Inside a Baton Rouge Home

Almost hidden from the street by tall river birches, this Baton Rouge home is a contemporary architectural gem. Its plans were carefully thought-out by its owners, Becky and Dr. Warren Gottsegen, designed by Denver architect Dave Robb and built by Baton Rouge contractor Richard Goudeau. Completed in 2008, the house embraces the two-acre, park-like setting, and every room in the 4,600-square-foot house and guesthouse is bathed in light from the large expanses of glass. The crowning glory of it all is the couple’s treasured museum-quality collection of art showcased throughout the home.

Becky Gottsegen is a figurative ceramic artist whose work appears throughout the house, including a notable sculpture she made of an old man standing, appearing playful, by the rear garden swimming pool. “I call the sculpture ‘Clarence’ to honor a faithful gardener who once worked for us,” she says.

Step inside the stained-glass front door by Baton Rouge artist Steve Wilson, and you are greeted by a hand-carved mahogany table inlaid with the words they live by: “The secret of life is in art.” It was designed by Becky when she and architect Jean Kelly were partners in Kelly & Gottsegen Furniture Design in New Orleans.

The Gottsegens’ home provides wondrous eye candy for art lovers. Both have keen eyes for paintings, photography and sculpture. The eclectic selection includes works mostly by Louisiana artists such as Richard Johnson, Arthur Silverman, George Dunbar, the late John Scott and Ida Kohlmeyer.

The couple created a wall of niches in the living room to showcase some of their favorite pieces. Large colorful oil paintings share the spotlight with smaller paintings, wall sculptures and photography in every room of the house.

The hand-blown glass hanging lights in the breakfast room receive special attention, and every glass vase or piece of pottery has a special memory attached for the couple.
Even the book on the table in the foyer is a work of art with its pages all askew. It was gift from Warren’s sister, Susan, and her husband, Jerry Anhalt, of Houston.
One thing for sure: Nothing is boring in the Gottsegens’ home.

New Orleans landscape architect Rene J.L. Fransen, FASLA, played an important role in the final scheme of the home. “Rene is amazing,” Becky says. “He loved our site, and he immediately had a lot of great suggestions for us. We simply marvel at how well his contribution adds to the overall success of the house.”

A small koi pond surrounded by Japanese maples in the front corner of the patio introduces visitors to the surprises that abound in the landscape.

Most of all, Warren, a retired vascular surgeon, enjoys the peace and quiet of their country home in the city. “We feel private and secluded, yet we are in the middle of Baton Rouge,” he says. Becky adds, “I love having my art studio detached from the main house for privacy.” She says it’s like being in the woods, because the couple left most of the 600-foot lot untouched.

And if they need to get away for a change of scenery, they can always walk to the center of the woods and enjoy their tree house. It’s one wonderful room surrounded by a balcony where the only visitor will probably be a squirrel.