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Name: Lauren Granger, Dustin Granger, daughters Mireille (6) and Inès (3), Tangy the cat
Location: Lake Charles’s Charpentier Historic District, Louisiana
Size: 4,950 square feet
Type of Home: House
Years Lived In: 6 years, owned
Lauren and Dustin first came across this house in 2005 when they were driving around neighborhoods in Lake Charles, Louisiana and daydreaming about their future life together.
“Years passed, we were married, and bought our first home in a nearby neighborhood,” Lauren, who is the owner and lead designer at Lauren Granger Design, begins. “After having our first daughter in 2015, in true first-time-mom fashion, I found myself driving around when she fell asleep in the car in order to not wake her from her nap. We had been in our home for about eight years then, and it was a perfect-for-us Craftsman. However, we wanted more space and more than one full bathroom. I vividly remember the silent freak out I had, given that a baby was sleeping behind me, when I drove by that same jaw-dropping home and there was a ‘for sale’ sign in the yard.”
The story of their family and this house doesn’t quite start yet, though. Lauren reveals they didn’t buy the house right away, explaining that the asking price was originally too high, especially considering how much interior work was going to be needed. The home hadn’t been updated since the late ’70s and early ’80s.
“One thing I got a kick out of when I first viewed the inside of the home was the glittered popcorn ceilings throughout, which I had never seen before,” Lauren says. “A couple of months later, the house was still on the market, so we had a general contractor give us an estimate for the planned renovations and presented that to the sellers with a much lower offer. And we had a deal! And a lot of work to do. We spent just over a year on interior renovations, and then moved in.”
While the house may have needed updating to make it livable for a modern family, it is filled with dreamy historic elements preserved from its 1902 construction. “The home has some interesting architectural features, such as the maritime-themed wood fretwork covering the nine double-wide pocket doors, five fireplaces with different mantels, and lots of special elements like the eight-foot high windows surrounding the living areas that start from the floor and go up, which allow for maximal outdoor views of the yard (which has 13 100+ year-old Live Oak Trees).”
My Style: Vintage meets modern. Though my home has lots of Victorian influence in terms of architecture and millwork, my belief is that one single style doesn’t have to define a home’s interior furnishings and overall look. I don’t find it necessary to have Victorian chairs and fainting couches interspersed to “match” the style of the home. I like a good mix of eras and can find appreciation in many styles meshed together.
Inspiration: Mid-century mixed with thrifted and estate sale finds, plus original artwork that makes rooms feel interesting and global in a non-fancy way.
Favorite Element: I love that every single room has a purpose and is used daily. I love being perched above the ground like I’m living in a treehouse.
Biggest Challenge: One big challenge was the kitchen layout, which solved several issues. We created a cased opening that matched the scale of the pocket doors, which allowed for the addition of a wet bar and helped the kitchen flow into the rest of the house. We also changed the location of the sink to underneath a window and re-configured the island, so that I when I’m cooking at the stove, I can see across the house and through several rooms all the way to the front porch.
Proudest DIY: Not a DIY, but we are super proud of the primary closet “addition.” When we bought the house, there was a smaller closet in the back of the primary bathroom. But we could tell there was a pretty large space in the front corner next to the bedroom that was not accessible in any way except through climbing into the attic.
Once we figured out there was so much space there, we were able to create a doorway opening, re-use the door and moldings that were removed from the kitchen area, and get hardwood flooring milled locally to match the existing. Then, I drew all of the closet built-ins to scale on graph paper for the carpenter. I made sure to include lower clothing rod heights to accommodate my petite stature, along with special shoe storage areas for taller boots and cubbies for smaller clutch purses. Because of the slope of the roof, we were going to lose some space along an entire wall, so I decided it would be a good idea to have a built-in “dresser.” The surface of the dresser is super functional for unwrapping packages, setting down armfuls of folded laundry, and packing suitcases.
Biggest Indulgence: When we were wrapping up the renovation project, I really wished we had a more well-thought-out pantry. But costs were mounting, and of course, everything was more than what we’d budgeted for.
It wasn’t part of our original bids, but we talked about it, and Dustin said, “Let’s just go for it while we’re at it.” So I pulled out my graph paper and drew out the pantry. We hired a separate carpenter who does amazing work to build it all out.
At the same time, if we were going to do this, my one biggest functional issue at our old house was going to be solved once and for all. The Cheerios box would have to fit standing straight up, not laying on its side like it had in our previous home. I made sure we had enough space to make that work. As a finishing touch, because of the tall ceiling height in this room, I had a custom ladder made.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love my magnetic pen and pad that stick to the fridge for grocery list making, the Wellspring Wiggle Pen. I also love Pilot erasable pens for note taking and drafting plans.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I love my inside-cabinet lazy Susans for everyday ease to reach toiletries in my bathroom cabinet.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Mix in some “old” with your new. Everything that’s brand-spanking new does not appeal to me. Owning and reusing objects that have a story is what keeps a space unique and interesting. I guess that’s why I feel drawn to these vintage pieces! Shop thrift stores and estate sales for items, and find ways to mix them in with what’s new.
Thanks Lauren and Dustin!
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.