Inside SB Homes: Old Meets New
5,253 square feet
Photography by Marc Gibson
Amanda and Kirk LaVigne loved the character and craftsmanship of their older home. When they decided three years ago to build a new home in Provenance, they found a way to bring some of that classic charm with them.
“We had an older home we lived in for 20 years. It was built in the 1930s, and a lot of the features in that home were ones we wanted in this home. We like that feel,” Amanda said. “I actually took pictures of my old house and showed them to (builder) Thomas Johnson. We took pictures of what we liked and said, ‘This is what we are talking about.’”
It did not take long after the LaVignes looked at a spec house in Provenance to decide they wanted to custom build their new home. Vintage Construction, which does the majority of the building in Provenance, connected the LaVignes with Lafayette architect Bennett Sabatier, who designed the new house.
“He designed a lot of the homes in River Ranch in Lafayette,” Amanda said. “We went down there and met with him. We knew what we wanted, room-wise, so we went down there and said, ‘We want this room. We want a living room, a dining room, a den, this kitchen.’ And he listened. We really did not have any difficulty figuring out the layout of the house.”
With the design settled, Johnson and the team at Vintage Construction went to work. And while the LaVignes praise Johnson and his team for great work, things did not go exactly as planned.
“I guess it turned out bigger than we were anticipating,” Amanda said. “That just kind of happened.”
One of the reasons it happened was they had to make the living room bigger to accommodate a rug that had belonged to Kirk’s mother.
“His sister had this rug at her house,” Amanda said. “She was moving and offered it to Kirk, and it wasn’t going to fit. We had to make the house bigger. Downstairs had to be made bigger, and everything upstairs had to be bigger. We pushed it out a little bit so he could have this rug.”
The LaVignes ultimately were glad they expanded the room. With the help of James Pendley from Pendley Piano Gallery, they figured out they could put a grand piano in the room. Amanda is taking lessons to relearn to play the piano. The room also holds the LaVignes collection of Steuben glass figurines.
“This (living) room is also equipped with a surround-sound system for all our audio and video needs, separately from the rest of the house,” Kirk said. “If we’re going to watch a movie, we watch it in here.”
The dining room features corner cabinets reminiscent of the LaVignes’ former house. The chandelier is Swarovski crystal from House of Lighting and Carpets on Youree Drive. The large mirror in the room was in Kirk’s mother’s attic.
“She offered it to us, but it had some broken pieces,” Amanda said. “I don’t know how Nader’s Gallery came about it, but they were able to repair it. I think it was the plaster pieces.”
The LaVignes enjoy family gatherings and entertaining friends. For Amanda, that meant having a large kitchen in the new house.
“I wanted a bigger kitchen, because I had a small kitchen before, and everybody was always in the kitchen,” she said. “I wanted a place where we could all be in here together.”
The centerpiece of the kitchen is a large island topped with a single piece of granite. Kirk said just getting the granite into the kitchen was an adventure.
“These guys brought it in on these dolly-looking things with these big foam-rubber tires,” he said. “Just getting it over the step plate was a problem.”
Off the kitchen is a large butler’s pantry, another homage to their former home. It features a wide built-in china and crystal cabinet, not often found in modern homes.
Amanda jests that she has only one small regret about the kitchen.
“I feel bad. I don’t want to go out to dinner anymore since we built a big kitchen,” she said.
One of Kirk’s contributions to entertaining is the large, partially covered courtyard. It features an outdoor kitchen decorated with some of Kirk’s trophies from African safaris through the years and an Eric Kaposta bronze eagle.
“From all the rooms, you can see into the courtyard, which is nice,” he said. “If you’re entertaining and it’s lit up inside, you can see inside from the courtyard. We enjoy it out here. We’re covered. In our old house, we didn’t have any kind of covering.”
Kirk’s semi-formal den is where the guys usually congregate to watch a Saturday afternoon college football game. The room is decidedly masculine, even with one or two of Amanda’s touches.
“There is stain on the bookshelves with grass cloth on the walls,” Amanda said. “I like the contract versus all panel or paint. It’s a little texture. I like fabrics and textures.”
The cozy master suite features a large bathroom with an open design, including an open shower. Amanda said Tommy’s Hardware did a great job completing the desired look with fixtures throughout the house.
In another tribute to their former home, the hallway and stairs leading to the second floor features a traditional wainscoting. The second floor features two bedrooms and two bathrooms that are seldom used now. “But we are expecting grandchildren,” Amanda said.
When it came to decorating the new house, the LaVignes looked to Kathleen Barlow, a licensed interior designer, from Yarbrough Interior Designers for help. “She’s wonderful,” Amanda said. “Kathleen knows us. We are very traditional, as you can see. She was our touchstone. She’s just a good friend now.”
The large house sits on a quarter-acre lot, leaving little room for a yard. The back yard is “just big enough for a swing set and a sandbox,” for those grandchildren, Amanda said. The back porch backs up to a wooded area.
“When it rains, you can’t hear anything going on in the neighborhood,” she said. “All you hear is the rain on top of the canopy of the trees. You don’t hear that in town. When we first moved in, we had a camera on the fence. We would have deer feed out here. We had a possum this morning. We had a bunny rabbit that ate all my pansies all the way around.”