Robbie Rubin can always tell when it’s friends coming to visit. They use her kitchen door.
“The front door is a waste,” Rubin said. “The only time we ever use it is for parties.”
The home Rubin and her husband, David, built in Walden 30 years ago is a casual contemporary home filled with photos, books, art and decorative items they collected over years.
“Every piece has a story,” she said. “Some of our pieces were wedding gifts. Some things we collected. Some things we inherited. Some things we bought on our travels.”
The Rubins planned their home for several years before they hired architect Mark Withrow, who taught at LSU at the time.
“David and I basically knew what we wanted,” Robbie Rubin said. “We wanted a contemporary home, but not a cold home. We wanted an open space, a lot of light and something comfortable to raise our children in, but with a nice flow for entertaining.”
David Rubin suggested many of the special touches.
“We all say that David is a frustrated architect,” Robbie Rubin said with a smile. “He had the vision.”
The seldom-used front door leads to a wide foyer with a sealed brick floor. On the right is the dining room filled with traditional furniture that belonged to Robbie Rubin’s maternal grandmother.
“I would love to sell it and get something more contemporary,” Rubin confessed.
A large stand-up desk belonged to David Rubin’s father, the late U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Alvin Rubin. David and Robbie Rubin now use it for wine storage.
To the left of the foyer is the living room with a full wall of windows that give a panoramic view of Walden’s lake and its massive cypress trees. The other walls are filled with artwork collected over decades.
“I love the living room,” Robbie Rubin said. “It’s kind of a sanctuary. I even have my napping corner.”
The living room opens to the den, which spotlights family photographs from many generations. The focal point is a wood and metal stairway that makes a right angle to an upstairs landing.
“Upstairs are three bedrooms, a laundry room and Switzerland,” Robbie Rubin said with a smile. Switzerland was the Rubin children’s playroom.
“We call it Switzerland because it’s neutral (no fighting),” she said. “When David was growing up, they had a Switzerland. It’s something from David’s childhood.”
The master bedroom is downstairs. It got a major redo after Robbie Rubin accidentally left a faucet running in the laundry room upstairs.
The Rubins abandoned their platform bed and had their bed and other storage built in.
The kitchen is Robbie Rubin’s domain. “We updated about five years ago,” she said. “It grew up.”
The original kitchen was white with blue ceramic tile and backsplash.
With assistance from interior designer Lauren Bombet, the Rubins got all-new appliances, changed to soapstone countertops and repositioned the counters to give Robbie Rubin an extra-long area for baking, one of her major pleasures.
“I also had a cutting board made out of Plexiglas for baking,” she said.
Wood artist Ford Thomas made the Rubins’ kitchen table and bench and also built storage drawers for what was originally a small closet under the stairway. Family friend Dr. Harold Brandt, a local internist and woodworking hobbyist, made a bright green cover for the cooktop.
“When we entertain, I can either serve from it or use it as a prep station,” Robbie Rubin said.
The home has some special features like pocket doors downstairs, old heart of pine floors selected board by board by David Rubin, a vaulted wood ceiling over the kitchen and upstairs landing, and galleries and porches surrounding much of the house.
“We use the back porches and the front and side galleries when we entertain,” Robbie Rubin said. “The back porch is bilevel. We occasionally eat out there, but when the children were young, we fished out there.”