SIMPLE, CLEAN AND ELEGANT— A MIDCENTURY RELIC GETS A MAJOR RENOVATION.
With its modernist, 50s flair preserved, the home now features flowing living spaces that combine built-ins and scintillating textures with one-of-a-kind personal touches—proving just how timeless a midcentury modern design can be.
BY ADAM BILEY
Shreveport, LA. The midcentury design movement spanned from about 1933 to 1965. The movement not only included architecture, but industrial, interior, and graphic design. Designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, and George Nelson created iconic furniture and lighting that are still highly coveted. The residential architectural style, seen in the work of talents such as Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, and Shreveport’s very own Samuel G. and William B. Wiener, is worldly known for their use of expanses of glass, flat planes, and a strong connection to nature. Needless to say, it has yet to leave the mainstream gaze—and for good reason.
Drive around Shreveport, there’s no shortage of great homes from this golden age of home design. Sadly, manyhave gone unloved and are in need of some TLC, while others have been given tasteless updates over the years. So when Mary Patrick Baucum first saw that a midcentury home was for sale in the Spring Lake neighborhood, she knew it would make a fantastic empty-nest for her and her husband. “I’ve always been drawn to the style’s clean lines, organic forms, minimal ornamentation, and high functionality,” she confesses. “I immediately fell in love with it. Yes, it needed some major renovations, but it still resonated with who I am.”
Originally built in the 1950s, the dwelling had been poorly remodeled over the years, yet had some notable features to preserve—such as a sunken living room, rolling landscape, and a pastoral vista view that overlooked a neighboring lot. Home renovations, however, are rarely simple and the then 2,570-square-foot house was 70 years old. “It needed work—lots and lots of work,” admitted Baucum, who immediately began laying the plans for a complete redesign that would honor the style’s history. “Honestly, it needed a complete gut job. It was so dark. It needed some light.”
To help execute her vision, she collaborated with Shreveport’s Dave Sandifer of Sandifer Building and Design. “The idea was to play to the strengths of the existing architectural design language in order to integrate a material palette and a sense of space. Dave completely understood what I wanted to accomplish. Besides, he was a bit quirky, which I liked.”
When it came to who could best master a complete understanding of the midcentury architectural design, Interior Designer Regina Lynch of Écru Interiors and Design recommended architect Bennet Sabatier of Lafayette’s Sabatier Architecture. “Bennet understood the design intent to make the house more open and uniform from space to space, capitalizing more on the already incredible views, improving the flow of spaces, providing an outdoor living area by ratcheting up the quality level of the home in general,” recalls Baucum.
To begin, the entire structure was stripped back to walls and floors and reimagined as a space that would celebrate and encourage connections between family and friends. In doing so, the existing cramped four-bedroom, three-bathroom home was converted into a more spacious three-bed, two-and-a-half-bath space that can evolve. An addition was added, shifting the carport to accommodate a new dining room, half bath and utility room, bringing the new footprint to 3,798 square foot. The roofline was raised to allow for vaulted ceilings and clerestory windows. “The house needed light. And the only way to get it was to raise the roof.”
The result—a lofty, modern home that riffs on traditional mid-century design and is infused with the Baucum’s eclectic personal style. The renovated split-level dwelling presents an airy, open layout, filled with living areas that provide direct outdoor access. “One of the wonderful aspects of living in a midcentury is how connected you can be with the outside,” Baucum said. “In my case, by adding windows, and light, we were able to utilize the wonderful vista views and all the activities surrounding it, which is available just outside our living and bedroom.”
The interior material palette is intentionally simple, where old effortlessly blends with new. Think natural timber, oak floors, birch cabinets, white walls, and bespoke render finishes—offering a crisp backdrop to the artwork, furniture, and other well placed accessories from the family’s love for the outdoors. Expansive, circa-period windows allow the space to be, as Baucum described, “brilliantly lit by daylight” with built-in details throughout the dwelling. A modern, open-concept kitchen is just steps from the dining and living room areas—proving the perfect places for entertaining.
Each element of the interior has been carefully considered to encourage well-being and offer space for reflection— whether new or old. The bunk room is a tranquil, meditative space allowing for a poetic play of light and shadow. The guest bedroom is also a study in sinuous lines and bespoke details—featuring a sculptural timber desk/shelf and bench that wraps into the wall. A cantilevered deck, alongside the outdoor patio and entry courtyard, encourages one’s love for the outdoors and—like the rest of the home—celebrates the uniqueness and beauty of the setting.
In the end, Baucum’s vision came to life—a fusion of indoors and out, with cozy, yet wide-open spaces that are both pristine yet casual—or, as she describes, “Simple, clean and elegant.”
Step inside to see some of the finer details of what really makes this midcentury home come alive.
PATIO AND DECK.
The renovation called for the addition of a new deck, which would be accessible off the living room (as well as the outdoor patio) However, the original design, according to Baucum “suffered from a lack of appeal as an exterior living space and did not create an interior connection to the outdoors.” Feeling frustrated, she turned to her son, Ammis— an intern architect working in New York City—for design inspiration. After discussing what his mother truly envisioned the space to be, his aim was to create a comfortable and useful exterior space with a light and transparent structure, while keeping the natural debris and elements at bay so the space would be more inviting year-round, inside and out. There was also a strong desire to balance the unique exterior forms of the home.
Using a cantilevered design and minimal structural elements provided a well-ventilated structure that seems to float into the backyard and has just enough visual weight to create a balance. If the goal was to create a feeling of protection and enclosure—less like a deck and more like an exterior room—then the goal was clearly achieved. While minimalist, it perfectly blends into the spirit of the home itself, with materials that are exposed in their useful form.
“It’s clearly my husband’s favorite space,” says Baucum. “He loves to read. Out there, he feels some connection and ownership to the environment.”
Brimming with midcentury-modern design inspiration, the dining room perfectly plays into the home’s contemporary architecture. Buffets and credenzas are heavily associated with mid-century decorating, so it’s no surprise that the buffet was included in the room.
Vintage seating surrounds a minimalist boardroom table, designed by Stow Davis, but is being used as the dining table, which perfectly sits with the chandelier and oak floors.
With high-quality, pared-back pieces like these, even the most hectic dinner party will be enjoyable.
Open air room dividers were a popular architectural element of mid-century interior design. In the living room, Baucum commissioned Patrick McClanahan for the iron railing to help separate the dining from the living room. This space features some mid-century modern exclusives, furniture, wall art, and more.
The fireplace wall was framed out with a plaster/stucco finish (over the existing brick). The elk antler mount perfectly fits the space—the mount, along with the perfectly selected furniture and with built-in details, helps this intimate space provide nooks for fireside moments.
Ideal, all the while functional. The washer and dryer are tucked away, allowing the remainder of the ‘‘galley-like” room to be used for all the practical purposes of a laundry room. Focusing on maximizing storage, the space is very organized, with built-in storage cabinets and plenty of storage space.
As the Baucum’s are animal lovers—three dogs, five cats—a set of Murphy dog beds fit right in with the rest of the cabinetry, then flip down for nap time. Though narrowness doesn’t appear to be a problem in this laundry room, this is a clever solution for a tighter space.
KITCHEN AND LOUNGE
The kitchen received one of the biggest updates in the house—replacing decades old fixtures, cabinets and an archaic layout with bright and modern finishes. By removing a few necessary interior walls, the kitchen and lounge area now sit as the heart of the home, embracing the idea of connection with its sleek and open layout. Imagine it as a single furniture piece that creates distinct zones while maintaining visual openness.
From the central island, the residents are able to interact with guests simultaneously whether in the lounge or outdoor patio. There is immediate access to both the dining and living room. The bedrooms are justdown the hall. “The kitchen is my favorite room, both for its operational ease and connection to the rest of the house,” says Baucum. “Besides, who doesn’t love to cook and entertain?”
The combined area offers a living space that warmly invites any visitor to relax and stay awhile, and has been cleverly designed to make it feel much more spacious than it actually is. The use of clerestory windows easily invites the outdoors inside, flooding the interiors with natural light.
“I knew I wanted a simple and efficient working layout that would be durable. But I also wanted it to be comfortable and inviting, so I could entertain while I cooked.”
Mimicking the cabinetry, hardware and finishes of other rooms throughout out the home, the kitchen offers a minimalist look. “Basically, I wanted the kitchen to look simple and clean on the outside while having everything I need,” recalls Baucum, whose stainless-steel appliances includes a Miele stove and Sub-Zero refrigerator. The furnishingsplay into the home’s contemporary architecture and connection to place. From the backsplash at the wetbar, to the collection of art, everything organically fills the home and adds a rich layer of texture. The space is simple. It is warm and welcoming and authentic to the era of the house.
The exterior of gray paint and entry courtyard allow this Spring Lake home to perfectly blend in to its surroundings. The vibrant olive-green door pays homage to the home’s midcentury design roots. And while the major renovation is complete, there are some ‘smaller projects’ that Baucum that will eventually tackle, mainly with the landscape. “In terms of landscaping, I am thinking minimal and very sustainable. The midcentury modern design philosophy wants to be in harmony with the outside.”
If she sticks to the same vision as the interior—there is no doubt she won’t succeed! Will or won’t?