What started out as a traditional 1930s-vintage wood-frame house is now Sarah and Jason Dupree’s comfortable home, perfect for casual living, entertaining and raising their family.
Originally a two-bedroom, one-bath cottage, the house was completely renovated in 1962 by a previous owner. The massive project included the addition of a second story as well as a master bedroom wing. Later owners did some renovations and completely landscaped the yard.
By the time the Duprees purchased the “cottage,” it was a very large house that could easily accommodate the couple and sons Warren, 15, and Winston, 11.
Although the home had been vacant for two years, it was well built and in good condition.
The Duprees are amazed that their home has evolved with a modern feel even though it is structurally unchanged from the way it was when the major renovation was done 53 years ago.
“We changed the decor, but not the functionality,” said Sarah Dupree, co-founder of The Cinderella Project, a nonprofit organization that provides young women statewide with needed resources and educational outreach designed to build confidence and self-esteem. Jason Dupree is a lawyer.
Before they moved into the house in 2006, the Duprees painted inside and out, had the floors refinished and updated the kitchen.
“We did not make any major changes,” Sarah Dupree said.
The front door of the Steele Place house opens to a large foyer, which doubles as a sitting area.
On the left is the original master bedroom, now a small den. To the right is the original living room, which opens to the old dining room, now a breakfast area.
“A dining room is a waste of space,” Sarah Dupree said. “Everybody always ends up in the kitchen anyway.”
The kitchen has a center island, modern appliances, marble counters and moss green cabinets with lots of storage.
Between the kitchen and the master bedroom wing is a large family room, which was recently redone with a sectional sofa and television.
Local decorator Virginia Cain assisted the Duprees, who wanted to turn the formal room into a more casual area for the family.
“The boys were older,” Sarah Dupree said. “Everyone was ending up in the bedroom. We needed a family space.”
One of the nicest areas of the home is the master suite, one step lower than the rest of the house. When it was added in the 1960s, it had a small nursery, which the Duprees now use as an alcove for their bed.
David Coco, of Dixon Smith Interiors, who assisted the Duprees when they purchased the house, selected a happy orange print for draperies in the room.
One of the biggest changes the Duprees made was to remove 13 trees from the landscaped backyard and to add a swimming pool. Ursula McClure, the A. Hays Town Professor in the School of Architecture at LSU, and her husband, Michael McClure, professor in the School or Architecture and Design at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, designed the pool with an island platform.
“We have parties out there,” Sarah Dupree said. “The kids run and jump and play on the little island. We have even had a band on the island once.”
The large backyard is enclosed by a stucco wall on one side and a slatted fence at the back. Doors from the master bedroom, family room and kitchen open to the brick patio and pool area.