What Kathy McArthur really wanted was a new sofa, but husband Frank had other ideas. He wanted a new house.
In 1995, they built their house overlooking the golf course in the Country Club of Louisiana.
“I knew it would be a beautiful view,” said Frank McArthur, who had eyed the overgrown hilly property for several years.
“I crawled up here through the bushes. I just had to have this lot,” he said.
The couple interviewed several architects. All but one wanted to level the site.
Ike Capdeville designed the home around the hills, creating a West Indies-style three-story home with one story visible from the front and all three from the golf course at the back.
The middle floor — the ground-level front entrance — contains a foyer, formal dining room, keeping room and kitchen combination, a bedroom wing with the master bedroom and guestroom and a large veranda. The upper floor has two bedrooms and two full baths. The lower floor, which opens to the golf course, is mainly two offices, the garage and a huge storage area.
Even though the kitchen and keeping room are one space, the home is not designed around an open floor plan. “I wanted a traditional house with a separate dining room and living room,” Frank McArthur said. Audubon General Contractors, which built the home, used reclaimed cypress beams, bricks from an old downtown school and heart-of-pine flooring from an old depot in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Because the McArthurs previously lived in a small garden home, they did not have a lot of furniture and were able to appoint the home with furniture, draperies and accessories selected for the project.
Interior designer Jo Emmert helped from the beginning and over the years has continued advising the McArthurs when changes are made.
“Jo is into things being simple,” Kathy McArthur said. “The stuff we have bought has lasted forever.”
Most of the items were selected by vote of the couple with Emmert.
“I always lost,” Frank McArthur said with a laugh. “It was always two to one.”
The front entrance opens to a large foyer, which leads to the dining room on the right and the living room at the back. Capdeville designed the home with windows at the front and back to allow light from the front courtyard to flow through the foyer and living room to the veranda.
Walls throughout the home are painted in strong neutral colors, with the dining room a deep plum with wide green moldings. Rich traditional fabrics are used for the draperies. The master bedroom draperies, done in a colorful toile on cream background, match the wallpaper in the adjoining master bath.
The veranda is a room itself where the McArthurs spend much of their leisure time when the weather permits. Because it is accessible from the living room and the kitchen-keeping room, it is perfect for entertaining.
Frank McArthur’s favorite room is his office, which contains books and collections, including a framed collection of knives started when he was a young boy.
The home is filled with artwork and antiques. Many of the pieces were selected with Emmert’s assistance on a trip to Atlanta.
“I enjoyed building the house,” Frank McArthur said. “I enjoyed the whole process.”