Bayou Bliss – Old House Journal Magazine

bayou style house
The Creole salmon-colored lime plaster warmly envelopes the home, implying a use of briquette-entre-poteaux development beneath.

Their clean slate was a scenic spot close to the Contraband Bayou—a part of the deliberate growth of Walnut Grove in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Having raised 5 daughters in a recent Arts & Crafts home, the purchasers envisioned one thing totally different for his or her subsequent chapter: a house rooted in Louisiana’s colonial historical past. They determined to embrace the heat, colour, and craftsmanship of Creole and West Indies structure.

The carriage constructing connects to the home by a breezeway/carport.

“They wished their new house to actually tie into the vernacular language of South Louisiana,” says the architect J. Everett Schram, who was principal of Walnut Grove Design Group through the mission’s growth.  (He has since launched his personal agency, J. E. Schram Architect, in Baltimore, Maryland.) As a Louisiana native and avid fanatic of Southern structure, Schram absolutely embraced the chance to dive into Acadian, Creole, and West Indies nuances prevalent within the area.   

The proprietor’s parterre backyard, on the frontage road, is a labor of affection. It’s enclosed by a conventional, lime-washed pieux fence.

In New Orleans, his purchasers discovered a key supply of architectural inspiration: the 1799 Pitot Home, one of many state’s oldest residences and a well-known instance of West Indies type. It was house to the primary U.S. Mayor of New Orleans, James Pitot, and his household from 1810 to 1819; later, it was used as a convent by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Coronary heart. Initially a rustic property surrounded by farmland, Pitot Home was in the end enveloped by the town and is now a mid-city vacation spot.

A gallery over the veranda and an exterior stair connecting these corridors are conventional parts of Louisiana’s Creole structure.

With this dwelling landmark in thoughts—in addition to the reinterpreted Acadian- and Creole-style houses of the famed Louisiana architect A. Hays City (1903–2005)—Schram designed a Creole West Indies raised cottage that embraces historical past in its aesthetics and modernity in its perform. Deep overhangs, wraparound porches, an exterior stair, giant French casement home windows, and ordered columns (plastered masonry on the primary degree and turned cypress posts above) are conventional Creole options. Lime-plastered masonry contributes to the new-old really feel. 

Left: Doorways into the household entry and mudroom join the inside with the breezeway and courtyard.
Proper: Battened shutters observe the curve of arched home windows on the family-entry wing of the home. 

“The roof appears like slate, a well-liked regional selection, however the terra cotta tile has higher thermal properties,” notes Schram. “It absorbs warmth through the day and releases it at night time and is extra resilient to hurricane harm.”

A library is positioned on the entrance of the home; its millwork is painted in two tones of deep blue-green. Pocket doorways on this room permit a view 
of the masonry fire within the nice room. Reverse The inside stair from the rear of the good room sits beside the library.

As an alternative of the extra typical upside-down dwelling association, the architect stored the principle dwelling areas and main bedroom on the bottom flooring, reserving the second flooring for 4 bedrooms and an off-the-cuff household room. “Traditionally, the extra formal areas could be upstairs and the bedrooms and servants’ quarters downstairs, due to flooding,” Schram explains. “That manner, the household’s valuables and finest furnishings had been protected.”

Left: An elegantly easy and environment friendly Rumford fire facilities the good room, the place Bella rests beneath an vintage gilt chandelier.
Proper: Vernacular traditions are seen all through; downstairs, the ceiling is handled as in outdated Creole 
homes, with upper-level beams and boards uncovered.

To provide the phantasm of a standard upside-down association, the architect tricked the attention with the outside detailing. “The upstairs balconies and porches are all positioned one full step down from the French doorways and the roof was lifted above the ceiling aircraft, making the second flooring look taller than it really is,” he says.

French blue anchors a impartial palette; above, pale colours bounce gentle across the inviting kitchen. Moroccan-inspired wall tile provides texture.

With its entry gallery dealing with one of many growth’s networks of tree-lined sidewalks, the home stretches backward like an extended rectangle to afford privateness. This size permits its major dwelling areas to speak visually with one of many purchasers’ favourite options: their backyard, neatly organized inside a lime-washed pieux fence with axe-split cypress pickets.

Sadie relaxes within the grasp sitting room, framed in reclaimed timbers and full-height home windows.

“Historically, Creole houses had huge courtyards behind their façades, or on the entry of nation homes. Since this couple loves gardening, we determined as an alternative to put in a proper parterre backyard, a small-scale homage to a Creole plantation,” the architect explains. “They love how the home embraces the backyard under the porches and the view to the bayou past,” he continues. “On this spot, they’ve the most effective of each worlds.”

On the rear of the property, a storage—designed to appear to be a historic brick carriage home—reaches out perpendicularly from the principle mass of the house and borders the backyard’s rear facet. Equally, a garden-oriented bump-out in the master suite mimics the look of a small porch that was enclosed. Reclaimed ceiling beams and vintage, wide-plank heart-pine floorboards add to the phantasm of an outdated home that developed over time. (“Floorboards change route in sure spots to look patched,” notes the architect.)

Left: The household’s vintage desk, restored by the proprietor’s father, sits on sturdy slate flooring within the mudroom.
Proper: French doorways lead from the eating room to the veranda and parterre backyard. Herringbone brick has a multi-course border.

“Once I was a child, A. Hays City actually impressed me to turn into an architect,” Schram says. “City was one of many first American architects to develop his personal type of utilizing reclaimed supplies to make a home seem outdated. His homes are identified for his or her vernacular development, telling tales of additives or renovations to age their presentation.”

A breezeway off the two-bay carriage constructing doubles as a carport, which “helps break down the visible mass that may end result from a wider, three-car storage,” the architect explains. “It additionally funnels breezes into the property, protecting the yard and porches cool even in excessive temperatures.”

On the entry, the bottom flooring begins with a fantastic room, the place a hand-built Rumford masonry fire attracts the attention. Within the adjoining library,  pocket doorways permit a view of that fire. Though the good room is open to the eating room past, Schram positioned posts on facet partitions to suggest {that a} (fictional) inside wall had been eliminated.  

Total, the inside structure is restrained, with little ornamentation. “I believe that’s one of many the reason why the historic Pitot Home has been copied a lot,” says Schram. “It’s conventional in type however very clear in really feel.”

Transoms above doorways hark again to a time after they would have been operable to offer cross air flow. The bottom flooring’s ceiling re-creates the look of upstairs’ flooring planks and joists being seen from rooms under. Tumbled brick, Ludowici terra-cotta roof tiles, and handmade Bevolo lanterns (these iconic gasoline lanterns are discovered throughout New Orleans) additional root this generational house in place.

“This construction advantages from architectural particulars formed over time by Louisiana’s panorama, local weather, and intense climate occasions,” says Schram. “Its success as a contemporary household house proves the lasting worth of this centuries-old vernacular language.”


J. E. Schram Architect

Walnut Grove Building

Broadlands Landscapes
Longville, LA (337) 725-3575

clay-tile roof

brick masonry
Cherokee Brick

home windows

porch flooring

out of doors lanterns


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