A stately 19th century Victorian is tailored to the needs of a 21st century family
Editor’s Note: Bonnie Warren, who has covered homes for this magazine for most of its existence, has retired. During her career, Warren contributed to state and national home magazines, and complied two books on local homes. We thank her for her service and wish her well in what we hope is a more leisurely life.
With this issue we welcome Lee Cutrone, a veteran of the home beat whose credentials include two of our sister publications, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles. As more doors to interesting houses open, we continue to wait to get in.
Originally, Hilary and Mickey Landry’s 19th century Uptown home was an elegant expression of Victorian era tastes. A gabled roof, dark millwork and stained glass windows were among its features. Today the house, newly renovated for the Landrys and their three children, ages 14, 12 and 10, is a lightened, brightened reflection of a young family in the 21st century.
The home’s exterior and interior are awash in white. The mudroom is neatly organized with individual cubbies for dance shoes, lacrosse equipment and soccer cleats. Its furnishings are a mix of antique, modern and bohemian, an aesthetic that Hilary’s sister has dubbed “rock star girlfriend.”
“There are five strong personalities in this family,” says Hilary, listing the family members’ respective interests and sports, which include theater, running, soccer and lacrosse. “A lot of thought went into how we live. I was very contemplative about every detail.”
When the Landrys, both attorneys, began looking for a larger house that was centrally located for school, work and play, Hilary envisioned something spare and easy to maintain. The Lafayette native grew up in a house designed by Louisiana architect Hays Town and appreciates economy of design. However, the spacious floor plan and double lot of the stately Victorian quickly won the couple over. They hired architect Patrick Melancon, and Hilary took a temporary step back from her law practice to source materials and oversee the day-to-day contracting.
Using sites like Pinterest for inspiration, she ordered goods online and worked with local designers, including kitchen and bath designer Chris Judge of ADDA Carpets & Flooring, and interior designer Erin Jacobs of Abode. She stored marble slabs, light fixtures, faucets and other items in the house’s attic and on Fridays cooked for the crew. “I’d cook red beans and rice or jambalaya, or I’d buy popsicles and cold beer when it got hot,” she says.
During the process, she discovered that her organizational skills and design talent were suited to home renovation. She recently obtained her contractor’s license and partnered with Master Carpenter Chris Guidry to renovate and flip houses. “This house was so much fun to do that I now renovate houses as a business,” she says.
Custom touches, usually ad hoc collaborations between Hilary and her contractors, are everywhere. The hidden storage compartment between the beds in son Patrick’s room, the mudroom’s personalized spaces for the kids’ sports gear, the spaghetti-proof vinyl-covered storage bench on one side of the kitchen table and the hydraulic jewelry case that occupies the center of Hilary’s closet are just a few of the many features that were specially designed for the family’s needs.
While Hilary’s talent is evident in the décor – she chose a menswear fabric for the walls of her husband’s office and insisted on a wash that lightened the wood of the pool house ceiling – she says “practical and functional” were always top objectives.
Most of the original floor plan remained as it was, but the Landrys adapted spaces where necessary and made several new additions: a closet and bath for daughter Miriam, a dressing room/closet for Hilary and a multi-purpose laundry room/mudroom. They also turned the cavernous third floor attic into a kid-friendly living space, and refurbished the existing pool with a new surface and brick deck.
With a family of five, Hilary was determined to utilize every inch of available space, even corners. An illuminated shoe closet occupies one corner of her closet; a three-way mirror is installed in the other. Even the kids had an opportunity to flex their creative muscle when Hilary gave each a budget to decorate their own room.
The final project was the pool house, designed and constructed to relate to the main house. Hilary wanted a vaulted pitched roof and a working fireplace. Mickey wanted an outdoor kitchen for barbecuing and entertaining. With those requests in mind, Melancon delivered a space that the entire family loves.
“Patrick interpreted the way we live and came up with a jewel box,” says Hilary of the pool house. In fact, Hilary gives credit to all who contributed their expertise to the renovation. “It was fun doing the details,” she says. “Everyone left their special blessing on this house.”
The dining room’s custom table is paired with chairs found on 1stDibs.com and upholstered with snakeskin fabric from Delk & Morrison; the chandelier is original to the house and the painting is by Ashley Longshore.
Hilary combined white cabinets, Calacatta Lincoln counters and a glass backsplash in the kitchen; the light fixture, inspired by a Pinterest photo, was sourced through Abode; the stone is from Triton Stone, the bar stools from Abode and tiles are from ADDA Carpet & Tile.
The original architecture of the house, simplified for the 21st century, is awash in white.
An antique settee is combined with a chandelier from Abode, a rug from Greece and a contemporary painting by Jonathan Shaw.
The built-in double trundle beds in son Patrick’s room were designed to make the most of its small size. A space between the beds provides hidden storage. Hilary sourced the wall sconces near the beds from Astro Lighting.
Hilary worked with Chris Judge of ADDA Carpet & Tile to design the master bath; storage cabinets by Master Carpenter Chris Guidry flank the slipper tub with his-and-hers sinks stationed on the opposite side of the room; the chevron patterned tile wall is a combination of Thassos and Calacatta Gold marbles from ADDA; the Regency-style chandelier is from Visual Comfort & Co.
A metal canopy bed is the focal point of the master bedroom; Hilary upholstered the bed and the chaise with the same cream linen; neoclassic reproduction end tables were purchased through Erin Jacobs of Abode.
Melancon designed the new poolhouse to have vaulted ceilings, a working fireplace and an outdoor kitchen for Mickey.
Hilary is photographed in her dressing room; Master Carpenter Chris Guidry, now Landry’s business partner, equipped the island with sides that lift hydraulically; the Venetian three-tier, glass oval-prism chandelier is from 1stDibs.com.