RESTORATION FANTASIES

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Melane Landry Renovates her Childhood Dream Home

As the celebrated Zachary designer applies the finishing touches, come see inside.

Every little girl fantasizes about finding her dream home, whether it be a sparkling castle, a secluded cottage in the woods, or a sleek penthouse apartment high above the city. But few discover their perfect home standing just down the road. Fewer still make it theirs in adulthood. But Melane Landry, owner of Signature Southern Accents, has done exactly that with her just-finished house in Central, Louisiana. Come see.

 
 Even though the 1926 Creole dogtrot cottage needed a ground-up renovation, Melane made every effort to retain the characteristics she loved as a girl, such as its inviting entryway and cedar tongue-and-groove paneling.

Even though the 1926 Creole dogtrot cottage needed a ground-up renovation, Melane made every effort to retain the characteristics she loved as a girl, such as its inviting entryway and cedar tongue-and-groove paneling.

 

The way the house looked when I bought it was the way that I remember it looked in 1974, exactly,” says Melane. As girls, she and her sister made frequent visits to the backyard pool, wreathed by live oaks and Spanish moss. “I always loved the house.”

Now with decades of merchandising experience as the owner of Zachary’s premier interior design store, Signature Southern Accents, Melane loves the house still—more specifically for its open floor plan and rustic details, such as the original board-and-batten, she’s supplemented with Western Cedar board-and-batten she sourced herself. “I never had an appreciation of cedar until now that I own a whole houseful,” says Melane.

 
 With the kind of rustic-meets-elegant-country style that befits both the home and its owner, this powder room reflects Melane’s knack for making beautiful things belong together.

With the kind of rustic-meets-elegant-country style that befits both the home and its owner, this powder room reflects Melane’s knack for making beautiful things belong together.

 
The way it looked when I bought it was the way that I remember it looked in 1974, exactly.
— Melane Landry
 
 

Since November 2017, Melane and her crew, led by her contractor brother-in-law, have done extensive renovations on the 1926 Creole dogtrot house, keeping much of the original wood, glass, and other features, while updating other aspects to Melane’s high standards as both designer and client. “These ceilings are original, these walls are original,” Melane points out on a walk through the nearly-complete restoration. “When you clean them with Murphy’s oil soap, it really brings the color out.” Original gas lamps flank the front door, “but the ones that I’m putting on the back came from Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights in New Orleans,” Melane says. “Always wanted a Bevolo.” Melane was able to manifest many of her lifelong house goals with this project, including interior walls made of Old St. Louis brick, and green restoration glass in her office. “It actually reminds me of something I grew up with in our family home; she had that green coke-bottle glass in the front door for years,” Melane recalls.

 
 Floor-to-ceiling windows frame a stand of majestic live oaks—a reminder that despite its ingenious design flourishes, this Creole cottage is right at home in South Louisiana.

Floor-to-ceiling windows frame a stand of majestic live oaks—a reminder that despite its ingenious design flourishes, this Creole cottage is right at home in South Louisiana.

 

Melane knows just where to look for materials both old and new, with an encyclopedic knowledge of antique stores and architectural dealers that might carry precisely what she wants. She has been able to obtain much of what she used from Signature Southern Accents, incorporating her wares into the house’s enduring charms. “New white and black basketweave tile in the master bath,” she gestures. “ They’re not necessarily ‘20s, but they’re in keeping with the house.”

 
 A wide front porch complete with original gas lamps welcomes visitors to sit a spell—to enjoy the fall weather to come.

A wide front porch complete with original gas lamps welcomes visitors to sit a spell—to enjoy the fall weather to come.

 

Walking through the home, Melane rattles off information about each door, window, or tile we come across, explaining its origin and why she wanted to include it. “I’ll suggest old wood [for clients], a lot of times. I love old doors. I like things to have that old feel, but I also want them to function, which can be hard,” Melane says. The house is a veritable treasure trove of beautiful materials, from the wood ceilings and walls, to the cedar siding, to the antique stained glass and original gas lanterns. And this is before the addition of furniture, which unsurprisingly is another passion of Melane’s. While she carries an impressive assortment of modern furnishings at her store, she’s been collecting antiques since she was seventeen. “I set the tub off center because I’m going to put an antique pie safe there,” Melane says of an alcove in her master bath. “I tried to think of the furniture as I was designing.”

In updating her childhood fantasy, Melane has walked the delicate line of highlighting the structure’s historic beauty while finding room for today’s luxuries. “I just took a lot of old materials but made it so it would be comfortable modern living,” says Melane. A girl can dream—and a woman can make that dream a reality

 
Kyle Baker3 Comments