Lake Vista Home Combines Old World Style With Design Perfect For Entertaining Today And Aging Tomorrow | Entertainment / Life
Gia Blanchard offers a thoughtfully narrated tour of the French-inspired house she and her husband, Charles, built in 2017 when she stops to show a pair of framed illustrations of Angelina, the Parisian pastry shop where Coco Chanel was a regular.
“I love Chanel,” says the Francophile and designer, who took care of preparing the house for the Brother Martin High School Vacation Home Tour, which takes place on December 4. It includes six houses on the same Lake Vista street.
Having previously renovated and built, the Blanchards knew what they wanted and paid particular attention to the features that presided over the design of this 6,000 square foot residence, located right next to their old home. Aesthetically, they envisioned French architecture with wrought iron, timeless marble, Old World decorative details, and sparkling chandeliers that would complement the antiques they have collected.
Equally important was how the house worked.
“We wanted a house we could entertain ourselves in, with an open floor plan,” said Charles Blanchard. “Expanding the backyard as additional living space was important to us; the addition of covered areas for cooking, serving drinks, an outdoor bathroom for the pool and watching games at the outdoor bar was also essential.
“The large NanaWall doors allow us to connect the interior space with the exterior to get in and out for larger parties and gatherings,” he said.
The Blanchards wanted a main suite on the ground floor, but since the layout of the house did not allow it, they instead invested in an elevator. A generator for the whole house was essential because of the hurricanes.
The Blanchards worked with architect Mark Shroeder, who turned their sketches into plans. Charles Blanchard, owner of a software company, used 3D computer design to create a virtual tour model.
The couple oversaw the project every step of the way. In fact, they say the original sleek master bathroom design turned out to be too crowded once it was framed, so they ripped it off and started over with a more open plan for what is. now a magnificent oasis of marble and glass.
From the front door, the view extends from the foyer, furnished with French antiques, to the windows overlooking the pristine swimming pool.
To the right of the front door, a Queen-themed bedroom honors their daughter’s 2015 reign as Queen of Endymion; to the left is a desk with built-in shelves that Gia Blanchard designed and painted in a rich French blue.
A large open space containing the living room, dining room and kitchen occupies the linear footprint at the rear of the first floor.
Gia Blanchard’s love for reworking and reusing furniture is a highlight of the decor. She transformed a limed breakfast buffet the couple had since their wedding into a vanity for the powder room, gave a pair of French mahogany cabinets inlaid with sharper lines and painted finishes for the living room, and simplified a very detailed French Renaissance library. to use as a china cabinet, now built into a niche near the dining table.
Among the many pieces she has reinvented, the dresser, which now has flat, fluted panels in place of sculpted spiral spindles and an interior illuminated in light blue, is Charles Blanchard’s favorite.
Other custom touches include a second kitchen island designed to look like a cabinet and used as a sideboard; a bar paneled with an old front door of The Bank Architectural Antiques in New Orleans; and an iron fire from a castle in France which is mounted on the stove. An unusual post post at the base of the staircase was created when Gia Blanchard turned a fireplace mantel raven leg upside down. To keep the kitchen uncluttered, a pantry with a coffee bar and a small chilled wine cellar are tucked behind a wall.
Outside, the patio adorned with travertine includes a fully equipped commercial kitchen and a bathroom with a swimming pool on one side, a pizza oven on the other. The pool area is equipped with a hot tub and cocktail bench and topped with bright blue and gold glass tiles. Shades of blue, Gia Blanchard’s favorite color, ranging from pale aqua to bold peacock, run through the design of the house. The pool table has been refelted in a shake of electric blue.
The Blanchards took the aging-in-place needs of Gia’s parents and themselves into account when designing the house’s many amenities. The generous elevator is finished with classic crown moldings to look as polished as the rest of the house, and a full-sized third floor has an en-suite bathroom.
The second floor houses two guest bedrooms, including one specially designed for the 5-year-old couple’s granddaughter. But the main draw on the second level is the master suite and its glamorous spa-like bathroom. French doors open onto its polished Carrera floors, wet room with double shower and tub, crystal chandelier and his and hers vanities topped with Venetian mirrors. A waterfall-inspired vertical tiled stripe accentuates the interior of the damp room, and a pink velvet ottoman offers a feminine perch in the front and center.
Gia Blanchard found the ottoman, originally a movie set, at Renaissance Interiors in Metairie, her favorite local consignment store, and gave it a makeover with acrylic legs and fresh upholstery. The closet, also visible from the bedroom, houses a built-in island and antique cabinets for its meticulously organized contents.
As on the first floor, the furniture is a mixture of antiques, modern pieces and unusual finds from various sources. One bedroom has a royal patterned Fortuny headboard from the Ritz Carlton; the master bedroom both houses a vintage dresser, which Gia resurrected from a dumpster and revived with chalk paint.
“I’m a sentimental person and I love the stories that each piece tells, whether it’s a family heirloom, an antique we bought or new pieces,” said Gia Blanchard, who has also worked to make the most of the square footage of the house. “When we were designing our floor plan, I knew I wanted to incorporate existing pieces that we already had. “
The Blanchards describe their neighborhood as an extended family and, having lived in their home for several years now, say it satisfies their list of preferences for comfort, convenience and design beyond their expectations.
While sipping a coffee on an autumn morning, Gia Blanchard concludes the preview.
“It’s so much more than I ever dreamed of,” she said. “We use every square inch of this house. “
Brother Martin Vacation Home Tour
What: Six houses, all on Flamingo Street in Lake Vista
When: Dec. 4, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Patronal feast from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Tickets: $ 30 in advance, $ 35 at the door; patronal feast $ 65 and $ 70.
Profits are donated to the Ladies of the Shield Foundation, which serves the most important needs of Brother Martin High School.
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