Couple give their 1962 home respectful updates

Jordana Pomeroy and Edwin Penick found their contemporary house in the middle of a traditional neighborhood off Highland Road.

As executive director of the LSU Museum of Art, she instantly recognized the home’s midcentury modern aesthetics. As a Realtor and former general contractor, he saw the quality and workmanship.

“It is a modern house but with traditional values,” Penick said.

The two-bedroom home was built about 1962 by Don B. Hearin III, who had a lifelong interest in architecture and design. As a young man, Hearin restored an old downtown church, where he opened Southern Interiors, a design shop.

Architect Leonard Thornsen Jordan designed the home, which was built by Wright Adams, known for his high-quality construction.

“We were told that a lot of the doors were salvaged from a Dominican convent in New Orleans,” Penick said.

A small entrance area leads to the large living room with 16-foot ceilings, eggplant slate floors and a wall of glass that opens to a brick terrace overlooking the large lake on which the home is situated.

“Most of the backyard slips right down to the lake,” Pomeroy said.

The living room’s walls, with the use of moldings, form panels that serve as the backdrop for the couple’s collection of artwork.

“The curator in me felt the need to show art, but I was intimidated by the height of the ceilings,” Pomeroy said. “The walls are so big that they require big pieces of art.”

She and Penick solved that problem by beginning a collection of Louisiana art.

When Hearin built the home, the living room had focusing lights that could be adjusted to spotlight his art collection. Penick, who loves a project, is now rebuilding the lights so they can once again shine with their original purpose.

Just off the living room, though large pocket doors, is the bedroom wing with parquet floors.

At the center of the wing is a magnificent library with dark mahogany bookcases filled with the couple’s books. The master bedroom also overlooks the lake and, at one time, opened to a deck, which Penick has since removed.

The couple is working with Suzanne Turner Associates on a landscaping plan, which will eventually include the narrow backyard.

To the right of the living room is a full bar that connects to the dining room, which also overlooks the lake.

“It’s an entertaining house,” Penick said. “The bar is a prominent piece of architecture.”

The 1960s kitchen is a new project. The plan is to expand the tiny room and create a modern kitchen, a new master bedroom and bath, a laundry room and storage.

“We are going to have one continuous roof line to make the addition look seamless,” Penick said.

The couple moved to Baton Rouge from Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2012 for Pomeroy to take her position at the LSU Museum.

They moved into an apartment downtown in the Kress Building and began looking for a house.

When Penick went through a Wright Adams house, he knew it was the type home he and Pomeroy wanted.

“I love midcentury modern,” he said.

A search of properties on the market revealed their home, which had been for sale for several years.

“It had a lot of elegance to it,” said Penick, who immediately saw its quality, even though it was a two-bedroom house that needed some major updating.

The couple purchased the home last May. After a five-week renovation of the bathrooms and refinishing the floors, they moved in.

They are now beginning their major renovation, and are determined to maintain the home’s modern but classical style.

“Jordana and I feel strongly about keeping the original character of the house,” Penick said.