From the barrel-vaulted ceiling in the kitchen to the 150-year-old beams in the living room, LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey's new home is a showplace of design and style.
It's the work of designer Kenneth Brown, who infused every inch of the new $1.6 million home with deceptively simple-yet-purposeful grace and charm.
Without a client when the construction started, Brown said he was able to "flex my design muscle" in the new Southdowns home, which Mulkey just purchased.
"I wanted to do things that we should be doing in our homes but are not doing yet," Brown said. "I wanted to test some of my design ideas."
LSU Women’s Basketball Coach Kim Mulkey has bought a $1.6 million home in Southdowns.
Mulkey, who has signed an eight-year deal to be LSU women’s basketball coach, liked what she saw. The home, built by Brown and his husband, Matthew Bruno, was the first one Mulkey looked at while house shopping in Baton Rouge.
In addition to the design aesthetic, one reason she loves it so much, Brown said, is because it is built with Texas limestone.
"It's the same stone that's on her house in Texas," Brown said.
Brown said he and his husband built the 4,400-square-foot home as a "COVID project."
"We bought the home near us and tore it down," Brown said. "And we thought it would be a fun thing to build a house there, since we were stuck at home anyway."
Tired of the whites and grays everyone is doing these days, Brown said he brought warmer colors into the house.
Stuck at home for the past year during the pandemic, lots of homeowners turned their attention on their kitchens, giving these tired rooms new…
"We went with softer, creamier colors, like we're using in California," said the well-known interior designer who grew up in Baton Rouge, where he is now based. Brown also keeps an office in California and is currently working on projects in Arizona, Florida, New York and New Orleans.
Brown said the four-bedroom, five-bathroom home has lots of "flex space."
There's a playroom upstairs with a bunk room with two extra beds, which, Brown said, Mulkey said will be a great spot for her grandchildren.
There's also a library and a "smart room," a combination laundry room, gift wrapping room and crafting room dressed in beautiful Schumacher wallpaper.
"We took rooms where you had tasks to do and made them beautiful," Brown said.
The home also features what Brown calls "honest materials."
There is a lot going on in Kim Mulkey’s life right now.
"It's letting the materials be what they want to be and not trying to manipulate them," said Brown, mentioning 150-year-old beams in the living room that were left "untouched."
"The imperfections are imperfections, and that's what we want to show," he said.
The home also has what the designer called a "kitchen and a half," with a bar and/or pantry area tucked behind the main kitchen.
Unlike a lot of coaches' homes, there is no media room.
"She really sees her home as a place of refuge," Brown said, although, he added, "we did add TVs everywhere."
There's also a gym and a swimming pool.
Brown said Mulkey is keeping her home in Texas and told him she was only "bringing her toothbrush" to Baton Rouge.
He is helping her with all of the furnishings, from the sofas and chairs down to the plates, forks and towels.
"She has an amazing sense of style," Brown said of working with the coach who led Baylor to three national championships and is known for the sharp looks she wears courtside.
Brown said Mulkey, who loves landscaping, is weighing in on that work.
Brown spearheaded construction of the house, along with Scheffy Construction and architect Mike Sullivan.
Mulkey is a Tickfaw native who came to LSU after 21 years at Baylor. Before that, she was a star player at Louisiana Tech, leading the team to two national championships and spending 15 years as an assistant coach with the Lady Techsters.