New classic: Traditional meets transitional
Last November, decorator Dan Bergeron found himself spending yet another afternoon strategically filling a client’s walls with masterpieces. But while the scene was a familiar one, this situation was notably different than other instances in the past. The walls he was hammering into hold over 170 years of history, as they make up Madewood Plantation, the Greek Revival-style residence in Napoleonville that had been purchased a few months earlier by renowned artist Hunt Slonem.
“Hunt Slonem is a personal friend of a couple who I’m working with on their home,” explains Bergeron, who is part of the McMillin Interiors design team. “We visited Madewood because he was still making changes to it and furnishing it. He was asking my opinion on where a few art pieces and marble busts should be placed, and he had me hang and place them.”
Now, a small orange painting of Slonem’s iconic bunnies hangs prominently against the navy walls in Bergeron’s front foyer, welcoming guests to the Lexington Park home he shares with partner Shawn Zeringue and reminding Bergeron of that afternoon.
“Sometimes I just come and stand in the foyer at night,” Bergeron says as he recalls all the other stories that correspond to the pieces that fill what he refers to as his personal gallery. “All the color makes me so happy, and I am just constantly admiring it.”
Bergeron’s love for color is on display in each room in the home, whether through wall colors or accents like yellow pillows or patterned curtains. “I’m just not an all-white kind of person,” he explains. “I need more than that. I love the unexpected.”
Throughout the house, which Bergeron and Zeringue purchased in 2016 during the construction process, small modifications to the standard plans are evident. Working with Alvarez Construction, Bergeron moved the placement of the dining room window to better suit a dining layout, while also customizing elements like the kitchen island, which stands out with contrasting black paint and white Carrara marble.
“We wanted to make our home as different from the others as possible,” notes Bergeron, who says his eye for architecture comes naturally. “We specifically chose the middle house on the street so that it wouldn’t be blocked by cars and so we could have extra windows. This house has amazing light.”
The front guest room, especially, is flooded with natural rays. Above the bed, two rows of vibrant Vietnamese scenes by an artist named Giang act as a welcome continuation of the theme in this room’s chinoiserie curtains, while a large Gyotaku print by local artist Leslie Charleville stands in stark contrast to the soft green walls painted Benjamin Moore “Garden Oasis.”
“Gyotaku is the art of inking fish,” says Bergeron. “I met Leslie through our work at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. When I was doing this room, I knew I needed one of her pieces. The indigo linen with the red snapper and natural frame are just perfect for this room.”
The main living spaces blend into one large entertaining area unified underfoot by dark wood floors. Classic elements like a solid elm table and ogee-edged island countertop are offset by midcentury lighting and other modern details like a shagreen buffet in the dining room and minimalistic gold cabinet pulls in the kitchen. Speaking to Bergeron’s collected style and effortless eye for design, the pieces don’t compete, but rather complement one another.
“Traditional elements are so important because they are what keep the look classic,” he says. “I think the black modified Windsor chairs in the dining room are the perfect example. They are modern but they still come from a traditional idea.”
In the master bedroom, a large canopy bed—a piece Bergeron says he has always dreamed of owning—is flanked by natural elements like bamboo lamps and a cowhide bench. Creating warmth and casting a fond reminder of Zeringue’s past showing livestock, the pieces demonstrate the care put into each element of the couple’s home.
“We don’t buy things just to buy them,” explains Bergeron. “We both have to feel something toward a piece. If you always buy things you love, you will always be able to find a place for them.”
And while Bergeron readily admits that everything inside this collected home might not appeal to each person who peers inside, he says his goal is to create a space that sparks something in everyone who enters.
“Not everyone is going to have the same taste,” says Bergeron. “But I am so proud to call this space ours because I think it’s something people can appreciate, even if it isn’t their personal style. I like that our home is different than the typical, and I like that it is us.”
See more photos from this home in our gallery below: