The first things you notice about physician Ann Conn’s and lawyer Thad Minaldi’s Tchefuncta Club Estates house in Covington are its minimalist, contemporary design, bright, white interior and verdant setting. What belies all of those pleasing visuals and becomes apparent with a closer look is the artful use of geometry.
“The home has contemporary styling characterized by crisp, clean lines and geometric forms,” says architect George Hopkins, who designed the home for the couple.
Minaldi chose the lot, which overlooks a pond and the Tchefuncta Estates’ golf course, three years ago when the 60-year-old subdivision acquired adjacent acreage as part of an improvement and expansion program. Conn’s interest in design ran all the way through the project, from architecture to interior design and landscaping.
Hopkins was a natural choice as architect. Both the builder, Blake Harrison, and the interior designer whom Conn initially consulted, Viki Leftwich of Villa Vici, recommended Hopkins, who designed their respective homes. Hopkins also lives in the gated community and his firm designed its new country club. What resulted from the collaboration, is an L-shaped residence designed to take full advantage of its park-like views, live comfortably and afford easy maintenance. The ground floor provides a seamless flow with uninterrupted vistas as the kitchen, living and dining rooms occupy a single, rectangular space that forms one length of the L shape. The fact that the entire house is painted with a single shade of white, Benjamin Moore’s Brilliant White, enhances the boundless feel of the interior and quietly frames the surrounding scenery.
“Because the floor is white and the walls are off-white, the living space has an endless depth that makes you feel like you’re floating or gliding through the space,” says Hopkins. “The walls, ceiling and floor lose their feeling of enclosure.”
Conn’s pared-down decorating approach complements both the geometric and streamlined qualities of the architecture. Trained as an engineer before going into medicine, she has an affinity for simple forms, symmetry and repetition of shapes. For example, the fireplace, coffee table and chandelier in the living room all incorporate groups of spheres. Hurricane Katrina’s devastating damage to Conn’s previous home also influenced the less-is-more aesthetic.
“The emptiness is intentional,” says Conn. “I find it calming.”
Conn carried out the interior design plan with help from her friend, Julie Saussy, and sourced furniture and lighting from a variety of local stores and internet sites, including Greige Home Furnishings in Covington, Pine Grove Lighting in Mandeville and Nordic Kitchens and Baths in New Orleans.
Well-planned storage and mindful living help to keep surfaces free from clutter and maintain the spa-like quality of the home.
“We love to sit downstairs and we love to be on the back porch,” says Conn. “It’s very peaceful and serene, which we like.”
Above The living room’s all white backdrop and spare furnishings contribute to the boundless feel of the space. The spheres in the light fixture are repeated in the base of the table and in the dining table’s centerpiece. The concrete floor has a durable epoxy finish. Above it, sits a chevron patterned cowhide rug.
The sitting area next to the kitchen overlooks the back porch and the Tchefuncta Estates golf course.
The kitchen’s glossy acrylic cabinets are from Nordic Kitchens and Baths in New Orleans. The stools at the island were ordered online. Caesarstone counters.
Porcelain floors with the look of weathered wood were used in the upstairs portion of the house. In the sitting room, a sectional sofa and cube-shaped ottomans provide a comfortable spot for reading or watching TV.
A bed with a co hide headboard and frame is the focal point in the master bedroom.
Homeowners Thad Minaldi and Ann Conn.