Marshall and Tim Gunn knew what they wanted, and more importantly, what they didn’t want when they built their home off Highland Road south of LSU a decade ago.
“My last house had the master bedroom off the kitchen. Those were the only rooms we used,” said Marshall Gunn, a retired anesthesiologist. “We wanted to make it so we would use the whole house.”
So architect Cindy Stewart’s first question to the couple was: “How do you want to live?”
“When people talk about wanting to downsize after the kids are gone, they are surprised at how much space they end up wanting,” Stewart said. “They want a master bedroom suite, spaces for entertaining and offices or hobby spaces. What they really want is something flexible and multi-functional.”
Stewart designed the Gunns’ home to be low-maintenance and completely adaptable to their lifestyle.
One of her biggest challenges was situating the house on the pie-shaped lot. Another challenge was creating a modern house that would fit in with an older neighborhood.
The house is set to the back of the property with landscape designed by Ryan McKnight and Lorrie Henslee.
Three sets of French doors with transoms lead to a loggia, which serves as the foyer and opens through arches to the large living room with Brazilian walnut floors and a massive plaster fireplace.
To the right are the dining room, which overlooks the back patio, and the kitchen, which faces the front.
“I wanted a round dining room table, which has to go in a square room,” Marshall Gunn said. “We wanted a room we would use, so we don’t have a kitchen table.”
She says she keeps up with the neighborhood from her kitchen view to the street.
“The kitchen is our gathering spot,” she said. “We cook every day.”
Interior designer Jo Emmert found two pairs of wooden doors and created folding panels that can be closed when the Gunns want to close off the kitchen.
“I told Cindy I didn’t want the kitchen to look like a kitchen,” Marshall Gunn said. “I wanted it more furniture-style than utilitarian.”
A second loggia from the kitchen leads to a wing with three bedrooms, including one adapted as a TV room. Also facing the street is Marshall Gunn’s office.
“I can sit in my office and look out to the neighborhood,” she said.
To the left of the living room is the master suite that overlooks the back patio.
Three sets of French doors identical to those on the front of the house lead to the patio, pool and pavilion. The front and back doors are in perfect alignment so light can shine all the way through the house from the front yard to the pool area.
All of the windows and exterior doors are aluminum clad so they will never need maintenance.
“That was huge, but a good thing to do,” said Tim Gunn, who worked for Dow Chemical. “It was the largest ticket item in the house.”
“My houses typically have a large window and door budget,” Stewart said. “I like light.”
Emmert selected about six different neutral wall colors from the same color family for the interior. The home is populated with a mixture of antique pieces with modern, comfortable seating and art collected over years.
The Gunns live in every room of the house, which is all on one floor.
“The home was designed to use the space more efficiently,” Tim Gunn said.