Edwin Pigeon was just 14 when his parents, Kara and Troy, took him along to hunt for a new house. But he knew right away that the house on Butternut Avenue was the one.
“Who wouldn’t want to live in a castle?” he said.
Built in 1987, the spacious family home in the North Bridgedale area of Metairie does indeed bear a striking resemblance to castle, given its stone-clad turret.
“That’s how it was known,” confirmed Troy. “Everyone called it the ‘The Castle House.’”
Now the Pigeon family (including 14-year-old Vivianne) will welcome people into their renovated home, one of four on the Brother Martin Holiday Home Tour, slated for Dec. 5. Additional homes on the tour are on Butternut and Church streets nearby, as is the Green Acres Country Club on West Napoleon Avenue, which will serve as tour headquarters.
The “castle house” had been on the market for four years when the Pigeons purchased it in 2012. It had the roominess that Kara and Troy found attractive, plus a pool and a big lawn in the back yard where their children — both athletes — could practice their sports. But buying it was not a slam dunk as far as Kara was concerned because of its poor condition.
“She told me I was crazy,” Troy said. “But I knew what we could do with it and that it could make the kind of house that the kids would bring their friends to.”
Faux timbering on the façade had rotted and had to be removed. New stucco was applied to the exterior and every window replaced.
“There are 36 of them,” said Kara, “so it was quite an undertaking.”
Inside, pink carpet in the formal dining room and on the stairs was removed and the abundant rich-hued woodwork restored. In the kitchen, new cabinets, appliances, a contemporary cooktop hood and granite countertops replaced 1980s precursors.
“I really love to cook and so does Troy,” said Kara. “Two of his brothers are principals in Pigeon Catering. We both spend a lot of time in the kitchen and sometimes Vivianne and Edwin are in there, too.”
The free-flowing floorplan of the house lends itself to large gatherings, whether with family members or with Vivianne’s and Edwin’s lacrosse teams. Off the foyer to left is the billiard room, outfitted with a bar for grown-up events. The room connects to the family room, where built-in bookcases flank a brick fireplace and hearth. At the rear of the den, a door leads to Troy’s home office, where he operates his wholesale paper goods and packaging business.
To the right of the entry (where stairs lead to the second floor and family bedrooms), a formal dining room features white wainscoting, a handsome dining set complete with glass-fronted china cabinet and an Oriental carpet. A stained glass window above the buffet brings in light while adding charm. The dining room connects to the renovated kitchen and a breakfast area, set in a bay window with views of the rear garden and pool.
At 4,400 square feet, the home is plenty big enough to host Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner and all 50 guests from both Kara’s and Troy’s sides of the family.
“Everybody brings something delicious,” Kara said, listing the spinach Madeleine, pecan cream cheese pie, corn soufflé, artichoke dip and cauliflower au gratin as some favorites. “For smaller events, we sit at the dining table, but for Thanksgiving, we’ll serve buffet style so people can eat when they want. “
Although the home appears to be in perfect condition, Troy said projects remain to be undertaken and completed.
“We still need to do the baths upstairs and finish out the third floor — right now it’s all framed,” he said, referring to the expansive attic space. “Kara isn’t sure we need another 1,000 square feet of living space, but it would be a great place for Vivianne when she has all of her Mt. Carmel friends over to spend the night.”
For the time being, however, Vivianne is lobbying heavily for a different project: The renovation of her bath.
“It has a tub but no shower,” she said. Troy pointed out that the tub happens to be a large, top-of-the-line Jacuzzi, but Vivianne was unmoved.
“Dad,” she said, “The tub is mauve!”