The peaceful view of Bayou St. John from the historic home of Sara and Mark Landrieu makes it an ideal setting for a weekend getaway. “It may be strange to have your second home around the corner from your primary residence,” Sara says. “However, it makes perfect sense to us. Imagine just walking around the corner to spend the weekend and enjoying a totally new environment, complete with a beautiful view of the water from front and side porches and a place where you can sit and relax as you wind down from a busy work week.”
“We love this place,” adds Mark, an investor and commercial real-estate broker. “Sara knows how to work her magic as an interior and exterior designer, but she outdid herself this time. She took a sad rundown single shotgun and turned into an exciting home away from home for us. I think she waved her magic want and created an architectural jewel out of the 1880 side hall single shotgun she found in our neighborhood.”
“My vision was to open the house up to the outside,” Sara explains. “I wanted it to be a casual place that we could share with our family and friends, just like you would a beach house.” She created a side porch where the original side hall had been and then added French doors to all of the main rooms. She also created handsome, uncluttered indoor spaces with edited furnishings that left plenty of space for a large group to gather. “I envisioned each room making a statement in its own way and I wanted a general feeling of elegance. I didn’t want it to seem that everything was thrown together from castoffs,” she says. For example, the large living room is a study in good interior design with brown walls, fine silk drapes, a chaise lounge covered in designer fabric and polished hardwood floors fit for a Garden District mansion.
“We don’t need to do a lot of planning to take a visit to our second home, and there’s never a long drive to get to a peaceful view of the water,” Mark says. “This is ideal. Sometimes we come over for a few hours after work just to sit on the porch and watch the sunset and share a nice glass of wine.”
The kitchen has everything needed to prepare a large meal. “I wanted it to be open and yet have a cozy feeling,” Sara explains. “I painted the walls yellow and gave it a country French look.” Adds Mark, “The kitchen is one of my favorite places in the house. It’s where I enjoy having my morning cup of coffee on weekends and leisurely reading the newspaper.”
The same yellow was used for the adjoining bedroom that is furnished with a white dressed in crisp white linens. The windows facing the porch are from Loyola University’s old library and the old, circa 1900, seed bins under the bookshelves are from Reuter’s Seed Company.
The last room in the house is a spacious bathroom complete with a claw-foot tub, a new glass-enclosed shower and a vanity big enough for two sinks. The blue walls are accented with Sara’s collection of old mirrors framed in white. A second complete bathroom was created between the living room and kitchen. New construction at the rear of the lot provided guest quarters, an office for Mark and a third bathroom.
“When Sara first wanted to purchase the house, I thought it was going to another one of her ‘flip-this-house’ projects, since she had been successful at rescuing old house and then reselling them,” Mark says. “It didn’t take both of us long to realize it was a ‘keeper.’ There was a point where we both looked at each other and said, ‘We’re not selling this one.’”