The last thing Jay and Bethany Robicheaux wanted to do when they purchased their 1950s vintage home in Old Goodwood was to turn it into a trendy contemporary place.
The couple loved the midcentury modern style and the home's rambling one-story layout with its spacious rooms and custom windows, doors and millwork.
"We wanted to update the home," Jay Robicheaux said, "but we wanted to keep as much of the spirit of the house as we could."
Dr. Dionisus and Juanita Cacioppo built the home, incorporating many unique touches, like the wall in the living room made with bricks, all hand-chipped by Dr. Cacioppo, from family property in Tangipahoa Parish.
"This house has had some love," said Bethany Robicheaux.
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The Robicheauxs, who bought the house in 2015, are only the second family to live there.
But Bethany Robicheaux, director of special education for the Catholic school system of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, and Jay Robicheaux, a financial adviser and owner of Robicheaux Financial Services, knew some updates had to be made.
They started with the lot, removing 36 large and small trees and lots of "tired" landscaping on the 100-by-350-foot plot.
"You could hardly see the house from the street. There were so many trees," Bethany Robicheaux said.
Inside, the first big project was the kitchen, which the couple planned and contracted. Their goal was to make it accessible and open to more of the house.
"Kitchens at that time were not designed to be part of the house," she said. "They were designed to be closed off from the rest of the house."
They kept some of the cabinets but added new ones, using moldings and hardware to tie the old and new together. An island with room to pull up three stools was installed, along with granite counters and stainless steel appliances, including two dishwashers.
A hall that led to a game room was opened up and the laundry area was moved from the old kitchen.
"Having a laundry area as part of the kitchen is not how people live their lives now," Jay Robicheaux said with a laugh. "We actually do our own laundry."
The living room, dining room and kitchen are all separate rooms, but by expanding the opening between the dining room and kitchen, the three rooms now flow. And, by moving the mechanical closet from the kitchen to the completely floored attic, a half bath was created.
The house had come with louver doors on the entire north wall of the original den between the living room and kitchen. When the Robicheauxs showed the doors to their decorator, Karen Judice, of Lafayette, she immediately said, "Put them back in."
That turned out to be a bigger project than anticipated.
"The doors were all custom cut," Jay Robicheaux said. "Every one had its place. You had to get the right door on the right hinge or it wouldn't work."
The home's four bedrooms are on the east side of the house with the master suite overlooking the patio and large backyard, while 8-year-old daughter Natalie's pink bedroom and playroom are at the front of the house. Natalie's school, Our Lady of Mercy, is only a short walk from their home.
The couple has done much of the work on the house themselves with help from Jay's dad, Eric Robicheaux, who lives in Lafayette.
"He built three houses," Jay Robicheaux said. "He owns a lot of buildings. He has always done a lot of the maintenance himself."
And, while much has been done, they still have projects they'd like to do, including renovating the game room, which was the home's original three-car garage, and converting an old greenhouse at the back of the house into an outdoor kitchen.
"We are only restricted by the time we have to spend on it and the money we have to spend on it," Jay Robicheaux said. "We'll always be ripping and tearing. It's fun, not so much when you are in the middle of a project, but when you are finished."