Susan and Emile Rolfs simplified their lives when they added 1,700 square feet to the 3,000-square-foot-home they have lived in for 36 years.
“We added rooms we use,” Susan Rolfs said. “We live in the 1,700 square feet.”
Having all of the bedrooms upstairs worked fine when their three daughters were growing up.
But the stairs had become especially difficult for Emile Rolfs, who had polio as a child.
“I was able to go up and down the stairs on my crutches two steps at a time when I was younger,” he said. “But as I got older, I couldn’t do that. Susan said it was either a new house or adding on to this one.”
For several years, the Rolfses looked at houses, but, “Nothing we liked approached this location,” Emile Rolfs said, of the couple’s Hundred Oaks area.
They contacted architect Billie Ann Brian and decorator Patrick Tandy.
“We had a big conversation,” Susan Rolfs said. “They thought the house could be added on seamlessly without affecting its symmetry.”
One of the main goals was to change the flow of the original floor plan, which had an entrance hall parallel to the front of the house, with the living room on the right and the dining room and a small den on the left. The only route from the living room to the dining room was through the entrance hall.
With the new plan, the French doors at the back of the living room and den were removed and a large den added opening to both rooms.
The Rolfses expanded and completely renovated the kitchen, which opens to the old den, now a sitting room, and built a pool and patio across the back of the house.
The resulting flow circles from the entrance hall to the living room to the new den and patio to the sitting room and kitchen and then to the dining room, perfect for entertaining. Off the new den, the Rolfses added a wing, which includes the master bedroom, a large bathroom, two large closets, a utility room and a butler’s pantry.
One of their biggest decisions was whether to build a swimming pool.
“It was either build it then or never,” said Susan Rolfs, who is certain they made the right decision.
“The grandchildren love it. It is wonderful for exercise,” she said. “In the summertime, we drink our coffee in the pool.”
The entire back of the home is French doors, which open to the pool and patio.
“The doors are always open,” Susan Rolfs said. “We use them.”
The home is decorated in neutral colors with elegant draperies.
“Susan wanted it light and airy,” Emile Rolfs said. “She wanted to bring the outdoors in.”
Except for a new bed, which was handmade in New Orleans, Susan Rolfs did not buy any furniture for the home.
“All of it was ours or things that I got from my mother,” she said.
The new project took almost 18 months to finish, but it was not as disruptive as it could have been, Susan Rolfs said. “Ninety percent of the work was done outside. We did the kitchen last.”
The family lives in the original downstairs and the new addition. The children and grandchildren stay in the upstairs bedrooms when they visit.
“I haven’t been upstairs since we finished the project in 2008 or 2009,” Emile Rolfs said.
After the renovation was complete, the couple had a visit from Sheldon Blue, the Lafayette architect who designed the home for Dr. Hank and Helen Olivier in the mid-1960s.
“He wrote Billie Ann a note and told her he couldn’t have done it better himself,” Susan Rolfs said.