One step into Drs. Judie and Kirk Patrick's yard and it's obvious that gardeners live here.
The landscaping of the entire property frames the French Mediterranean-style home the two retired physicians purchased in 1997.
The front yard, shielded from the street by trees and hedges, is in full bloom with old-fashioned Perle d'Or (pearl of gold) roses and late-blooming azaleas. The driveway is lined with crape myrtles to the right of a side garden of roses and hibiscus as well as a kitchen garden filled with herbs.
At the back of the home is a centuries-old live oak, its branches extending the full length of the property. It is surrounded by a thriving bed of monkey grass with tropical plants to the back, lush ferns around the base of the tree and ligularia delineating the bed.
"René Fransen, a noted landscape designer from New Orleans, did the front and side courtyard," Judie Patrick said. "The back around the tree just happened over the years."
The exterior of the home, a combination of stucco and painted brick, is painted in a most unique way.
"We used a water-based dark gold and diluted it and splashed it on the walls and then used a terracotta and did the same," Judie Patrick said. "We were trying to make it look like the stucco had been tinted. Some areas are more pink. Some are more gold."
The home, just off Old Hammond Highway, was only 2 years old when the Patricks bought it and began a six-month renovation. It was designed by architect Al Jones and built by Larry Normand.
"All of the woodwork was white with gray walls," Judie Patrick said. "I like warmer colors."
The Patricks redid the kitchen, doubled the size of the library and added a dressing room, bath and exercise room to the master suite. Working with interior designer Bruce Foreman, they painted the main rooms in the downstairs area a light khaki green with different tones in each room.
"The dining room is darker," Judie Patrick said. "The living room is lighter."
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And the garden theme continues throughout the home, where they used botanic wallpapers in complementing colors along with botanic paintings collected by Judie Patrick of her favorite plants.
Three sets of arched French doors at the front open to a wide entrance hall, where Donna Roppolo painted the walls with special techniques. The hall leads to the living room with a marble mantel, handcrafted by Lynn Swartley, which features gingers and angel trumpets, plants Judie Patrick loves to grow. A small bar off the room has two stained glass windows from the old Victorian home in Dayton, Ohio, where Judie Patrick grew up.
"My father practiced medicine downstairs, and we lived upstairs," she said. "When he retired, he took those windows out. They have been in two of my houses."
To the left of the hall is one of the Patricks' favorite rooms, an English-style library with dark woodwork, a coffered ceiling and shelves of fiction, nonfiction and gardening books. The home also has a "man cave" study for Kirk Patrick and a second story with three bedrooms and two baths.
The kitchen is painted in the same interior color with complementing wallpaper and a full wall of storage. The family room, with its wall of bookcases filled with cookbooks and books on wine, and an adjoining wine cellar were added some years after the Patricks moved to the home.
Five or six years ago, the Patricks expanded the dining room and added gold leaf trim to the ceiling.
"The dining room used to be rectangular, but we bumped it out so we could use a round table," Judie Patrick said.
The Patricks met in New Orleans when Judie was in medical school at Tulane University and Kirk was doing work at Charity Hospital. In 1970, they moved to Baton Rouge, where Kirk Patrick practiced ophthalmology and Judie Patrick, a dermatologist, was the first female doctor at the Baton Rouge Clinic. Both, now retired, have time to enjoy their home and garden.
"I have kept a garden diary for 20 years," Judie Patrick said. "I record when I plant anything or when I lose anything."