Kiki and Rick Frayard built a Mission Revival house at home in its South Louisiana setting
AT A GLANCE
Kevin Gossen, Gossen Architects
Total Square Footage
Stone archways, metal windows, enclosed courtyards, patterned walnut floor in bar area
While an Acadian cottage might not be the typical choice of architecture for a California residence, the classic Mission Revival architecture (common to many places in California including Napa, one of the owners’ favorite destinations) of Kiki and Rick Frayard’s house is very at home in its Acadiana setting. Conceived to work with the surrounding attributes of its corner lot, the house is such a pleasing marriage of building and place that locals often use it as a background for special occasion photos — including weddings, proms and Christmas.
The Frayards had previously built a French-farmhouse-meets-Paris abode filled with French Country antiques. Though they still loved it, even as empty nesters, they had tired of the maintenance it required — especially the upkeep of the formal garden. When Rick, a financial advisor, found a lot in the River Ranch community that faced a pond in front and connected to a second pond in back, they decided to build again. Inspired by a trip to the South of France, they hired architect Kevin Gossen, whose father founded Lafayette’s eponymous Gossen Architects, and brought to the table a list of wants that included a Mediterranean look and tile roof; a bit smaller size and cleaner, more modern interior than their last home; a bigger laundry room, and a large closet for Kiki who owns and runs Kiki, a jewelry and clothing store with locations in Lafayette and Baton Rouge. She will soon hand the reins over to her daughter Katie Culbert, owner of Wild Child Wines with husband Denny Culbert (formerly a freelance photographer for this magazine). The Frayards also wanted a spacious master suite and butler’s pantry, both of which they’d had before. Gossen began with the site.
“When you build, you need to let the lot influence the design, be conscious of the good and the bad and take advantage of its assets and disadvantages,” says Gossen. “Those things shape the plan and it evolves.”
Working with the clients’ requirements, their desire to edit down their collection of antiques to the best pieces and the colorful array of contemporary art they’d amassed over the years (much of it by Louisiana artists), Gossen put together a plan for a house with both timeless and current details. The exterior of the house is mainly the product of Mission precedents with its tile and stucco, while the bright turquoise front door also brings to mind architecture of the Greek isles. Inside, tumbled stone archways, limestone floors, a wrought iron stair rail, a wet bar with a rubbed-paint finish and rustic exposed beams convey the patina of age. But metal windows and doors, leathered marble counters and white walls are drawn from a lighter, more contemporary playbook.
“We wanted wall space for the art and a lot of light,” says Kiki.
Private outdoor areas are a natural extension of the Mediterranean influences and the use of glass. Interior touches, such as the use of natural wood to frame the metal windows, are carried outside, blurring where one space ends and the other begins.
“I love that California feel that there’s not a definite line between inside and outside,” says Kiki.
The couple combined their existing antiques and art with new upholstered pieces from Dixon Smith Interiors of Baton Rouge. They also added an elegant assortment of chandeliers, mostly sourced in New Orleans, as well as fine rugs, custom window treatments and a few contemporary accent pieces.
“I wanted a house that I was happy to come home to every day,” says Kiki, who clearly accomplished the goal with her team of professionals. “I always tell Kevin [Gossen] and our builder Mark LaBorde, ‘I love my house.’”