Mansion makeover: Local designers help redecorate Governor’s Mansion
When first lady Alice Foster created The Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation in 1996, it was to update the run-down historic building and residence. And plenty was completed in the mansion at the time to make the state proud. Fast-forward 21 years, and current first lady Donna Edwards realized that it was time to again reupholster the cushions and revive the rooms. The foundation turned to designers from across the state who volunteered hundreds of hours of work—sometimes obtaining donations on some items or deep discounts on others—to refab the fabrics, furniture, floors and more. Amanda Cason and Ty Larkins were the two designers chosen from Baton Rouge to put their personal stamps on this Greek Revival classic.
“I definitely had to change gears somewhat as it relates to our signature design approach. Honestly, we just don’t get too many clients asking for super traditional anymore,” says Larkins, who redesigned two of the guest suites and provided design consulting on the first lady’s staff office and the first floor living room. “The design narrative for the rooms became ‘clean traditional’—meaning all the existing furniture and forms would remain the same, but the ‘skin’ of the pieces would be updated with current colors, finishes and fabrics.”
Cason renovated La Petite Room, a guest suite bedroom and bathroom in the private quarters, along with a gym used by family and guests. In total, it took the 17 designers about 18 months to complete the extensive refurbishment. The results were revealed to the public in March.
“The collaborative effort of the renovation project was quite a feat,” says Sandy McClelland, executive director of the foundation. She was assisted by Heidi Meibaum of The Louisiana Coalition for Interior Design and Mary Mowad Guiteau of Holly & Smith Architects. “The finished product is a refurbished landmark that will serve the state of Louisiana for many years to come.”