Sleek and Modern
This University Area home uses white to embrace its style
The all-white home of Renee and Peter Laborde is a study in exquisite, high style interior design, with every room seamlessly blending together in harmony. “What I like best about our home is that it is has a tranquil, peaceful feeling,” says Renee, who designed the complete restoration – inside and out – of the stately residence in the University Area. “I like everything sleek and modern, with clean lines,” she says. It is also evident that she likes everything white, with great art and perfect accessories, such as the unique Murano lamps, made mostly from vintage glass. “I matched all the lamps to the artwork or vice versa,” she adds. The result is a design statement that makes her choices of lamps the stars in many of the rooms.
The house was a hands-on project for Renee, who owns Renee LeJeune Designs, LLC, a drapery, window covering and pillow operation where she sews everything herself. “I have a professional workroom, but I don’t have any employees,” she says with pride. “I do all the work myself because I’m too particular about the finished product. I started by making drapes for my family and myself, and the next thing I knew it grew into a business. “
When Renee explains that she selected everything for the house – she means everything. “I made all of the selections from the furniture to the art, and the fabrics to the tiles in the bathroom,” she says. “I coordinated all the linens on the beds and towels in the bathrooms. Nothing escaped my discerning eye, including the white Statuary marble in the kitchen and bathrooms. In other words, I literally custom designed the entire house.”
Peter, the managing member of Laborde Marine Management LLC, an offshore oil and gas service company, has nothing but praise for the transformation Renee made to the house he owned before they married. “When we decided to get married, the first thing we did was look for a house that would be suitable for our blended family of my three and Renee’s two children, meaning we needed six bedrooms,” Peter says. “Honestly, I never wanted to move away from my house in what I considered a great neighborhood on a quiet boulevard divided with a park-like median.”
After a two-year search, the couple decided to do a renovation of Peter’s existing home. “The first thing we did was call in Michael Carbine to be our contractor,” Renee says. “He has an in-house architect on his staff that helped with the structural issues of moving the walls and making all the changes I designed. Michael was absolutely amazing to work with.”
The Labordes also brought in landscape architect Rene J.L. Fransen, FASLA, to do the landscaping and pool. “Rene and I are old friends,” Peter says. “We went to De La Salle High School together.” Renee quickly told Rene she wanted the surroundings of the house to be neat and organized. “The Delano Hotel in South Beach, Miami and Alys Beach on the Gulf Coast were my inspiration for the landscaping,” she says Then Fransen adds, “I was inspired by their request for the landscaping to give the home a staycation atmosphere to make them feel as if they were on vacation every day.”
In the end, Renee’s meticulous hard work and great design sense, and Peter’s never ending encouragement and approval, gave the couple the dream home they both love.
The home of Renee and Peter Laborde in the University Area was completely gutted and renovated with Renee serving as architectural designer and Michael Carbine, of Michael Carbine Restorations, as contractor. Landscape architect Rene J.L. Fransen, FSLA, used Pennsylvania flagstone for the courtyard in the front.
Linens for the master bedroom are from Leontine Linens.
Art on the stairway is by Bradley Sabin.
White Statuary marble was used for the countertop and backsplash, with white cabinets by Poggenpohl helping to create a stunning kitchen.
The large fan in the outdoor living room is from Big Ass Fan Company; comfortable furniture makes the space ideal for entertaining.
The handsome white silk drapes with custom embroidery border were made by Renee (Renee LeJeune Designs, LLC) who also made all of the window coverings, drapes and pillows in the house. Art featured in the room is by Rhenda Saporito (above mantel), Nicole Charbonnet (above sofa) and Ed Whiteman (above console).
A white grand piano from Lafargue Piano is the focal point of the music room; a painting by Jerry Cabrera is showcased between the windows that feature white linen drapes made by Renee.