Love of The Big Easy
New Orleans style meets industrial in this architectural beauty
Mardi Gras beads dangling from the hallway coat rack might serve as a clue. Then there are the fun, colorful art pieces from the French Quarter scattered playfully along one wall.
“Yes, you could say we love New Orleans. My husband and I are from Louisiana,” says homeowner Melony Bergeron, whose 6,400-square-foot, five-bedroom gem in a gated community in The Woodlands village of Sterling Ridge leaves no doubt as to its influence. Accessories don’t provide the only hint. Its architecture gives an undeniable nod to The Big Easy.
With walls of Old Chicago brick, wide-plank pine floors, an exquisite wrought iron spiral staircase and large expanses of windows punctuated in ebony frames, this home is a sweet convergence of New Orleans-meets-streamlined-industrial.
A backyard balcony curves around the home, as if to show off the dwelling’s southern, genteel figure. A large courtyard will serve as the perfect spot for the homeowner’s niece to marry in October.
“I just need to rent the chairs, and we’ll be good to go,” quips Melony, who shares the home with husband BJ, a daughter, 15, and sons, 12 and 7.
The couple lived in The Woodlands years ago, but relocated to Magnolia. They opted to move back here to be closer to their children’s activities. But where to build?
“Land was the biggest deal, just finding it,” Melony says. But one day they spotted a lot backing up to a golf course, yet with a row of trees for privacy. It was the perfect spot for a two-story with backyard privacy, yet up-top views of the golf course beyond.
They found inspiration in East Shore, a neighborhood in The Woodlands with New Orleans-style dwellings. “I love the homes there, and we saw details that we knew we wanted to incorporate here,” she explains.
Architect Danie van Loggerenberg of DVL Custom Concepts “nailed it,” Melony says of the home’s design. “I just told him what rooms I wanted, the sizes and gave him all the information. He drew it from there. We pretty much built it like he drew it with only minor changes.
“I told him it should have a New Orleans courtyard for sure. He played with different designs and came up with an awesome courtyard in the back and a wrap-around balcony that allows for the views. I love the way it curves around the house.”
Curves work in this house, giving interest to its interior. A curved nook off of a wide downstairs hallway is the perfect inset for a grand piano. And the living room television set and fireplace are set into a sweeping, curved wall of Old Chicago brick, perhaps the most stunning feature in the dwelling.
“We saw a wrap-around brick wall at a hotel in New Orleans and knew it was a feature we had to have,” says Melony, as she points out another feature, an industrial barn door, its glass framed in ebony, gliding along rollers as entrance to the study.
“I just love the industrial look,” says Melony whose furnishings work well in this streamlined home. Natural, neutral textures provide a soft counterbalance to industrial details. Two wingback chairs and a tufted-back sofa anchor the living room. Criss-crossed ceiling beams hover overhead for a rustic touch.
A round dining table mirrors the home’s soft curves. Melony found much of the furniture herself, but relied on Kristi Ziegler of Creative Impressions Design Group for some suggestions. “She found that dining table and chairs for me. I was at a loss. I really didn’t know where to get something that would work. She helped me a lot with colors and styles. She has an excellent eye.”
Melony has eyes for the dining room chandelier, especially. “Oh, it’s just great!” she says of the piece, dripping in crystal beads, another reminder of the Crescent City. “It reminds me of Mardi Gras beads.”
Another house feature she particularly loves is the green-stained concrete floor in the powder bath, replete with an antique textured wall faintly scribed in French fleur-de-lis. A Fabulous Finish was recruited to apply the wall technique as well as give the kitchen cabinets a slight antique effect.
And speaking of the kitchen, it’s the mainstay of this house when it comes to mealtime. Melony opted not to have a breakfast room, so this family chows down at an expansive kitchen island. “Two things we did not want — a breakfast room or a dark movie room,” Melony says. “And we couldn’t be happier. We use every bit of this house, and we didn’t need those rooms.”
This house offers lots of niches for family downtime. A downstairs den, also sweeping with concrete floors stained in green, is “chill central” for their sons and daughter. “Sometimes they’ll just hang out in here when they’re not busy with something else,” she says of the daughter, an equestrian who is often off riding her horse, and sons who adore soccer and other sports activities.
Her husband isn’t exactly a sedentary type either. BJ recently competed in the Ironman competition in The Woodlands and finds time to coach track at St. Anthony’s of Padua where their sons attend school. This, in addition to being the owner and vice president of a business.
“You could say we’re a busy bunch,” says Melony, who is training to be a yoga instructor. She would love to open a studio.
“It’s very calming,” she says. Her upstairs master bedroom provides serene space for her yoga and meditation. She finds a sun-filled spot that opens to the balcony and views beyond. A soft breeze filters through as if to say, “relax.”
Sitting on 1.3 acres, this house blends the lines between indoors and out with its clear views from nearly every room. “That was really important to us,” says Melony. “Sitting in this living room, I can see everything outside when the kids are playing on the courtyard or doing whatever.”
Their dog, Fawn, from Red Collar Rescue, is also delighted with the views, scampering from room to room with a ball in her mouth.
“Things just really worked out the way we wanted them to with this house,” says Melony. “We are very happy here.”
Text by: Cathy Gordon Photography by: Susan Friday Photography
Builder: TD Cox Homes Architect: DVL Custom Concepts
TOP IMAGE: This view from a dramatic spiral staircase shows off the perfect nook for the grand piano. “It’s the jazz area,” Melony quips. Colorful pieces from New Orleans’ French Quarter are displayed on the walls.