Tradition Reimagined: Bringing the Past Into the Present

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AFTER EIGHTEEN YEARS on beautiful Bayou Liberty, the Caplinger family was ready to move closer to their schools, their friends, and the Causeway. “For years, we drove the kids over to school in Mandeville every day. We searched for almost seven years for the right place to be,” says Rebel. “We loved our house so much and wished we could pick it up and move it to a new location. Instead, we landed here.”

They ended up purchasing the home of longtime good friends; a house they were already familiar with, in a location they already knew would be wonderful, and since moving in earlier this year they have loved living here.

“We walked in the first day with an architect, the same one who handled the renovation 30 years ago, already knowing we’d need to make some changes,” she says, “and it’s even better than we imagined.” An addition along the back of the house allowed them to completely relocate and reimagine the kitchen, creating one large open room with a new view of the lake from the back of the house, something that wasn’t possible in the original footprint. A new side entry, complete with more porch space, makes the outdoor living area more accessible on a daily basis.

With a classic center-hall cottage floor plan, the front of the house retains its historical charm and ultra-southern feel, while being updated with a modern color palette that provides a perfect backdrop for the Caplinger’s ever-growing art collection. Brightly colored pieces from some of Louisiana’s legendary artists punctuate the house, from entry hall to dining room and everywhere in between. The 12 foot ceilings that provided a comfortable year-round temperature for the past century now provide both height and light to the house, with extra-tall interior doors leading from room to room. The new addition is consistent with the traditional feeling of the front part of the home, with large-scale windows wrapping around the new dining area and kitchen. The natural-stained woodwork throughout the house had begun to yellow, feeling heavier than they wanted, and so they made the much-debated decision to paint it. “As soon as it was painted, the whole thing changed.” The contemporary tone-on-tone look complements the simple styling of the rooms, which have a decidedly Louisiana style inspired by the homes of architect A. Hays Town.

The house has always been raised, and through its 150-year existence on the lakefront, it has never flooded. The pale yellow color on the exterior is a perfect fit, and putting light-colored shutters all around the house gave the whole thing a fresh new facelift. The formal library boasts the best view of the lake, and the game room, which the family uses constantly, is just across the hallway. Everyone from teens to adults gathers here to play pool and just be together. The family’s lifestyle is casual and friendly, hosting family gatherings frequently and having friends over just as much. With their oldest in college and two children still living at home, the open door policy will continue for a few more years, something the Caplingers look forward to.

The small private lakefront beach is a perfect gathering spot for neighbors to end their days. “Almost every day my youngest daughter runs to take a photo of the sunset from the front yard. It’s so special.”



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