are completely opened to make the main downstairs unobstructed to the outdoor living area, patio and swimming pool. On the opposite side of the house are a patio, the raised garden, fountain and fishpond, plus a putting green that’s constantly utilized by the couple’s larger grandsons. “Yes, we feel blessed to live in a compound with our sons, their wives and six of our grandchildren,” Frank says. Annette agrees, “We never tire of being with our grandchildren. We consider it a blessing.”