Beauty on the Bayou

A Louisiana couple enlists an A-team of Atlantans to design and build their forever home

When a Louisiana couple was ready to downsize and plant new roots along Lake Charles’ charmingly named Contraband Bayou, they called in some outside help—specifically, Atlanta-based design pros.

Drawn to the work of Historical Concepts—an architecture and planning firm headquartered in Atlanta and well versed in the architectural heritage of the Deep South—the couple sought out principal Terry Pylant to give life to their new beginning. “They had this incredible home designed by A. Hays Town in the 70s, but it was quite formal and didn’t fit their needs anymore,” says Pylant. “Their children now have children so they wanted something where they could entertain in a more relaxed fashion.”

He and his team presented them with an impressive Creole-style home that blends tradition and comfort and is punctuated with details informed by the region’s vernacular. Exposed rafter tails on the home’s exterior offer a classic touch, as does the expansive open porch running the length of the back of the home. Inside, high ceilings allow natural light to flood the rooms while dissipating heat and allowing for airflow.

Pylant’s commitment to ensuring authenticity included a two-day tour of nearby towns in the project’s early stages. “We took a ‘precedent tour’ to further study the vernacular and document every detail, from railings and posts to sleeping porches,” he recalls.Thus, careful consideration was given to the home’s building materials, particularly the brick and mortar, which is traditional to the area. Landscape architect Don Hooten—another Atlanta-based talent and frequent collaborator with Historical Concepts—incorporated it into the front hardscape, which became an important feature as the home’s arrangement of buildings (a two-story garage and dovecote flank the central home) called for an auto court in lieu of a traditional leafy front yard.

Completing the final piece of the design puzzle was Carter Kay Interiors, also based in Atlanta. While Pylant describes it as “a little bit serendipitous that everyone working on the project was from Atlanta,” he also notes that, “there’s no better place to draw talent from.”

“We joked that if they had hired someone in Louisiana, they’d still have to go to Atlanta to buy it all,” adds interior designer Carter Kay. “Our city has established itself as such an important design hub where we’ve got everything at our fingertips.”

 Kay, along with designer Nancy Hooff, introduced the homeowners to pieces from Atlanta showrooms and artisans that could be incorporated alongside treasured heirlooms and antiques. The effect is comfortable, inviting and simplified—perfect for the next stage of their lives. With neutral wood planking as their backdrop, the duo layered rich textures in an earthy color palette inspired by the home’s scenic natural surroundings.

“Much of the home is about taking advantage of the views,” says Hooten. As he continues to shape the landscape (future plans include a lap pool, grill area and side yards), the land’s magic is not lost on him. “There’s something about the sound of the lapping waves and smell of the salty waters,” he says. “It’s an idyllic spot to call home.


ARCHITECT Terry Pylant, Historical Concepts, (678) 325-6665; LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Don Hooten, Hooten Land Design, Inc., 404-373-9816; INTERIOR DESIGN INTERIOR DESIGN Carter Kay Interiors, (404) 261-8119;