Improving Upon Perfection
The Home Of Kelli And Jim Worthey.
Article By Maré Brennan
Photography By Martin G Meyers
Interior Design by Julie Mays
Addition Architecture: Cassidy Keim
Outdoor Living Area Construction: Lincoln Outdoor Living, Bryan Beck
Landscaping: Drew Hampton
Pool Construction: Clay Pools
Perched high on a hill within Choudrant’s tony Squire Creek, the chic home of Kelli and Jim Worthey has served the Worthey family well since they built it in 2004. Jim, who owns businesses in both Shreveport and Monroe/West Monroe, and Kelli had lived in Shreveport for eight years before the move to north central Louisiana. Just before making the move to Choudrant, the Wortheys built a similar house in Shreveport’s Southern Trace and sold it before they even had the chance to move in. The couple loved that home design so much, they ended up building the same design beneath the pines at Squire Creek. “We were the first house built on our street,” says Kelli. One of the main draws for the move to Squire Creek was the family’s ability to fish, play golf and hunt right on property. “And it’s only ten minutes from our driveway to Ruston,” adds the homeowner.
As luck would have it, a young interior designer named Julie Mays would move from Thibodaux to Ruston in the very same month as the Wortheys. Kelli, a physician’s assistant, and Julie, the interior designer, found themselves in the same circles – working for the community in the Junior Auxiliary and learning about serving God in a sweet Bible study group. It just so happened that Kelli’s very favorite house in Thibodaux, a French chateau, had interiors designed by Julie. In addition, both Kelli and Jim and Julie and her husband were high school sweethearts. With so much in common and new to town, the couples were destined to be friends. Soon their friendship expanded to include a working relationship that solidified as Julie helped Kelli and Jim during their initial building of the house and has continued throughout the years.
Says Kelli, “When we started off building, we had two children and built in ‘future space’ upstairs, plumbed, heated and cooled, that we could grow into as needed.” During the second renovation, the Worthey boys, now aged 15, 13 and 11, were moved upstairs. Their youngest child, Katherine, also received a room makeover as well.
According to Kelli, this is the third major tweak to their home. “My husband is an A+ personality and is very detailed and meticulous. We had contemplated adding an outside area and knew we had a leaking chimney and room in the den area off the kitchen that needed attention.” The construction started the first week of September last year, and the pool was finished by May.
Adds designer Julie, “The bones of this home are so good. I always love it when Kelli calls with a new project or idea.”
The couple and Mays brought in Ruston architect Cassidy Keim, who drew up plans for the renovation, adding major livable space to the already generously proportioned home. A screen porch was removed, and the interior living room was expanded. The family lived with temporary plywood walls during the construction phase that separated the construction area from the kitchen.
Says the homeowner, “Initially, all I wanted to do was paint the kitchen white and fix the problems we knew about.” In the bright new kitchen, countertops of Taj Mahal quartzite add a lightness to the space. The backsplash tile is a shimmering glass tile, aptly named “Glass Slipper.” Julie amped up the design with a polished chicken wire insert in upper cabinets where there had once been glass. Unique finishes using craft paints layered in pearly silver and champagne tones, craftsman Troy Hart developed rich patinas on the cabinetry and range hood. The island is painted a richer grey to add dimension to the space.
Just beyond the kitchen and beneath the back stairwell, a darling half bath gets a Hollywood makeover with a metallic grasscloth wall covering and a metallic vessel sink. An abstract painting by Annie Richardson adds a modern touch.
The brick floors of the great room and kitchen are original to the room and were expanded to include the new space. The newly rebuilt fireplace is faced with a glimmering stacked quartzite with a hand-chiseled quartz bench seating at the hearth. On either side of the fireplace a metallic backed cork wall covering adds just a touch of metallic shine behind matching contemporary sideboards on tall legs. Modern abstract art above each sideboard was sourced from a Houston gallery. High backed swivel chairs and a crocodile patterned charcoal velvet sofa with nailhead trim create a cozy conversational area.
Julie and Kelli worked in perfect tandem on the project. Says Kelli, “Julie would give me the dimensions for a lamp or colors for a rug, and then I would set out on a search.”
Where walls had been heavily textured, now they have a soft orange peel effect. Julie chose colors to create a smooth, soft transition from interiors to the outdoor living area. A wall of custom made accordion folding doors open on a track to blur the lines of indoor and outdoor, seamlessly flowing into the outdoor living area, which was constructed by Bryan Beck of Lincoln Outdoor Living.
“With the weather cooling,” says Kelli, “we’ve been able to enjoy being outside even more.” An inviting pool was a last minute addition, which has earned its stripes with this active, outdoorsy family. Outdoor furniture and kitchen appliances were sourced from Lincoln Outdoor Living. The stained pecky cypress mantel above the outdoor fireplace was a piece the couple had been storing in the attic, which got called into active duty. The cast stone ledge is from Ruston Brick. A pair of contemporary, aerodynamic fans from Stuart Irby and integrated heaters keep the outdoor living area comfortable during Louisiana’s extreme temps. The outdoor space features an outdoor shower with hexagon floor tile.
Back inside in the formal living room, an ethereal landscape painting provides a focal point above the room’s fireplace mantel. A gilded etagere is accessorized with beautifully collected objets. A painting by local artist Shelly Neely hangs above a metallic chest.
Just beyond the living room are the dining room and foyer. Once a dark space, the bronze colored walls of the dining room see the light with new taupe wall color, “Amazing Grey.”
The soaring foyer is painted “Accessible Beige.” “It’s a magical color,” says the designer, “as it takes on whatever it’s near. It’s my very favorite color.” Color is something that Julie understands well. While studying interior design at the University of Arkansas, Julie was privileged to learn color theory from a visiting professor from Harvard. “Nothing helps elevate a design more than color,” says Julie. Another of Julie’s recommendations is to paint risers on stairs a rich black, which can hide a multitude of wear and tear.
At the top of the stairs, the teens enjoy the television room with its comfy sectional and state of the art technology. The once dark stained library paneled room gets a mod makeover with a light glaze treatment on the walls. Carpet was removed and oak wood floors were recently added. Six years ago, the couple moved their three boys upstairs, taking in the ‘future space’ to create bedrooms and a bath for them. The boys’ bathroom just received a makeover with a geode-inspired wall covering and all neutral tile.
Downstairs, cute little Katherine’s room received a glamorous makeover as well during a mini-renovation a little over two years ago. Deep pink silk plaid curtains add a luxe dimension when paired with soft grey walls layered with a pearlized glaze. In the room’s corner, the “Beauty Chair,” as Katherine calls it, commands attention. The oversized French bergere, which was found at Round Top Antique Far in Texas, is made thoroughly modern with a silvered frame and metallic silver leather upholstery. The soft blue background of the metallic foil wallpaper of the bathroom ups the glam quotient. KK Wilson glazed the bathroom cabinets in a cool grey and counters are an elegant Carerra marble. Drawer pulls are delicate roses. Mirror mounted tole flower sconces provide ample reflected illumination.
Kelli’s favorite room in the whole house might just be the sitting room just beyond her bedroom. A silver and gold metallic Hooker credenza is painted with a floral motif and provides wonderful bedroom storage. The four post bed with shell accent was a tenth anniversary present and was sourced by Julie for the couple.
The en suite master bath is a jewel of a space with a pearlized wall covering overlaid with a sanded design. No wonder it’s Kelli’s second favorite room. The cabinets are glazed for added dimension. When your designer’s mantra is “function, function, function,” technology is sure to get the nod. The master bathroom gets the luxury hotel treatment with a television hidden behind a two-way mirror. Says the homeowner, “When the boys are away on hunting trips, Katherine and I have fun spa weekends in here.”
The designing partnership between Julie Mays and the Wortheys has proven to be a successful one, indeed, that continues to improve upon perfection.