Traditional trumps modern in a new home in the heart of Baton Rouge
Just five feet separated Stacy Johnson from her vision of a modern home set under the trees of Fairway Drive. The lot was purchased. The plans were drawn up. But Baton Rouge flood zoning threw a wrench into things. Told by the city that the house would need to be raised by five feet, Stacy and her architect, Louis Ravasio of Lawrence Design Service, were back to the drawing board.
“We basically had to start over,” explains Stacy, who co-owns Envy Interiors. “In rethinking it, we had to go to a style that would be appropriate with steps. The obvious answer was traditional and, honestly, it turned out even better than I think the original plan would have. The house really fits with its surroundings.”
And it’s those surroundings that sold Stacy and her husband, Patrick, on the area. Making the move from Prairieville, the couple found the rare vacant lot on this established street and jumped at the opportunity. With its lush landscapes, view of the Baton Rouge Country Club and location at the center of the city, the site was ideal. But it was the chance to bring their new home to life from the ground up that was the selling point for Stacy.
“I worked closely to design every detail of the home,” she says. Working with builder Amanda Beard of Beard Home Builders, Stacy sought to customize both aesthetically and structurally. Rather than placing the dining room immediately off the entry, she moved it to the back of the house to offer a view of the surrounding landscape. In its place, an elevated seating area with a built-in bookcase is a tucked-away escape overlooking one of Stacy’s favorite features: a wallpaper mural that greets guests on the main foyer wall.
“I saw this Phillip Jeffries mural and I fell in love,” she says. “It has a real Southern feeling with its magnolia branches and blossoms. It’s a real wow moment.”
Moving throughout the house, several other floral papers create memorable moments. There’s a gold and white paper that takes the place of tile in the butler’s pantry—and makes washing dishes all the more lively. Upstairs, a subtle blush paper adds a sophisticated touch to Stacy’s youngest daughter, Mollie’s, bedroom. And, finally, the first paper that Stacy chose: the one in the powder room.
“Once I saw it, I knew I had to use it somewhere,” she notes. “I based the entire half-bath around it. We chose a piece of furniture to house the sink, and the oversized silver lantern makes the space more formal than country.”
It isn’t just Stacy’s bold wallpaper choices that make the Johnson house feel more lived in than new construction. The family’s art collection fills walls and surfaces in every room, speaking to the Johnsons’ appreciation for artists near and far, as well as one of the main goals of Stacy’s design company. “Art is one of the biggest things for us and our clients,” explains Stacy’s partner, Stacey Davis. “We work with a lot of artists and want to ensure that we’re helping our clients build collections. Art isn’t just about getting color on your walls. It’s something that speaks to each individual and something that holds value.”
The artworks in the Johnson home range from a sculpture by Atillia in the kitchen to abstracts by Michael Klung in the master bedroom to vibrant pieces by Tony Mose in the hallway and upstairs landing lounge and even to works painted by Stacy herself, such as the two blue canvases that flank the living room mantel.
“We had a lot of fun choosing new pieces when we were designing this house,” Stacy says. “The only thing was making sure we had the wall space where it needed to be in order to accommodate our growing collection.”
The upstairs landing area is one that truly lets the art do the talking. Designed for her last daughter at home, the space is vibrant and fun without losing the same sophistication that Stacy created throughout the rest of the home. A gallery of colorful works sits above a dark navy velvet sofa, while a fuchsia ottoman and patterned curtains bring the feeling of the art down into the physical living space. “The bench came first,” explains Stacy. “After that, it all just kind of came together.”
Many of the other rooms in the house followed the same formula. Working alongside friends at Envy, Stacy was able to not only scout out the perfect pieces at places like industry markets, but she was also able to bounce ideas off of peers ready to help her explore interior design outside of her comfort zone. “It’s been such a great experience to work with friends on the project,” she says. “It’s made everything even more special.”
And now, having settled in just weeks before COVID-19 shut everything down (Stacy was worried her movers wouldn’t show up on the day of the move), the home keeps getting better. “I can’t explain it but since we’ve moved in, it’s just felt so comfortable—like home immediately,” she says. “After we moved in last year, we had a longer spring. I think it was nature letting us celebrate our new space a little extra.”
See more from this home in our gallery below: