For 33 years, Edith and Claude Kirkpatrick made their home on University Lake. Now another generation, son Kris Kirkpatrick and wife Jane, are calling the 67-year-old house their home.
The couple, with their two sons, enjoyed many Sunday dinners and family celebrations in the home designed by A. Hayes Town. When they decided to buy it after his parents’ deaths, the couple started a renovation that would take a full year.
But when the Kirkpatricks moved in November, they knew they were home.
The view overlooking the lake alone made the project worth it.
“In the morning, we see the LSU rowing team,” said Jane Kirkpatrick. “In the evening, we see the beautiful sunset, and the pelicans are so wonderful.”
Working with architect Russell Washer, interior designer Jo Emmert and contractor Gary Spurlock, the Kirkpatricks retained much of Town’s original design but made some major changes to adapt the home to their lifestyle.
The exterior is vintage Town with its deep front porch, large white columns to the upstairs gallery and a shuttered area at the far right concealing an exterior stairway that leads from the porch to the gallery and then from the gallery to a third floor.
The Kirkpatricks left basically unchanged the large entrance hall, with its curving stairway, as well as the traditional living room on the left and the dining room on the right.
Their biggest challenge was to find a way to connect the kitchen to the family room, which opens from the living room. Between the two rooms was a guest bedroom and bath, which Washer eliminated to create one long family room, breakfast room and kitchen combination. This major change required a serious compromise, losing a full wall of shelves and cabinets behind beautiful cypress doors on the wall between the family room and bedroom, but the Kirkpatricks decided that with only eight-foot ceilings in the old guest room, they needed to go for an open look.
They enlarged the windows in the new breakfast area to open the expanded room to the back courtyard and created a small seating area in what was the home’s original breakfast room to give a view of the lake from the new, updated kitchen. They also added a master suite, closets, a powder room and a laundry room.
Kris Kirkpatrick’s mother, Edith, had a separate cooking space for canning and special cooking projects in an outside room connected to the garage. That, and a second storage-type room have now been completely renovated into a combination study and small guest suite and are incorporated into the rest of the home.
“Russell said this could be an apartment for a caretaker if we ever needed one,” Jane Kirkpatrick said.
Upstairs are three bedrooms and two baths, which the Kirkpatricks originally thought they would leave as is.
“Kris and I were content with baby blue and burgundy bathrooms, but we decided since we were doing the house, we might as well do this, too,” she said.
The home also has a third-floor walk-in attic, in which Jane Kirkpatrick plans to make a library for their five grandchildren.
The Kirkpatricks are in the process of completing a back courtyard designed by landscape architect Wanda Hu, who has planned a natural landscape for the property. They have added a roof and columns to make a brick back porch in what was originally a walkway at the back of the house. The area is enclosed with an entrance through a new brick archway.
The home is filled with stories and memories of years of family events and everyday happenings, and now that the renovation is almost complete, Jane Kirkpatrick says she can’t wait to fill it with friends and activities.
“This house just calls out for people,” she said.