After designing a dozen luxurious homes in The Waterfront gated communities of Maurepas, award-wining architect Bobby McKenzie decided to build his dream home near the residences he had created on the water’s edge.
“Our house is a culmination of all my designs over the past 25 years,” he says. “I finally got to build for myself.” The stunning home that Bobby and Susan McKenzie completed two years ago takes advantage of the scenic splendor of a nature conserve and centuries-old cypress trees along the waterways of Livingston Parish.
The French-style home combines classical architectural details but also incorporates cutting-edge home automation features. “The main concept was to incorporate exterior porches as part of the living area,” Bobby says. “The river lifestyle is our lifestyle. Through the use of three large phantom screens, the exterior spaces can be used at all times.” The main house is connected to a guesthouse by a full wrap-around screen porch. “The outdoor areas are most important,” he says.
Bobby decided to incorporate a hot tub into the rear porch behind screen doors so it would be a part of the living areas. The hot tub overflows into a shallow children’s pool, which overflows into the main pool with its four-corner spray fountains and swim-up seating.
“We had a camp in False River. This was the closest place where we could combine our house and our camp,” he says. With its roofed boathouse sheltering a 32-foot cruiser and a two-story guesthouse with a game room and a 12-seat home theatre, the compound serves as an ideal country retreat for a Baton Rouge family that loves to entertain.
“The home theatre was the very first room that Bobby finished,” laughs Susan. Closets that run the full length of the room are hidden behind posters depicting old films. Four nicely spaced rows of plush leather seats and blackout curtains set the movie theatre mood.
At the entrance of the main house, a barrel vault ceiling with a faux copper finish runs from the spacious foyer all the way to the rear porch facing the water. “We wanted to have a see-through view as you walked into the house. The barrel vault leads your eye to the river,” Bobby explains.
The flooring in the foyer, designed with walnut travertine squares and custom walnut borders centered by metal diamond accents, adds an air of grandeur to the space. An 1890s claw foot oak table resides beneath a wrought-iron chandelier with a neoclassical toasted sienna finish and golden fawn accents.
“I’ve set places for 50 people when we extend the dining tables into the foyer,” Susan says. “This is a great house for dinner parties.”
Corinthian columns, faux finished in antique gold, frame an arch to the right of the foyer that opens onto a formal dining room. “The arched front window opens to a swamp view,” Bobby points out. The Jessica McClintock dining room table, which seats 12, is from the Romance Collection. It is finished in a soft, satin fruitwood color with silver and gold leaf overtones.
To the left of the foyer, an entry vestibule leads to a luxurious guest bedroom suite complete with a morning bar and dressing room. All of the bedrooms in the house are suites; there is also an elegant bedroom suite in the guesthouse.
A sense of balance and a yen for custom work is reflected in the great room, which offers the most expansive space in the house. A double vault ceiling centers the room that is warmed by a large stone fireplace. Custom millwork and a wall of custom cabinets add to the stately aura. Several recessed accent niches render added dimension to the room, which is adorned with curved custom sofas and oriental rugs. The furnishings are elegant, yet relaxed.
A triple arch wall opens onto the kitchen from the great room, which features custom cabinets with a washed faux finish accented with red undertones. All of the Sub-Zero appliances are integrated with the same finish. A dramatic pyramid ceiling with a bronze faux finish is replicated in the hood over a Wolf range.
A custom mahogany island bordered by diminutive Corinthian columns has a drop-down breakfast table seating five. The kitchen opens to a sitting room with a fireplace and large windows offering a splendid view.
The elegant master suite has an air of formality with its four-poster walnut king bed and custom silk bedding and pillows. A pair of deep red Fairfield wingback chairs in front of a large stone fireplace by John McArthur adds a touch of color to the serene room. The spacious master bath has travertine floors with marble accents. Ambella Home Collection’s Winslow marble sink vanities are designed with mahogany, etched brass sheeting, and golden agate fossil stone tops. Silk balloon shades soften the master bath.
“The house is more formal than the other ones we previously lived in,” says Susan. The McKenzie’s had temporarily lived nearby while building their dream home in The Waterfront community. “Because of the 70 feet of berms and the natural woods between the houses, we have a lot of privacy.” Bobby adds.
Taking full advantage of a home on the river, he designed the large outdoor living area with a fireplace, bar, and a built-in barbecue pit. He also designed a bedroom suite in the guesthouse that opens directly onto the adjacent pool area.
“In the guesthouse, we have an exercise room, an 1800-square-foot game room, and a home theatre that can be closed off with the drapes,” Bobby explains. “If it’s nighttime, you can see the large flat-screen TV from the game room, and look out onto the river through the large palladium windows. With the river influence and the boating atmosphere, it is the perfect party house.”