Louann and Ronnie Bombet are certain of one thing — a formal house is not for them.
Their idea of home is a welcoming place for four grown daughters, their husbands, three young grandchildren and an assortment of family dogs.
“Our house is about children and dogs,” Louann Bombet said.
Their large family room is where everyone gathers on the comfortable, extra-long couches, before a fireplace surrounded by bookcases filled with family memories.
“We didn’t want a formal living room,” Louann Bombet said. “Ours is more of a den.”
In a corner by the fireplace is a family treasure — a wooden stand filled with old-fashioned kindergarten blocks from the waiting room of Ronnie Bombet’s father and uncle, Drs. Charles and Leon Bombet, both now deceased. The two brothers practiced pediatrics in Baton Rouge for decades. Ronnie Bombet joined the practice when he finished his medical training.
One of Louann Bombet’s favorite pieces is a deceptively small antique table that belonged to Ronnie Bombet’s mother, the late Julia Bombet. By turning the top and pulling out leaves, the table expands to easily seat 10 people.
The living room opens to the dining room, the most formal room in the house, with a hexagonal glass table, a corner cabinet, a sideboard, a traditional breakfront and, of course, a little table and chairs for the grandchildren.
The Bombets bought their Woodgate home in 1986, when the subdivision was first being built.
“There were seven or eight families living here when we bought the house,” Louann Bombet said. “They have all left, so that probably makes us the family living here the longest.”
One of the things that sold the Bombets on the house was the hallway of old New Orleans brick that runs almost the entire length of the house. It leads to the kitchen, which is floored in the same old brick.
Ronnie Bombet’s daughter, Lauren Bombet, an interior designer, helped Louann Bombet update the kitchen with new countertops and appliances.
Recently, she assisted the couple in a major redo of the master bedroom wing of the house.
“We took a big study with a fireplace we weren’t using and made a small office,” Louann Bombet said.
They used the extra space to enlarge and update the master bath, closed in a wall in the master bedroom that opened to the study and moved the bathroom wall to create more functional space in the bedroom.
They also converted two closets into one large closet/dressing room and, with assistance from Martin Goux, of Wolfe & Goux Construction, built out the closet space so that each now has shelves, hanging space and drawers. They also updated the lighting and added a place to sit in the middle of the closet.
“It is such a more efficient use of space,” Louann Bombet said.
In the mid 1990s, the Bombets redid the backyard to add a pool and partially covered patio so their children would have a place to entertain their friends.
“It worked,” Louann Bombet said. “They are still coming. Our family is over a lot.”
Ronnie Bombet, who has administered to his share of childhood accidents, wouldn’t allow a diving board or slide, and, when the first grandchildren were born, had the pool completely enclosed with a guard fence, which can be removed when adults are watching.