Interior designer Rachel Cannon Lewis appreciates the artful mix of architecture and design, such as patterned fabrics in a room with exquisite woodwork. Her home base in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, gives her an opportunity to combine architectural history with fresh, modern looks in homes both new and old. We caught up with Rachel to find out the story behind this beautiful new house, as well as recent events in her city.

StyleBlueprint: Did you grow up in Baton Rouge? What makes it a special place?

Rachel: I am a Baton Rouge native and I can report it’s a big city that feels like a small town. You always know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody, so you never feel like you’re totally alone here. The older parts of Baton Rouge are some of my very favorite places on earth: streets lined with old homes and oak trees that form a canopy over the road … it’s like a scene from a movie. And of course, there is the oldest, most sacred tradition of all: LSU football. I’ve turned friends from Boston into fans of LSU football just because I love it so much!

“The brick and cypress combination in the entryway to the living room is a classic south Louisiana design element,” says Rachel of the brick accents. “Many historical homes here are built with these materials, so even in new construction, clients like to give a nod to the vernacular architecture of this area.”

“The brick and cypress combination in the entryway to the living room is a classic South Louisiana design element,” says Rachel of the brick accents. “Many historical homes here are built with these materials, so even in new construction, clients like to give a nod to the vernacular architecture of this area.”

Colorful pillow fabric in the living room is from Groundworks by Lee Jofa (leejofa.com). Laquered end tables, which add a shiny touch, are from Bernhardt (bernhardt.com).

Colorful pillow fabric in the living room is from Groundworks by Lee Jofa. Laquered end tables, which add a shiny touch, are from Bernhardt.

“For accessories in the bookcase, it was really more about layering in subtle sheen and different finishes--some parchment, some hand-painted porcelain, some gold leaf--to act as a backdrop to the other elements in the room,” says Rachel.

“For accessories in the bookcase, it was really more about layering in subtle sheen and different finishes — some parchment, some hand-painted porcelain, some gold leaf — to act as a backdrop to the other elements in the room,” says Rachel.

SB: Tell us about the lovely color palette in your client’s living room … how did that come about?

Rachel: The clients were open to any and all of my suggestions on where to go with color. Originally, the wife thought it would be a blue and green scheme but when I showed her the fabric for the sofa pillows, which had pink and orange, it completely redirected the project and energized them to take risks. The orange reappears in several areas, including the office and their youngest son’s bedroom. The pink is repeated in original artwork by local artist, Emily Godfrey, over the mantel. We chose Currey & Company‘s Axel chandelier to finish off the room since the room required a large fixture and a chandelier with arms would have looked too ostentatious.

SB: The dining room area looks refreshingly casual … what did you do in there?

Rachel: Usually, the dining room is the most formal part of the house but since this one is open to the foyer and living room (which are more laid back), we couldn’t go over the top with super fussy furniture. I focused on finding pieces with interesting finishes, so the table has a silver leaf top, and the buffet is walnut with mother-of-pearl facing on the doors. The chairs are velvet, which has both depth and shimmer. We added the sconces to bring lighting down to a more intimate level (the ceilings are really high and sometimes you lose the human scale of rooms when there is no lighting at a lower level), and they flank a gorgeous Elise Morris painting we purchased at Ann Connelly Fine Art in Baton Rouge. We loved the fluid, almost watercolor-like feel of her works on canvas and the colors softly echo the colors of the living room.

Dining table is by Caracole (caracole.com), and chairs are from Bernhardt (bernhardt.com).

Dining table is by Caracole and chairs are from Bernhardt.

A soft gray rug from Jaipur Living (jaipurliving.com) lines the dining room. A vestibule beyond the dining area includes doors to the back yard.

A soft gray rug from Jaipur Living lines the dining room. A vestibule beyond the dining area includes doors to the backyard.

The new kitchen includes all-gas appliances, which comes in handy when the power goes out from storms, says Rachel.

The new kitchen includes all gas appliances, which comes in handy when the power goes out from storms, says Rachel.

“Knowing that the breakfast area would be their main place to eat, I selected this table with a zinc top to be able to stand up to the heavy duty task of daily use,” says Rachel. “We liked the casual feel of the base with lighter wood, so we added a banquette on one side and skirted chairs on the others to keep the overall look on the laid-back side.”

“Knowing that the breakfast area would be their main place to eat, I selected this table with a zinc top to be able to stand up to the heavy duty task of daily use,” says Rachel. “We liked the casual feel of the base with lighter wood, so we added a banquette on one side and skirted chairs on the others to keep the overall look on the laid-back side.”

An outdoor kitchen also includes comfortable seating and a fan to keep the heat at bay.

An outdoor kitchen also includes comfortable seating and a fan to keep the heat at bay.

SB: That’s a cool home office … tell us about how that came together.

Rachel: This room is definitely the most masculine room in the home. We wanted a home office that was functional but also very stylish since the husband often entertains business associates in the home. The leather-topped desk and credenza are strong, weighty pieces, so the graphic collection of prints was meant to draw the eye up into the room. We echoed the orange from the living room on the lamps and used a neutral rug to soften the room (which has tile floors).

A set of nine abstract prints from Soicher-Marin (soicher-marin.com) energizes the home office. Desk is by Bernhardt (bernhardt.com).

A set of nine abstract prints from Soicher-Marin energizes the home office. Desk is by Bernhardt.

SB: What is the design scheme of the master bedroom?

Rachel: In this room, we worked with soothing blues to create a respite for the couple. The velvet upholstered headboard and antique Oushak rug are the anchoring elements here. We opted for all painted pieces to create that sense of softness in the space. The bedding is custom made and we create a little sitting area at the foot of the bed where the couple can drink coffee together before the kids get up for the day. Instead of working with gold finishes in this room (which would have energized the space), I decided to go with silver finishes that would reinforce the tonal qualities of all the blues and creams.

A velvet-clad bed by Vanguard (vanguardfurniture.com) is joined by painted bedside tables by Modern History (modernhistoryhome.com) in the master bedroom; lamps are from Worlds Away (worlds-away.com).

A velvet-clad bed by Vanguard is joined by painted bedside tables by Modern History in the master bedroom; lamps are from Worlds Away.

A softly colored dresser by Lillian August (lillianaugust.com) is livened up by the painting from artist Rhenda Saporito (rhendasaporito.com).

A softly colored dresser by Lillian August is livened up by the painting from artist Rhenda Saporito.

SB: How did the striped boy’s bedroom come about?

Rachel: This is their youngest son’s bedroom. We again tied the orange from the living room into his room with the rug and small details throughout the space. Since he is only 6, we opted to do a high-low mix of furnishings. The striped bedding and headboard are from West Elm and the rug is an indoor/outdoor rug from Loloi Rugs. The artwork is a set of wood-blocked prints from Wendover Art that give a sense of hand crafting to this room that could feel sort of slick without them, especially since the bedside chests are lacquered.

The headboard and bedding from West Elm (westelm.com) are joined by accessories in blue and orange for this boy’s room.

The headboard and bedding from West Elm are joined by accessories in blue and orange for this boy’s room.

An orange lamp shade changes the look of a traditional glass lamp.

An orange lamp shade changes the look of a traditional glass lamp.

SB: Tell us about this other bedroom with the coral as decoration.

Rachel: The headboard in the guest room and nightstands were sort of beige. I threw out purple as an accent color suggestion and the clients initially rejected the idea. Then I showed up with purple pillows and accessories on installation day and they ended up loving it! It helps add depth to the room, which started off on a slightly bland note. My personal favorite detail is the fan coral we added behind the lamps on the nightstands. I love how it adds that unexpected texture and helps the lamps stand out. Their intention for this room was so when family or friends come to visit, they feel like they have a real haven that is private and cozy.

The bench at the foot of the bed in the guest bedroom is from Dixon Smith (dixonsmithinteriors.com) in Baton Rouge. Fan coral propped on the bedside tables brings in an unexpected element.

The bench at the foot of the bed in the guest bedroom is from Dixon Smith Interiors in Baton Rouge. Fan coral propped on the bedside tables brings in an unexpected element.

SB: Give us an update on the Baton Rouge flooding and how it affected you. What should StyleBlueprint readers know about the recent disaster and your recommendation on how they can help?

Rachel: There were nine parishes (counties) in our state affected by the recent flooding. More than 150,000 homes have been destroyed and some of those people lost everything. However, the people of Louisiana showed the world what it means to be resilient and to love your neighbor. Mercifully, my home did not flood although homes in my neighborhood did. After the devastation, I was compelled to help in any way I could: taking meals to first responders, collecting donations and dropping them off to churches, friends in need and shelters. If StyleBlueprint readers would like to help, I recommend donating to adoptafloodfamily.org.

Baton Rouge native Rachel Cannon Lewis is a graduate of LSU (as well as a big football fan).

Baton Rouge native Rachel Cannon Lewis is a graduate of LSU (as well as a big football fan).

All interiors photos by Jessie Preza; Rachel’s headshot by Marianna Massey

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