After 11 years in their Jefferson Place home, Andrea and David McKey still feel a tremendous responsibility to preserve it the way revered architect A. Hays Town designed it.
Decades ago, Town came up with the plan for Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Raggio.
“I feel such an affinity to take care of it for the Raggios and Mr. Town,” Andrea McKey said.
It was love at first sight when the McKeys saw the house.
“I got to the foyer, and I told David, ‘I have to have this house,’” she said. The McKeys are broker/owners with Coldwell Banker One.
The home has many of Town’s trademarks, such as the wonderful proportions and incorporation of fine, old materials.
There was, however, one problem. The house had four bedrooms, and the McKeys have five children.
“At first, we put our three boys all in one room,” Andrea McKey said.
Architect and neighbor Lionel Bailey solved the McKeys’ problem by designing a new master suite, which he connected to the house with a hall created from part of the original master bedroom.
Even though the house has a traditional floor plan with a large foyer and separate living room, dining room and den, certain elements, such as the pass-through between the kitchen and den and large rooms with an abundance of light make it modern and functional.
The foyer, with its angled stairway, opens to the living room on the right, the dining room on the left and the den at the back. Floors in the foyer and den are old brick, while other floors are wide cypress boards.
The den ceiling is made of cypress planks from an old warehouse in New Orleans.
Sometime after the McKeys moved into the house, the Raggios’ daughters paid a call and pointed out a footprint in a board on the den ceiling. It was one of the Raggios’ favorite things about the house.
Upstairs are three bedrooms and two baths.
“We call it “Boyland,” Andrea McKey said. “We try not to go up there.”
Andrea McKey gave the home a modern touch by combining contemporary colors and fabrics with antique furniture. She has lots of family pieces collected over the years.
“I like the fact that someone else’s feet have been on our coffee table before we got it,” she said.
Some of her favorite things are from a relative who did not have children but married into a very old New Orleans family.
“My mother got a number of her pieces,” she said.
In the living room sits an antique partner’s desk that belonged to McKey’s grandfather, who practiced law in Ponchatoula.
Combined with more modern seating, an antique marble-top table and the preserved head of son William’s first deer, the living room has the comfortable look of a family that enjoys their home.
“Mr. Town took into consideration how people live,” Andrea McKey said. “We use every single part of this house.”
The dining room is decorated in a more formal style with a large mirror that goes almost the full height of the room.
The rooms on the back of the house all open to a patio, which leads to the deep back yard.
“Over the years, we have had zip lines, basketball courts, baseball diamonds and a trampoline back here,” Andrea McKey said. “Every kid in Baton Rouge has played in this yard.”
Because the Raggios only had daughters, the house was tenderly cared for. The McKey bunch of two girls and three boys brought new life to the house.
“Our sons have jumbled up the molecules,” she said.
Six months after they moved in, Andrea McKey’s mother, Betty Phelps, bought the house next door. Phelps, who has been in real estate in Baton Rouge for 45 years, is the perfect neighbor for her daughter’s active family.
“She called me one day to say that she was trying to feed the birds on her patio, but William was shooting his pellet gun from an upstairs window,” Andrea McKey said with a laugh.