Kell McInnis proved you can go home again.
He made the proverbial trip when he and his wife, B.J., moved back to the Hundred Oaks home he lived in as a young boy.
The stucco house with its green tile roof, one of the oldest in the neighborhood, was built in 1917 by Dalton Reymond on what was then the old Hundred Oaks dairy farm.
In the 1950s, Kell McInnis’ grandmother, Frances McInnis, lived “way out in the country at Bluebonnet and Jefferson,” he said. “She wanted to move closer to town, so she picked out this house. After my dad finished his medical training, we lived here for three years while my parents built their house in Jefferson Place.”
After his parents moved to their new home, the grandparents hired architect Bob Coleman, who completely redid the Hundred Oaks home. They wanted to lighten up the dining room, which was paneled in rare burl cypress, so they moved the paneling to the kitchen and even used some of it to make a few pieces of furniture.
They removed French doors between the living room and dining room, added a large bay window on the dining-room side, added a master suite wing with two bathrooms and created a patio and backyard designed by Steele Burden. They enclosed the front porch to make a distinctive sun room at the front of the home.
The grandparents lived comfortably in the home for many years, but in 1997, after they both died, Kell and B.J. McInnis bought the home filled with so many family memories.
“It was special to us,” he said.
The house was in excellent condition and required very little work to move in.
“What we did was mostly cosmetic,” B.J. McInnis said. They had the floors redone and added some cabinets for storage. They also moved the laundry room to the interior of the home from their “unique for Baton Rouge” two-room cellar.
Even though the home is decorated traditionally, it has a clean contemporary look beginning with the glassed-in sun room at the entrance. It opens to the long living room/dining room combination with a small library, originally a bedroom, to the right and the kitchen at the left.
The kitchen contains a small sitting area, where friends always seem to gather when the couple entertains. Off the kitchen is a cozy room where Kell McInnis’ grandfather and friends played cards. It even has an electric vent to remove smoke.
The master suite is unique for the 1950s in that it contains a very large master bedroom and his-and-her bathrooms with closets and tons of built-ins.
Without changing the footprint of the house, the McInnises recently updated both bathrooms, mainly keeping the built-ins, especially in his bathroom. They changed the floors and countertops in both bathrooms and removed some storage in her bathroom to make her closet bigger.
The backyard is beautifully landscaped around a patio and fountain with lush curved beds so typical of Steele Burden’s artistic hand.
The beds are filled with a combination of old plantings as well as some “newer” things added in recent years.
The home is amazingly well built with its interior stucco walls.
“When we first moved here, we got Cox to come out and run wires for cable television,” Kell McInnis said with a laugh. “The guy burned up three drills before he ever got through one wall. They ended up having to run wires under the house.”