The kitchen, they say, is the heart of the home. And for Gabby and Danny McGlynn, it's a heart that welcomes visitors at the front door — all three of them.
The couple's spacious kitchen is the main room of the house, and the first room you enter when you walk through any of their front doors.
The McGlynns bought their home in University Hills when they married 15 years ago. Danny McGlynn, an attorney, knew the house well — he grew up next door.
"This house was originally a small, modern, flat-roofed, U-shaped structure," he said.
Now, after a series of remodels, including some by previous owners, the house has grown to three stories with three levels of decks, six bedrooms, an apartment and a yoga studio, where Gabby McGlynn teaches five mornings a week.
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As they were finishing their first major remodel, the home caught on fire, destroying most of the interior.
"Everybody told us to mow the house down and start over, but everything we loved about the house was already established," Danny McGlynn said. "If we started over, we wouldn't have our deck. We wouldn't have a single bush. We would just have a new house."
So the McGlynns and their four children moved out and rebuilt.
In the process, they took over part of a front patio and expanded the kitchen, which they opened to the dining room.
With its exposed metal ceiling supports, a big stainless steel hood, a glass and chrome table, a black bamboo tile floor and a wall of windows with a view of the front yard, the kitchen is home base for Gabby McGlynn, an expert Italian cook who learned from her father, owner of Pastore's in New Orleans.
Over the years, the McGlynns made other major changes to the home, which originally had an open "well" with a tree growing out of it in the center of the house. When the tree died, they filled in the area and made a bar covered with vintage hamburger pans Danny McGlynn found at Circa 1857, one of his businesses.
In another remodel, the McGlynns expanded the master bedroom on the second story to create a rooftop deck, with a turf floor, lots of seating and a host of thriving plants. They also added a master bath large enough for a baby grand piano, placed there as an homage to Danny McGlynn's grandfather Ernst Dohnanyi, a world-famous composer and pianist who grew up in Budapest but later immigrated to the U.S.
The home is definitely family oriented, with the formal living room and an apartment, built for Danny McGlynn's now-deceased mother, converted to playrooms for the boys.
"Everything in this house is in circles," Gabby McGlynn said. "The kids can run around."
And in this home, even the cat gets a special spot. Just off the living room is a small room known as the "cat's apartment."
In a separate section of the home is Gabby McGlynn's yoga studio, Shanti Shala, or Divine Peace Home. It is accessed by a bridge made from a discarded metal frame from the high school in Woodville, Mississippi. With windows on two walls and surrounded by a gallery, the studio overlooks the terraced backyard leading to Bayou Duplantier.
In all, the home sits on 3 acres, mostly flood plain, with cypress trees, a pond with an old bridge and plenty of space for a trampoline with basketball nets and a treehouse.
On the street side of the property, stands "Spartacus," a towering metal sculpture crafted by Joseph Jilbert.
And Spartacus gets in costume for Easter, Christmas, Halloween, LSU football and Valentine's Day.
"It's not always well done, but it's done," Danny McGlynn said with a laugh.
There are other seasonal decorations, too, like the giant black cat sitting on the roof to welcome Halloween.
"We are definitely kid central," Danny McGlynn said. "That's because I am a large kid."