Former Congressman Henson Moore and his wife, Carolyn, always knew they would move back to Baton Rouge when he retired from a career in government and business.
“We had family here. Our oldest friends are here,” Carolyn Moore said. “It was a given we would come home.”
In June 2007, after 30 years in Washington, D.C., the Moores moved into the home they built on a shaded lot overlooking University Lake.
They knew they wanted a traditional home with some Italian, French and Louisiana influences when they first contacted architect Al Jones.
“Everyone in Washington has a formal living room and a formal dining room, but they do have basements where they have family rooms,” Carolyn Moore said. “We wanted a separate living room and a dining room rather than having one big great room.”
Interior designer Nell Fetzer, now deceased, had helped design Henson Moore’s first law office. Carolyn Moore liked Fetzer’s style, so she chose her to help with the colors, fabrics, furniture and accessories.
“Nell said I was a very hands-on customer,” Carolyn Moore recalled. “I had something to say about everything — the fabrics, the fringe, the rods, the colors, everything.”
Carolyn Moore likes lots of color, but she selected a creamy pale yellow for the walls in the living room, entrance hall and family room.
“I had so much color everywhere that we used a fairly neutral wall,” she said. “To me, if it’s all neutral, it can be boring.”
Although this is their retirement home, all three bedrooms are upstairs.
“Our daughter thought we were crazy to build a home without a downstairs bedroom,” Carolyn Moore said with a laugh. “We put in an elevator, but we still use the stairs for exercise.”
The two-story stucco home opens to a spacious foyer with Henson Moore’s study on the left and the formal dining room on the right.
The study is painted a bright red with cypress bookcases and photographs from Henson Moore’s years in the House of Representatives as well as his service as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, White House deputy chief of staff and president and CEO of the American Forest and Paper Association.
A focal point in the room is a large model of a ship, which was in Moore’s Washington office.
The dining room is a study in green with silk wall covering handpainted in China.
“The pattern has no repeat,” Carolyn Moore said. “It was made just for the room. We had to give exact dimensions. We had to figure every door, every window, every piece of trim.”
In the front are two built-in corner cabinets with a traditional shell motif very similar to cabinets Carolyn Moore saw on visits to the White House.
The foyer leads to the living room on the left and, on the right, the combination kitchen-family room, which overlooks a Tuscan-style courtyard.
Because the Moores love to entertain, they planned their home for parties, designing a combination laundry room and catering kitchen and a garage that doubles as an entertaining space.
The catering kitchen contains a separate stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and counterspace for assembling trays and efficient cleanup.
The garage has wood panel walls, hanging pictures and a rug Carolyn Moore rolls out for parties.
“I put wreaths on the doors,” she said. “People don’t even know it’s a garage.”
The home is filled with accessories collected from years of travel. But their art is definitely local, with works by Rhea Gary, George Rodrigue, Robert Rucker and many others.
On a wall upstairs, Carolyn Moore has framed White House Christmas cards received over decades. Those are the ones they have left.
“I used to throw them out until I went to a party in Washington where the hosts had framed their White House Christmas cards,” she said with a laugh. “That’s when I started saving ours.”