Tina and Drew Gaudet have had a five-year case of “kitchen fever.”
In that short time, they totally redid the 1960s-vintage kitchen at their Steele Place home and added a modern outdoor kitchen in the backyard.
The Gaudets’ two kitchens are among those in six homes to be spotlighted March 29 on the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s Warm Welcomes Kitchen Tour.
“When we first went into the home, it was like walking back into 1960,” Tina Gaudet said. “The house was the way it was when it was built. It even had the original furniture.”
The renovation of the main kitchen was part of a huge project of moving walls and building columns to create an open plan with the living room, dining room and kitchen all flowing together.
Along with the renovation of the kitchen, the Gaudets created a vaulted ceiling in the foyer, raised the ceiling in most of the house and added a master wing.
They replaced the original floors throughout the home with heart of pine from Tennessee.
“We even had to break up the slab to move the kitchen sink,” said Drew Gaudet, co-owner of Gulf South Land Title Resources, a title abstract company.
Cabinet shelves on the front side of the kitchen are an unusual oblong shape with leaded glass.
The kitchen is separated from the large living area with a raised breakfast bar topped with a hand-cut 19th century cypress floor joist.
“We got it from a guy who had it in a lumber yard,” Drew Gaudet said. “He didn’t want to sell it to someone who would cut it up.”
When it came time to buy new appliances, the Gaudets did their homework.
“We wanted to find the most functional appliances,” Drew Gaudet said. “We didn’t want a suite.”
Their favorite is the Electrolux convection microwave oven. “We hardly use the main oven,” he said.
As part of the redo, the couple built an office off the kitchen for Tina Gaudet, a retired CPA who does some bookkeeping for clients. The doors to her office are from Drew Gaudet’s grandmother’s house in St. James Parish.
“I was hired by a man to tear down the house when I was 19,” Drew Gaudet said. “There were two sets of doors from the 1830s or ’40s.”
Gaudet’s father replaced the glass with mirrors and made the doors into desks. When the Gaudets were doing their renovation, Drew Gaudet located one of the pairs of doors and used it for the entrance to the office.
The backyard was a clean slate when it came to landscaping, which “was all done in stages,” Drew Gaudet said.
First came the brick patio closest to the house. A year later, they added a fountain and pool and the columns and slate floor for the outdoor kitchen, which they built in the third year.
The Gaudets themselves did the outdoor kitchen bar countertop, which is completely covered with pennies embedded in polyurethane. Drawer pulls are wine bottle corks.
The outdoor kitchen has exposed beams, a large brick fireplace, a seating area, a built-in television and modern appliances.
The latest addition to the home is a new custom-made wrought iron gate, which reflects the different heritages of the couple.
“The bottom is done in the Celtic knot because my family is Irish,” Tina Gaudet said. “The top is the fleur-de-lis for Drew because he is French.”