Summertime and the living is easy in the palatial backyard of Patti Fischer and Laurie Labruzzo. Step outside their home on a quiet street in Metairie and you’ll find a dramatic swimming pool complete with a fountain, a separate Jacuzzi with two fountains emptying into the swimming pool and lush gardens surrounding the tall privacy fence. The back porch created by the balcony serves as an outdoor den, and nearby a handsome pergola covers an outdoor kitchen that includes two large fans to keep the breezes blowing even on the hottest summer day.
Make no mistake: this is a dream backyard. Fischer and Labruzzo have spared no expense to make the exterior of their home just as exciting as the interior. As the owners of the Fischer-Gambino shops on Royal Street and Metairie Road, their home reflects the couple’s exquisite taste in both interior and exterior design and furnishings. “Our home reflects our love of elegance,” Labruzzo explains. “After several trips abroad, Patti and I fell in love with everything European and I wanted the interior and exterior to reflect our new found love.”
Fischer adds, “I must admit that the pool design isn’t from something either one of us saw in Europe. It had been in my head since my first visit to Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills, so I guess you can’t call it European, but the Barcelona-like railing and pergola definitely looked European to me.”
Labruzzo takes credit for the basic design of the outdoor kitchen. “It gets plenty of use,” she says. “We fry bacon and eggs out there on Sunday mornings, and we love to grill when we get home from work. With our mild climate we can use the kitchen all year.
“I tell my customers that I can add square footage to their homes by making their yards as exciting as their interiors,” she continues. “A beautiful yard extends the actual living space of you home. We can entertain a large number of people outside and never dirty the house. Our guests feel like they are at a fine resort instead of just being banished to the backyard.”
To accomplish their goal of seamlessly joining the interior with the exterior, the couple created a large family room, breakfast room and kitchen in one open space in the rear of the house. “I love the way the whole house seems to flow into the backyard,” Fischer says. “The family room was designed for conversing,” Labruzzo adds. “There is no television in the room. It’s for drinking a little wine, sipping some cognac and visiting with friends, family and each other without distractions.”
The kitchen always gets rave reviews from friends and family. “The blue stove [which Fischer chose] adds the French touch that we were looking for,” Labruzzo explains. “My great-grandfather was a chef from the South of France; I guess loving all things French is in my blood.” Since both love copper, the large copper sink was an easy choice.
The house features a dramatic two-story entrance with the media room adjoining the foyer. The walls were specially insulated, and even the plumbing that runs through the walls was soundproofed. The space is wired for surround sound and features a custom-built cabinet to fit their 60-inch television.
For an added touch of elegance, Beckye Fargason was hired to faux paint many of the walls and silver leaf all of the crown moldings. Deb-Roth ASID designed and made all of the window treatments and bedding. “Deb is a dear friend and her inspiration can be seen throughout our house,” Labruzzo says. “And we must mention Wesley Familgio, who did the iron fence and gate, the breakfast bar, banister and vanity for the downstairs powder room. He did a great job.”
Fischer and Labruzzo ended up with a brand-new home that includes everything they wanted. The established neighborhood was an important plus. Their home and yard provides the ideal showcase for the unique furnishing and accessories they sell at Fischer-Gambino.