When Marianna Barber and her late husband, Aubrey “Buck” Barber, purchased their home designed by architect A. Hayes Town, they thought they wanted a smaller home on the quiet street off Perkins Road.
“It just didn’t work out that way,” says decorator Patrick Tandy.
The Barbers ended up removing an old swimming pool, planting 108 trees, enlarging the kitchen, building a workshop and garage and adding a complete wing to the house.
Working with New Orleans architect William Sonner, landscape designer Michael Hopping and Tandy, the Barbers created a home that is both comfortable and beautiful yet with the same the design and style of the original Hayes Town home.
“I gave Patrick the key, and they just did it,” Barber says.
The original part is Town’s design of a long foyer with a curved stairway, large living room on the left, dining room on the right and den at the back, with the bedrooms upstairs.
Sonner designed the additions to look as if they were part of the home when it was built in the mid 1970s.
“Architecturally, the home looks exactly as it was,” Tandy says. “It was a seamless addition.”
The living and dining rooms are decorated in a traditional style with a few modern touches like a high-gloss ceiling to give the living room more light.
“We did manage to get some modern things in, like a Lisa diStefano landscape and Kay Cason’s lamps,” Tandy says.
The den — quintessential Town — has cypress paneling, a wall of cypress cabinets and a ceiling of antique beams. Like every room in the house, the den has a view to the outside.
Sonner opened up one window on the west side of the den to create the entrance to the addition, which includes the master bedroom, a second powder room, two bathrooms, a study and a laundry room, a complement to a much larger laundry room upstairs.
Barber is an expert gardener who spends a great deal of time in her beautifully landscaped yard. The side and back property lines are planted with a variety of trees to create a backdrop for the other landscaping.
“I like to have a lot of evergreen,” she says. “We had lived on 500 acres. I wanted that feel here.”
The very large backyard is divided into sections, with the area closest to the house separated by a wrought iron fence. Inside is a French partere of manicured boxwood done in the 18th-century style with two symmetrical sections. To the left is another fenced section with blooming plants and shrubbery.
Throughout these sections of the garden are some 45 David Austin roses, which, when they are in bloom, perfume the entire yard.
On the driveway side of the property is Buck Barber’s complete outdoor kitchen, a huge shop and a garage where he kept his collection of cars.
“Mr. Barber wanted an outdoor kitchen where he could fry his fish,” Tandy says.
Buck Barber was a great sportsman who enjoyed his home with the vegetable garden he planted within a picket fence toward the back of the property. He stored his small garden tools at the entrance to the garden in the mailbox from their Zachary home.
The Barbers adapted their Baton Rouge home to their lifestyle and Marianna Barber treasures their years together there. “I fished with him,” she says, “and he dug in the dirt with me.”