The architectural concept for this home is tied to its location and the history and traditions of place. Between New Orleans and Houston, upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, sits historic Lake Charles, Louisiana. First settled in the late 19th century, the town flourished due to abundant forests of cypress and pine and sawmills that supplied lumber throughout the South and, eventually, the American West. By the 1890s, this prosperity along with the combination of natural and human resources inevitably led to the construction of fine homes, many of which still stand today in a 40-block area known as the Charpentier Historic District. Here, carpenters took on the role of architect and craftsman, showcasing their artistic and technical prowess through elaborate detailing, inside and out, executed with native pine.
This rich heritage provided ample inspiration for the design of Bayou Traditional, a 6,000 s.f. home in an emerging Traditional Neighborhood Development that celebrates the heritage and history of Lake Charles and the Southwest Louisiana region. The clients, lifelong Louisianans, wanted to create an heirloom home, one that they would age in and eventually pass down to future generations. Equally important, they wanted the home’s legacy to be one of stewardship, reflecting upon Lake Charles’ historic character and extending its lineage of vernacular architecture. Honoring traditions established by the region’s early carpenters who juxtaposed formality and simplicity, the design team detailed the interiors by layering an elegant cornice and trim upon horizontal pine boards. The overall design concept incorporates elements of Creole architecture with classical scale and proportion, and native materials with modern building practices, resulting in a traditional raised cottage that commemorates the past while embracing the future.