by Poki Hampton, photos by Thomas B. Growden

ON GUSTE ISLAND, just three miles west of Madisonville, homes are built with great elevations to avoid being flooded by Lake Pontchartrain. Caribbean and Creole styles are perfectly suited to this terrain and climate; exterior stairways and porches are the norm.

As you walk into the large foyer of this gracious southern home, you are struck by the sweeping views of the waterways and marshes surrounding Guste Island that are seen from the great room ahead. Oversized windows and French doors maximize the natural light flooding into the room and create almost uninterrupted views in three directions, showcasing an amazing array of wildlife. The serenity of the outdoors inspired the interior of this new home of two very busy New Orleans doctors.

The homeowners worked with decorator Cindy Trist to pull the look together, using many antiques, hand-painted furniture, family pieces and personal mementos that reflect their choices. Cindy says, “The personalized, cohesive design, with its subtle color pallet, fits the homeowners’ taste to a tee.”

The foyer is open to the dining room and the parlor. A gilded Louis Philippe mirror hangs over a painted antique piece adorned with a Santos. Bevolo sconces and an antique Oushak complete the look. Heart pine floors run throughout the house, unifying the space with great livability.

The walnut Directoire dining room table, from Wirthmore Antiques, is surrounded by dining chairs adorned with monogramed white linen slipcovers; overhead is a gorgeous candlestick and iron chandelier with beaded crystals from Piranesi Antiques. A wonderful washed Regency mirror from St. Romain Interiors hangs above the antique buffet. Two framed antique prints of bright pink birds add an interesting pop of color.

The focal point of the study is a large abstract, Rain of Purity, by Rhonda Alleman. It is centered over the white linen-slipcovered sofa; pillows by Linda Mattingly add a soft touch of color. On the Lucite tables flanking the sofa are lamps from Rug Chic in a pale blue frosted glass with linen drum shades. An old piece of iron is reworked into the glass-topped cocktail table. The pale blue painted Swedish secretary is an antique from Perch. The rug, also from Rug Chic, is of wool and jute. “Some of my favorite things are in this room, such as my treasured throw pillow with all of my favorite Carnival pins on it,” says the homeowner.

The large-scale great room is a study in relaxed sophistication. The grand grey velvet sectional is a comfortable place for family and guests to gather. The beautiful custom pillows are by Linda Mattingly. A dining table was cut down and the top painted a soft grey to make the oversized cocktail table. An antique Oushak rug from Rug Chic anchors the space. A swamp scene by Kellie Gironde is above a unique hand-painted cabinet which flanks the custom cypress fireplace mantel made by Brian Baughman.

The keeping room, with its cushy white linen-slipcovered sofa and two chenille recliners, is where the homeowners like to have time in the evening to relax and watch the sunset. The end tables are iron with painted concrete tops. Whimsical touches such as the gold leaf crane lamps and a vintage fan complement the décor. A cowhide rug is layered over a sisal one. The oval upholstered ottoman serves as a cocktail table, with a large marbleized tray holding binoculars for bird watching.

The open-concept kitchen is spacious and perfect for entertaining. The clean white custom cabinets and vent hood are from Milltown Cabinets. Polished limestone countertops are complemented by the white handmade subway tiles in the backsplash. A handsome iron Bevolo chandelier hangs about the spacious cypress island.

The spa-like master bedroom also looks out onto the vast vistas of Guste Island. The custom headboard is upholstered in a soft aqua chenille; bed linens are custom Leontine Linens in white and aqua. On the antique Italian walnut nightstands are lamps made of capiz shell bases and linen shades from Rug Chic. The walnut French wardrobe and the Bergere chair are from the homeowners’ previous home. Custom draperies by Acadian Shutters are in a botanical gingko weave of the palest aqua.

The many French doors open onto a wonderful and inviting covered porch, creating an easy and elegant flow. The outdoor furniture from Perino’s includes a smart woven resin sectional and serves to make entertaining effortless as guests can overflow to the porch, even on a rainy day.

“Cindy helped us create a home that is just what we wanted,” says the homeowner.