Dr. Albert D. Sam comes home from his busy practice as a vascular surgeon to a lovely ranch-style abode with a stylish glow. He and his wife, Roberta, purchased their 3,600-square-foot Baton Rouge residence one year ago and were able to move in without having to do any restorations or updating. “The former owners did a wonderful renovation prior to our purchase last year,” says Dr. Sam. “It was in top condition.”
Built in 1944, the house underwent several additions before being acquired by its second owners. The property has the quiet serenity of a country retreat, surrounded by lush landscaping with a spacious outdoor living area that includes a pool.
“We were looking for something a little smaller than our former house, since two of our four children are now away at school. Most importantly, we wanted a house that was located in the heart of the city, because Baton Rouge traffic can be tough,” he says.
Besides running a busy practice, Dr. Sam is also quite devoted to educational endeavors. In March 2011, Governor Bobby Jindal named him to the Board of Regents, a 16-member state agency that coordinates all state public higher education. He is also active on the board of Advance Baton Rouge, a charter school organization; additionally, he is a founding partner of Vascular Associates Educational Foundation, which is centered on providing mentoring opportunities for students in the field. Dr. Sam didn’t waste any time while searching for a new house for his family, which includes two young children ages four and eight.
“It was a dream—that we found everything we were looking for so quickly. Our realtor, Ann Mullins, is the Michael Jordan of realtors! She knew what we were looking for. Four hours after this house came on the market, we put a bid in. This all happened in one day.”
The Sams moved to Baton Rouge. They formerly resided in a condominium in Hyde Park, located on the south side of Chicago. “I was finishing my training at Northwestern University and Roberta was a nurse when we met years ago,” he recalls.
While looking for a new home in Baton Rouge, the Sams first considered purchasing a condominium. “We were looking for a Chicago kind of lifestyle when we found this house. But we saw it and fell in love with the place. It is a great house for children. We can be in the backyard and keep an eye on the kids playing near the pool. We have a four-year-old and an eight-year-old, so we were looking for a home that had better outdoor details for our kids. The house had a den that we turned into a children’s playroom. Since the floor plan is very open, we can keep an eye on them from the kitchen and living room.”
The couple purchased their new home in the Old Goodwood neighborhood, which some say is reminiscent of New Orleans. Once part of a plantation called Goodwood, the area’s borders include a portion of Old Hammond Highway to the south, Jefferson Highway to the west, and Florida Boulevard to the north. The neighborhood is similar to a small village with schools and churches, retail shops and parks, a library, and a fire station. Old Goodwood was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Baton Rouge during hurricane Gustav. Despite the loss inflicted by the storm, the neighborhood retains its timeless, verdant quality.
The Sam home has a sleek graciousness with an open floor plan and splendid views of trees, foliage, and a handsome outdoor living area. Upon entering the residence, one can see the entire backyard. Lovely views of the outdoors are afforded in all the living areas as well as in the master bedroom.
“The design of the house that was incorporated by the former owners is actually more contemporary, but our décor is rather traditional,” Dr. Sam notes. “Roberta did all the interior decorating. She was assisted by Ty Larkin of Ty Larkin Designs. Our artwork primarily consists of impressionistic oil paintings we collected over the years from various cities prior to coming to Louisiana, with the exception of several wonderful contemporary paintings by Christopher Turner, a fabulous Baton Rouge artist.”
A baby grand piano makes a striking statement in the living room, situated near a captivating painting by Turner. “The piece was commissioned by my wife; she surprised me with it,” Dr. Sam points out. “We are big jazz fans. I grew up in New Orleans playing the trumpet.” The Sams enjoy everything from “old school jazz” to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Ahmad Jamal.
Turner is known for his musically-inspired paintings created on-site at concerts, including that of the Baton Rouge Symphony. The painting near the baby grand piano, titled A Taste of New Orleans, displays a trombone and piano keys that are raised and textured. “I used warm colors that are seen throughout the home, as well as a hint of blue to bring in the color of the pool,” says Turner.
Other Turner paintings that are found throughout the residence include three in the spacious, elegant office. “Roberta is the CEO of the home. The office is where she handles all the home business,” Dr. Sam remarks.
One of Turner’s paintings adorning the office is an impressionistic work depicting New Orleans’ famous Trombone Shorty, while another, titled Calming Storm, is located over the fireplace in the office. “It is an original piece from my Tranquility Collection,” Turner points out. Dr. Sam rejoins, “I saw the article about Christopher Turner in Louisiana Homes and Gardens, and we loved his work. We bought four of his paintings that you featured in the magazine.”
Next to the office in the hallway is an acrylic on wood titled Serenity. Turner explains, “With the color tones, I wanted to show that you can be free from stress or emotion. I think it’s a perfect way to show serenity as well as structure.”
The décor throughout the home embraces traditional elegance and comfort with the use of a neutral palette complemented by warm colors and lush fabrics. The spacious kitchen is a favorite gathering place for the family. “That is where we congregate,” Dr. Sam points out. “You can see everything that is going on outside through the large window; it allows for a complete view of the backyard. This window is the only original home structure remaining.”
From the beautiful pool area that provides a fun outdoor environment for the children to the inviting common areas that exude an understated chic and a cool modernity, the new residence is a perfect fit for this active Baton Rouge family on the move.