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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

The Boyer Home 1414 Alvin Street near Shell Beach Drive

20190117 143508rOnce their children were on their own, the owners of this delightful craftsman-style jewel box relocated from a much larger house on the Lake.

The late local architect John Gabriel designed the grand house on Shell Beach Drive which was featured on the 39th Annual Palm Sunday Tour—Windows on the Water—in 2013. Since that time, the Boyers have converted and shaped this property into a chic and stylish residence scaled perfectly for modern living.

The house itself began life more modestly. It was constructed in 1954 by Bill and Monnie Boyer, the current owner’s parents, in a thoroughly mid-century mode, with a good general layout, but with an uninspiring exterior and materials. It had long served the extended family as a residence, a pool house and a guest house, and functioned for a time as a sort of urban camp for members of the Jones and Boyer families.

When the current owners moved back in temporarily after the move from Shell Beach Drive, they soon realized that the location and the potential of this site were perfect. They quickly decided to purchase it from family to convert it to their own.

Professional architect Mark Solari was selected to help make the change from a mid-century ranch with orange brick, redwood vertical siding, large overhanging eaves and undersized windows. Rafters once hidden in blocky eaves were revealed to be fir and were hand-shaped to form decorative rafter ends characteristic of the craftsman style. Period-perfect horizontal siding was installed to replace the dank redwood battens, and authentic wood craftsman windows were chosen to replace the drafty and small originals. In the rear, banks of floor-to-ceiling glass flood the main rooms with light.

Traditional craftsman and bungalow detailing reshaped the entire exterior and opened up rooms to the light and air. Interior awkwardness was replaced with a much improved sense of flow, attention to color, and high-end materials. Simplified wall colors, suitable and shapely trim and woodwork, and enhanced floor treatments made for a refined and elegant interior. In several rooms, light filters from windows on three sides, providing the rare mix of balanced illumination and comfort. The result of taste and hard work matched a lighter, brighter interior with a dignified and well-finished exterior. Now that the first phase has been completed, and the results are more than satisfactory for the couple, phase two is in the planning with changes to the kitchen. Family antiques, collectibles drawn from nature and history, well-chosen artwork and bright textiles complement the interiors.

The extended family are great believers in Mrs. Jones’ “Ming Grove” concept of independent but interconnected extended family. With other family homes nearby, the house is fitted like a gem on its strategic setting, just a half block from the water. Colorful antiques, bright artwork, and wonderful textiles glow in this converted and improved ranch floor plan, which provides light from three sides to several rooms and areas. The immediate grounds are immaculately maintained to complete the setting.