Satsuma — The opulence of the Pennington estate, once sprawled across 12.5 acres of land and 36,689 square feet of floor space, now sits condensed into a Livingston Parish auction hall, where items will go up for bid Saturday morning.
When it sold for $6 million earlier this year, real estate agents said the Highland Road property represented the most expensive single-family home sale in Baton Rouge history. About 250 items from the mansion will go on the block this weekend, said auctioneer Tony Achord, owner of Southern Heirs Auction Co. Most are furniture pieces, though there are also Persian rugs and a few other home decor items.
Achord and floor manager David Bowman described the family’s taste as varied. The furniture was generally custom-built, and Achord said it was difficult to estimate how much each piece would command at auction, since they are mostly one-of-a-kind. When they were commissioned, though, the auctioneer said a single dresser or rug could have cost upward of $20,000 to $25,000.
The family clearly favored elaborate styles, with tables and bookcases featuring dramatic columns, sweeping curves and intricate carvings. Achord explained that while many of the pieces were commissioned in the early 1980s, the family, their decorator and craftsmen looked to the fashions of the 18th and 19th centuries for inspiration.
Bowman’s favorite item from the Pennington estate is a burl walnut writing desk made in France with a leather-inlay writing surface, walnut and ebony marquetry and floral carvings.
“I don’t know of a craftsman in the United States — and I know quite a few — who could make this,” he said.
Brands represented in the estate include Scalamandré, Sterling Ashmore and Althorp by Theodore Alexander, Achord said.
The property, at 11001 Highland Road, was purchased by Drs. Andre and Jessica Bruni, the founders of Bluebonnet Dental Care, from Paula Pennington de la Bretonne and her husband, Dr. Jacques de la Bretonne.
In addition to the Pennington estate, the auction will feature items from the Larose estate, of New Orleans, which includes more furniture, as well as jewelry, art and firearms.
A preview will be held between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday and starting again at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Suma Hall Community Center at 28975 S. Satsuma Road, where the auction will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.
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