TV personality Whitney Vann and her husband, Robert Schneckenburger, didn't need a bigger house, they needed a different kind of house.
"We didn't need a playroom where little kids play," Vann said, "and they (our children) were old enough that we could have a pool and not be worried that someone would fall in."
After a search that stretched on for more than two years, Vann said when she saw the stucco house overlooking City Park Lake, she knew it was "the one."
Smaller than the home they had built in River Bend subdivision, the lakeside house had a layout better suited to their lifestyle.
Situated on a hill that meanders to the lake, the Schneckenburgers' home has a fantastic entrance through a gazebo and a series of steps and landings enclosed within a low, scored-concrete wall.
Lush bushes in various shades of green and flowering plants both in front of and behind the wall soften its hard edges.
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A walkway leads to the front porch and an impressive doorway with glass panes on both sides and a fanlight above. A second-floor gallery, with windows and doors with working shutters, beckons with rocking chairs for casual relaxing.
The front door opens to what Vann called the "everything room," a large open space with 14-foot ceilings and windows that flood the room with light.
Over the fireplace, framed with bookcases on both sides, hangs Vann's artwork, one of several of her paintings in the home. A baby grand player piano, situated in one of the large windows, provides a constant stream of popular music.
Three large white columns delineate the spaces in the main room to create a separate but open dining area.
The wall of windows and doors at the back of the main room overlooks the patio and pool with a brick fountain — a flame at the top — that tumbles down into low waterfalls to the pool.
To the back of the pool is a bar, and, oh, what a bar it is. The former owners rescued it from a going-out-of business saloon in Savannah, Georgia. They had it disassembled, moved and reassembled at the home.
"The bar is why my husband agreed to buy the house," Vann said with a laugh.
The intricately carved bar so loved by Schneckenburger, senior regional president of Hancock Whitney Bank, opens to the pool area with three sets of doors. Black leather and wooden bar stools pull up to the bar, which is topped with stained glass panels.
The kitchen is modern, with white cabinets, quartz counters, and white and stainless steel appliances. In a light-filled nook is a round table with upholstered chairs that rotate for visiting in the kitchen or looking out on the lake.
On the other side of the main room is the master bedroom and an office, where Vann and her videographer and producer Kim Bronikowski work on Vann's weekly show, "Weekends with Whitney." The show runs several times each weekend on WBRZ, where Vann served as morning anchor for 17 years.
Upstairs there's a media room and bedrooms for the Schneckenburger children, Sydney Joy, a junior at University High School, and Reed, who attends the University of Colorado at Boulder. Their rooms have access to the gallery with a wonderful view of the lake, where they kayak and ride paddle boats.
Interior designer Anne McCanless helped Vann decorate the home, which was painted a creamy white.
To add a modern touch to the dining room, McCanless urged Vann to find an inexpensive table in the right shape and size and paint it white.
"This house is filled with a combination of things — old, new, cheap and expensive," Vann said.
In the six years Vann and Schneckenburger have lived in their home, it has become a place for parties, where the couple hosts an all-day drop-in for the Louisiana Marathon, which passes right in front. They have had fundraisers for numerous organizations among them United Way, the Baton Rouge Symphony, Big Buddy and Theatre Baton Rouge.
"We had things at our other house, but here, we're always having something," Vann said. "This is definitely a party house."