Ben and Lecie Israel weren’t necessarily looking at real estate listings or touring open houses. But when Lecie got the inside scoop that a certain Georgian Revival house in Pierremont—situated on a beautifully arresting corner lot—was on the market, she sensed that the search for her family’s dream home might be over. Step inside and see how this architectural classic can easily welcome anyone for the holidays!
Shreveport’s Pierremont neighborhood is undoubtedly one of the best in town. Not only is it centrally located between Pierremont Road and 70th Street, its elegant homes are immaculately maintained and beautifully adorned. Anyone living in this neighborhood is living at the center of it all.
Having lived in two of the largest cities in America—New York and Chicago—Lecie Israel, along with her husband Ben and their three children, felt the family should engage in and experience the local community; it was as though she had been preparing all her life to leap at such a well-proportioned house that was centrally located within Shreveport. This Georgian home was exactly what she was looking for.
The home was originally built in 1940 for Mr. and Mrs. Lucien Marioneaux by architect Dewey A. Somdal and with his son, Edward Fairfax Nield Jr. Sitting on a once-acre lot, this 6,461 sq. ft., 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residence opens to fabulous formals ideal for entertaining. In the early 1980s, an addition to the rear façade was completed by the home’s second owners, Jon and Michelle Q=Peterson, which beautifully complemented the original architecture and landscaping. The new interior spaces created a more open plan that made the living room and kitchen more inviting and livable.
In 2016, after purchasing the home—and given the home’s spacious room renovations—the Israel’s were glad to keep any new alterations to a minimum and decided to retain the home’s architectural integrity by focusing first on refreshing and updating the kitchen.
The kitchen renovation, while mainly cosmetic, was very significant. Lecie knew exactly what she wanted, and opted to manage the project herself. Every alteration was made with careful consideration since the kitchen had previously been featured on the cover of Southern Living. “The previous kitchen had so many thoughtful details and was laid out masterfully, we just wanted to update it,” recalled Lecie.
Today, the kitchen now reflects the family’s contemporary lifestyle and is the heart of the home and every detail is deeply personal to the family. “I leaned heavily on my carpenters, Gerald Cook and Troy Finley from A-Team Custom Carpentry, who helped add their own flair to the residence. The two of them are like big brothers to me. Their support along with the generous help of my good friend and design guru, Natalie Roberts, gave me the confidence to handle the job myself.”
In 2018, the dining room was transformed into a multiuse utility room. Again, Lecie worked with Natalie Roberts, but also consulted with architect Gene Hodgson from Pollard-Hodgson Architects, “who cleverly came up with a way to transform the dining room into a powder room, mud room, laundry room, office, and storage area.” Lecie recalls that “from hosting parities and huge craft projects to daily laundry and keeping the kids organized, I don’t know how I ever managed without this space.”
After these two significant renovations, Lecie is slowly decorating—room-by-room—for family life without skimping on glamour. She’s a devout decorating classicist, and her clean version of traditional style achieves effervescence with her crisp, clear color choices and classic vignettes. Inside and out the home is full of modern conveniences and vintage touches. “I knew that decorating this home would pose a number of challenges; first, honoring the history of the home while introducing modern touches, and second, maintaining the formality of home while keeping it livable for my three small children.” Lecie further admits she “could never have accomplished it without the dedication of her close friends and decorators, Laura Pou and Lauren Smith.
The home is beautifully decorated, inviting and livable. It has nooks and crannies and fascinating décor artfully arranged around every corner. Here’s how some of the spaces that make this Georgian Revival home in the heart of Pierremont really come together.
The Front Façade
Although the Georgian Revival structures employed many of the details of their earlier Colonial predecessors, the architects did not closely follow the rules of Georgian architecture, which is the case for this Pierremont home. The home is adorned with classical details, such as the dormers, six-over-one sash windows, and a true tri-partite (Palladian) window. The large modillions (the rectangular moldings beneath the eaves), the elaborate entry and door surround, and the windows centered on the second floor all characterize this Georgian Revival style house.
The Inviting Entry
Entering through a large 9-foot-tall entryway, the space feels lively rather than overwhelming due to Lecie’s careful attention to scale and the color palette. Using a combination of marble tile (given to the original owners by Huey P. Long), along with simple benches and large pieces of art, make the entry foyer—the home’s first impression—formal, yet non-overbearing. To help loosen it up, a soothing light gray wall color was used, which provides a backdrop for the art. “Lively art sets the tone that this house is an upbeat traditional rather than the sedated kind,” Lecie says.
A beautiful chandelier is the star of this space, as the staircase wraps eloquently around it, adding a sculptural wow factor right inside the front door. To let it shine neutral walls and a zebra skinned rug help the space feel lighter and brighter. The staircase’s wood railings and trim accents offer a contrast to the neutrally colored walls and “Huey P. Long” marble tile. An antique console table rests at the bottom of the staircase that, as Lecie claims, “may-or-may not have come over on a boat from France.”
Utility / Laundry Room
This room is ideal for how the family lives. What was once the dining room now is the office-cum-laundry room and obviously works overtime, so organization takes precedence. Unsightly laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, and any other products that look like messy clutter is concealed in fronted cabinets. The washer and dryer are tucked away in a tiny nook, allowing the remainder of the room to be used for built-in storage and desks. In the center of the room a storage island doubles as a folding area for clothes coming right out of the dryer. The workspace is as simplistic as possible to avoid clutter.
The mudroom, otherwise known by Lecie as the “room filled with random shoes, coats, backpacks, and any other item that gets thrown its way” was created by the architect to be a very organized and stylish place. Focusing on maximizing storage regardless of the size, it features cabinets, cubbies, and even lockers.
Lecie wanted a kitchen with combined dining space that could house the whole family. This large space encompasses a large kitchen island without disrupting flow or function. “The layout of the original kitchen was perfect,” Lecie says, “you wouldn’t have wanted to change it.
So, the ‘all white kitchen’ doesn’t lack any character and exudes glamour. Enhanced by an updated stainless-steel range, the color scheme is evidence of Lecie’s commitment to making a neutral palette flow throughout the home’s formal and grand public spaces. The impressive island and quartzite countertop is a natural gathering spot for guests. Just steps away, there’s a butler’s pantry and other utilitarian spaces. Painted brick bring in touches of color and texture. The floor to ceiling cabinets offer plenty of storage space.
The far side of the kitchen houses the dining room table with seating for ten (twelve when the leaf is added). Built-ins and bench seating add additional storage. A bookcase allowed Lecie to display her china collection. The natural lighting from the French doors leading onto the terrace makes the dining area magnetic.
The favorite room of Lecie’s husband, Ben, is the den. With so much natural light, the room can easily handle the wood paneled walls, ceiling, and hardwood floors without feeling too heavy. It is balanced with a “super comfortable” sofa and club chairs that were layered with light, organic neutrals for a calm, natural feeling. A set of French doors lead to the terrace outside and allows for an uninterrupted view of the back yard, whether you’re reading a book or socializing with friends. Multiple lamps add a warm touch, but the rustic, copper hood over the fireplace really stands out.
Battleship gray completely transforms the family room’s bar. “It’s an unexpected little jewel box,” Lecie says. “The grey makes it feel hip and is perfect for entertaining.” Guests can spill over to this space from the den, create the perfect spot for lounging, making this space ideal for entertaining.
There is much to appreciate here. The sitting room offers a mix of mid-century with a smattering of rustic accents. With leather armchairs and a light-colored sofa facing a wood fireplace, the den is simply handsome.
Balancing the Composition on the rear Facade
The potential for this 1940s Georgian Revival was evident before the Israel’s ever purchased the home. In the 1980s, the previous homeowners expanded the rear façade, enclosing what is now the family room and dining area of the kitchen. Before, the home’s exterior seemed too one-dimensional. The addition—which included a two sets of symmetrical French doors and a copper-topped bay window—make a huge difference in this home’s curb appeal.
The French doors leading onto the terrace was a much needed touch, allowing better access to the back yard. “The addition completed by the previous owners, the Q=Peterson’s, was a subtle but important change to the rear exterior,” says Lecie, “such as to help the house nestle into the surrounding trees, all giving the house more architectural definition.”
Overall, the Israel’s love their home, neatly nestled in Pierremont. “It’s the best of all worlds,” Lecie notes. “It just works.”