When Don and Harriet Ayres purchased a lot in Lasalle Parc, a little lagniappe was included.
Along with the property in the one-street neighborhood came the preliminary house plans the original owners had developed.
And, luckily, the couple liked what they saw.
"I fell in love with houses we saw in South Carolina that you enter through a courtyard," said Harriet Ayres. "The plans we bought had an entrance through a courtyard."
The Ayreses contacted builder Logan Killen, who already had done one house for them. He modified the plans to provide separation between the living room and kitchen and to create a larger dining room.
But it's the courtyard with its lap pool, bricked beds and two seating areas that greets guests who come to the front door.
The couple treats the space as another room, especially when they entertain. Don Ayres has two large barbecue grills, which are frequently in use.
"When the weather is comfortable, we sit out there and watch ballgames," Harriet Ayres said.
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The large seating area has a dining table made by Don Ayres, who enjoys woodworking. The copper tabletop is affixed with copper nails.
"We saw a picture of the table in Southern Living, and Don made it," Harriet Ayres said.
French doors from the courtyard open to the living and dining rooms, which are painted a deep khaki green with cream trim. The kitchen, which is open to the dining room through a large arch, has cream-colored cabinets, a tone of the khaki green walls and new stainless steel appliances. Throughout the public areas of the home are Caribbean pine floors and 12-foot ceilings.
"The ceilings make the home feel larger than it actually is," Harriet Ayres said.
Interior designer Gary Fell helped Harriet Ayres with colors, fabrics and accessories. When it came to comfortable seating for the living room, a compromise with the decorator was in order.
"Don said 'I am having a recliner chair no matter what Gary says,' ” Harriet Ayres said with a laugh. "Gary said if we have one, we have to have two for balance."
The iron-and-glass coffee table was made by Frank Land for the breakfast room table in an earlier home. Crafted from a bank teller's window — a perfect choice for Don Ayres, now retired from a career in banking — Land shortened the legs so it could be used in the living room.
Built-in bookcases in the living room are filled with accessories collected over time, including a number of blue and white pieces. Two sofas — one a deep navy tapestry with gold and bittersweet accents and the other a solid red — face each other to create plenty of seating.
The main entrance from the courtyard is to the dining room, which is centered with a circular table with upholstered chairs.
"This is my favorite fabric in the house," Harriet Ayres said of the traditional print with cream background and colorful flowers.
A narrow hall at the back of the open area leads to two bedrooms and the stairway to the second floor, which also has two bedrooms, a full bath and a sitting room. The Ayres' daughter, Leslie, and her husband, Edward Daniel, live in St. Francisville with their three children, Edward, Clayton and Alex.
"Mr. Alex, who is 3½, stays with us a lot," Harriet Ayres said. "We have a trundle bed for him in the guest bedroom downstairs."
Their son, Chad, and his wife, Ashley, and their three children, Anna Katherine, Caroline and Charles, live in Huntsville, Alabama.
"We like having that second bedroom downstairs in case we need special help in the future," Harriet Ayres said. "We plan to stay here until our children tell us it's time to move to the next spot."