When asked his thoughts about his home, Scott Williams laughed softly and said, “You never know where you’ll end up.” The Carolina native who landed in Mandeville after living in Atlanta was referring to himself, but the statement is equally appropriate for the home he shares with Scott Discon in Old Mandeville. The 1930s bungalow was floated over from the Southshore on a barge more than 40 years ago and has since been lived in, leased, sold, flooded, raised and renovated.
With four dogs and two companies between them, the two Scotts have their hands full on a daily basis. Their respite from the daily grind is this bit of Caribbean life, just a block from the lakefront. During the househunt in 2004, Discon accidentally shined his headlights onto a “For Lease” sign one night after having dinner nearby. A few weeks later, they were living in the house and ready to buy it. Four short months later, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the neighborhood. “That’s when we really felt invested in the house and the area and wanted to see it reach its potential,” he said.
Since then, the house has been raised from the ground, providing a casual, ground-floor entertaining space that leads right out to the pool and gardens. Discon, an enthusiastic gardener and self-proclaimed tree hugger, adores the soil of Mandeville. An attorney in the area, he also currently chairs the Parks and Parkways Commission of Mandeville. He spends almost all his time at home outside, digging and planting in the fertile, sediment-rich dirt. He says anything will grow here, and his lush gardens are living proof that he’s right.
The windows reveal views of tall bamboo and the tops of palm trees, making the whole place feel like a treehouse, a welcomed escape from the everyday. What began as a 900-square-foot bungalow somewhere in Gentilly has evolved into a 2,800-square-foot, multi-story home that almost everyone who enters finds hard to leave.
The sidehall, camelback-style house features Caribbean heart pine floors that have been stained a cool grey tone. The laid-back vibe envelops everyone who walks into the building, sits on the porch or swims in the pool. Light colors and bits of natural material bounce through each room easily, lightheartedly, as comfortably as the homeowners move through the space.
Williams, who runs The Scotts’ Coffee Bar at the Southern Hotel, loves to cook, and his professional-grade kitchen is the place where he spends the most time. It is a natural fit to curl up near the kitchen of this house, with lots of cozy seating and a fireplace.
The most recent renovation took out some of the original doorways, replacing them with taller, glass-paned French doors. Adding the ceiling-level height to the doors gave an modern touch to the whole space, and the glass gives a breezy, open feeling, even when they’re closed.
“We always talked about being able to see from the front door through to the back,” Discon said. Both men credit their dear friend Marianne Lipscomb, with whom they spent hours daydreaming about the future design of the house. Giving life to her designs in the more recent phase of work on the house has been a lovely remembrance to the designer who passed away in 2015. “She suggested the wall of shiplap long before it was in style to do that,” he said.
The casement windows are almost always partially open, giving even more of a Caribbean vibe to the entire home as breezes blow through from the lake. Lots of easy going shades of white take on softer tones in the evening light, inviting anyone who visits to stay for an extra drink. Don’t be alarmed if a neighborhood frog hops in, too. In this neck of the woods, all are welcome to land here and stay a while.