A Holiday Home with Louisiana Flair

Inspired by Louisiana architecture, a Mountain Brook couple builds a new home with a deep southern accent.

A crawfish garland imparts that Louisiana flair the homeowners were looking for.
A pair of vintage doors from Southern Accents in Cullman, Alabama, frames a tree decorated in a lively Louisiana theme. Ribbon in citron green and purple and a paper crawfish garland give it a festive Mardi Gras feel. “It reminds me of memories from my childhood,” Laura says. Photography by Jean Allsopp

Building a house is nothing new for Andy and Laura Sink. But in their most recent endeavor, two considerations were top of mind: Since this was their first build as empty nesters, they wanted a home that would fit them as a couple, but also be on standby for when all the kids come home. The other request was a home that would pay homage to Laura’s Louisiana roots.

“Acadian architecture, which is common in Louisiana, blends French Colonial with English and German elements,” says architect Chad Bryant. “That’s what inspired details such as the wide, elevated front porch; the long windows and shutters; the tall gas lanterns; and the second-level porch. It’s also the inspiration behind the front courtyard, which is very reminiscent of what you’d find in New Orleans.”

The new home was modeled after a popular Louisiana home style blend of  French Colonial with English and German elements.

“The home combines textures, colors, antiques, and modern elements to create rooms that feel completely cohesive and perfectly lived in.”

Mandi Smith T

Inside, a gracious foyer opens onto an open-concept main floor. The house can welcome a crowd, but it doesn’t feel too big for two. The family room and kitchen serves as the main gathering area of the home. Task spaces, such as the walk-through pantry leading to the laundry, create easy-to-hide spots ideal for storage or prep space when hosting. The main bedroom is on the first level, while the kids enjoy the upstairs bedrooms.

Left: The custom-reeded, white-oak sideboard created a prime location for holiday décor. A silver punch bowl features a fragrant arrangement of white lilies, red berries, and cedar. Brass and crystal candlesticks hold narrow black tapers to underscore the finish on the sconces. Right: Mandi combined Laura’s formal china (Old Imari by Royal Crown Derby) with a variety of casual pieces to create a stunning tablescape.

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For interior finishes, Laura called upon designer Mandi Smith T. Painting the entire interior in a gentle white (Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee), Mandi set a neutral background for layering in many traditional pieces, such as the antique chest in the entryway and the rustic interior doors. She created an elevated casual look in the dining room—“something that feels beautiful but not so formal the family wouldn’t feel comfortable actually eating in the room,” Mandi says. The round table’s pedestal base ensures no one has an uncomfortable spot. Chairs are covered in high-performance fabrics. Contemporary sconces and a custom dining buffet bring balance to the space. “Blending both traditional and modern pieces makes the home feel layered—and more architecturally rich,” Mandi says.

With the home complete in time for the holidays—and for its spot on the Samford Legacy League’s Christmas Home Tour—Mandi added seasonal touches to complement the décor. She focused heavily on incorporating pieces Laura already had, such as the Cajun-themed ornaments on the tree in the study. Natural elements include evergreen garland, holly, sugar pinecones, and florals. “Our new home already feels like our happy place, whether it’s just the two of us or the entire family,” Laura says. “And at Christmas, it’s even happier.”

Merry & Bright

Mandi Smith T shares tips for dressing your home for the holidays.

Maintain a consistent color palette. Choose ribbons that complement the interiors, and repeat them in varying schemes from room to room. Mandi chose a mix of solids, plaids, prints, and metallics in varying widths and sheens that cue the colors in Laura’s holiday china.

Make it last. Faux greenery spruced up with fresh cuts and natural elements such as sugar pinecones, pomegranates, and other greenery allows you to refresh arrangements as needed without having to start completely over. If well cared for, the faux greenery can be used year after year.

Personalize it. Christmas cards of years past were laminated and strung on a garland in the laundry room. Stockings feature monogrammed nametags.

Share your narrative. The Cajun-themed tree nods to Laura’s home state. Laura’s nativity takes pride of place on the dining buffet, along with an heirloom silver punch bowl filled with flowers and greenery. The oyster shell napkin rings reference Louisiana.

Around the House

Jars of candy make for a sweet centerpiece on the kitchen island.
Jars of candy make for a sweet centerpiece on the kitchen island.

Left: Monogrammed nametags tied to canvas stockings point Santa in the right direction on Christmas Eve. Middle: Cowtan and Tout wallpaper shines in a guest bathroom. The hammered gold mirror, gold sconces, and gold faucet finish out the jewel box feel. Right: A vintage door opens to the laundry. The cabinets are painted a custom blue-gray color and feature the same quartz countertops as the kitchen.

Left: An antique chest and chair fill the front foyer with warmth and interest. The wrought iron stairway is trimmed in garland accentuated with red berries and green and gold ribbon. Right: A paper crawfish garland introduces Louisiana flair.

Designer: Mandi Smith T. Interiors
Architect: Chad Bryant; C.M. Bryant Architecture, L.L.C. – See More Here
Builder: Slate Barganier Building
Kitchen cabinets: Custom through Slate Barganier Building
Hardware: Brandino Brass
Tile and stone: Triton Stone Group
Lighting: Mayer Lighting
Stairwell runner: Billy Brown Flooring
Tapered candles: Shoppe
Monogrammed tabs on stockings: Smith’s Variety

Samford Legacy League’s Christmas Home Tour raises scholarships for students with significant financial needs and enduring challenging circumstances.

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