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Legacy Building

By Nathan Coker
In Bayou Home
Oct 7th, 2019

The Home of Sarah and Justin Bishop

Photography: Kelly Moore Clark
Article by: Maré Brennan
Contractor: Justin Bishop of Bing Bishop Construction
Interior design: Sandy McMillan, ASID, Intelligent Design & Haven

WHEN ONE OF THE HOMEOWNERS IS an art educator and the other is one of our region’s most sought after residential builders, you know their renovation of one of the most treasured addresses in Monroe is going to be amazing. What you didn’t factor in is the addition of Sandy McMillan of Intelligent Design and Haven to the mix for a next-level experience this family and their friends will enjoy for years to come.

Justin Bishop has been in the residential and commercial construction business since 2002, graduating from LSU in Finance in December 2001 then joining his dad at Bing Bishop Construction. “My dad had an eye for detail and the aesthetics of every project he tackled,” says Justin. “He wanted me to learn everything right away, and I am honored to carry on our family business.”

Justin’s wife, Sarah, is the talented (and patient) art teacher at Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic School, imparting her love of art education on the next generation of Picassos and Frankenthalers.

Sarah recalls the joyful day they closed on the 1980-built Buie Drive house back in February 2011. “It was Valentine’s Day and a day to remember because of the holiday,” she smiles. That day must have been a foreshadowing of the love the couple would soon have for their neighborhood and neighbors. When the Bishops’ family began to grow, facilitating a need to expand their home, the two couldn’t imagine leaving their peaceful nest or any of their neighboring friends. Says Sarah, “From time to time, Justin and I would have small remodel talks.” After living on Buie Drive for 6 years and with a second baby on the way, it was time for the Bishops to either find a bigger house, a lot to build upon, or add-on to the home in the neighborhood they loved. Love always wins, and for the Bishops that meant finding a nearby rental while Justin’s company took their home down to the studs, rebuilding for whatever the future might hold.

Justin knew who to call to put their remodel thoughts down onto paper. “Ricky Newcomer did a great job with our plans,” says Justin. Newcomer was able to design a floor plan which concentrated on a big, open family area, combining a comfortable living space with a generous kitchen and breakfast area. Because of the large windows that look out onto the back gardens and outdoor living space, this central interior room is filled with copious amounts of natural light.

After plans were drawn, the Bishops brought interior designer Sandy McMillan into the loop to give guidance on interiors, exteriors and decor that would work for this busy family on the go. Just because the family is busy doesn’t mean they rushed through the process. “We took our time with decisions,” says Sarah. “For example, Justin had been leaning toward some chunky leather counter stools for the kitchen island seating, but Sandy saved the day when she found the airy, acrylic barstools we ultimately went with. I believe everything turned out great, because we took our time to think through the process.”

Says Sandy about working with the high-end homebuilder as a client, “Justin had some materials in mind to use, like exposed beams, rich woods and natural limestone flooring, and my job was to help coordinate colors, finishes and furniture to enhance the architecture and the structure. It’s so nice to work with Justin. He has a great vision overall about the materials and the use of space for the homes he builds, and his own home is no exception.”

Throughout the home, details matter. Many artisans and craftsmen were used to create one of a kind pieces for the Bishops’ home, like a sinuous curving hallway, a custom front door and more. In the kitchen, Justin designed a custom hood over the gas range. The meticulous fabrication was done with brass sheeting by local craftsman Shane Wallace to Justin’s specifications. In the dining room, when Justin had an idea for a dining table, he turned to his go-to-guy, Franz “Fez” Vaessler. “Fez works with me full time and specializes in challenging woodwork. I knew what I had in my head, he could build,” says Justin. “Fez also crafted our oversized, custom front door.”

The home’s unique front door features four central raised panels on both the interior and exterior. The front entrance features large bluestone slabs set gracefully into the lawn leading to the front covered porch. Large stone planters and gas lanterns flank either side of the impressive entryway. Once inside, the foyer provides an oasis of calm. Sandy employs a contemporary waterfall console, a round mirror and a gleaming table lamp to set the tone for the home beyond. A modern arabesque shaped pendant illuminates from overhead, while a pair of petite ottomans in a quartz-hued fabric rest beneath the console.

An archway to the left of the foyer leads to the serene, Zen-likedining room. Concentric waves of Murano glass provide a water-like shimmer from the chandelier above the Justin-designed, Fez-built table. Contemporary dining chairs are upholstered in a soft neutral. A grey, shagreen buffet atop a gilded metal base and an abstract painting with glints of metallic gold find a home within an arched niche, which mirrors the foyer arch.

With two young boys, ages 8 and 2, under roof, Sandy knew to keep her design ideas family friendly for the Bishops. For upholstered pieces like sofas and chairs, performance fabrics make clean-ups a breeze. Says Sandy, “For the Bishops’ home, I tried to find furniture that bridges the gap between transitional and timeless with clean lines and a little bit of an edge.” Adds Sarah, “Sandy pulled an amazing selection of fabrics. She gave us a neutral palette and let accent fabrics on pillows and our art collection provide the color.” Additionally, perfectly proportioned light fixtures bring in glimmers of metallic sheen and translucent glass throughout the home.

All of the couples’ newly-added heated square footage found its footprint to the left of the old structure, where the old carport had been. The new construction of the home encompasses the master suite, a laundry room, and an upstairs playroom and full bath above an enclosed garage. The entire existing home was gutted down to the studs and reconfigured for modern living.

The mudroom/family entry from the garage is a new space created specifically with the family’s needs in mind. The mudroom lockers and built-in cabinetry as well as cabinets and drawers in the home feature soft close technology, which are a standard in all of Justin’s construction projects. “I could cry; it’s so pretty,” adds Sarah of the little vignette created in the mudroom corner with a painting by Ruston artist Shelly Nealy, a tiny acrylic and geometric bronze lamp from Haven and a precious baby photo of one of her boys.

In the newly-added master suite, bedside nightstands feature mother of pearl radiant drawer fronts, which set the tone for a dreamy palette. “Throughout the process, Sandy gave us great options to choose from,” says Sarah. “We wanted to love everything instead of settling, and we took our time.” The bed, upholstered in a creamy-hued, textured fabric is dressed in an off white diamond quilted silk velvet and accented with bronze velvet lumbar pillows and a graphic white and slate grey smaller lumbar pillow, which echo the color and shapes found in the metallic bedside lamps.

In the en suite master bath, lush quartzite covers countertops on his and hers vanity areas and surrounds an undermounted air jet tub. Justin chose the trompe l’oeil marble tile, which is used for the flooring for the glass-doored shower. The designer chose satin brass fixtures, sconces and drawer pulls, which feature a distinctive backplate.

When asked about their favorite room, both Sarah and Justin agree that the Great Room with all its natural light is the couples’ favorite spot to enjoy with family and friends. The vaulted ceiling ascends skyward and is accented with natural wood beams that stretch across the space. A clean-lined wall wrapped in whitewashed shiplap is centered by a modernist fireplace. Above the firebox, a colorful abstract by Margaret Moses takes center stage. Neutral sofa seating and mid-century inspired chrome chairs create a cozy conversational area. Bright orange pillows play off of the vibrant colors in the Moses painting and add visual interest to the neutral scheme. A quartz side table dials up the glamour but keeps the vibe earthy. A floor to ceiling, open shelved built-in follows the roofline and provides a space for a television and collected treasures. Flooring throughout the public spaces downstairs is the perfect warm shade of oak and transitions to cool linear limestone underfoot in the kitchen and breakfast areas.

The breakfast area is delineated by a bronze pendant shade centered above a sculptural bronze table base sourced by Haven especially for the Bishops. A thick round glass tabletop allows the beauty of the table to be enjoyed from all angles. Nakashimi-inspired arm chairs were sanded and stained to just the right shade by Rowdy Michaud.

The kitchen features floor to ceiling cabinetry in a cool white tone, which is accented with satiny brass pulls. Penny round tile in a subtle grey with white grout plays off the elegant quartz countertops. Weightless acrylic stools with gold bases add an ethereal quality to the space. The custom brass range hood adds a grounding element to the cloud-like kitchen.

According to their dad, the younger Bishop boys love their new playroom upstairs above the garage. With a soaring vaulted ceiling that follows the roofline of the space, a bird’s eye view of Bayou DeSiard, and all the built-in storage to make toy pickup a breeze, what eight-year-old wouldn’t love such a cool, private clubhouse? A full bathroom located just off the playroom means that this flexible space could one day morph into a bedroom or guest room, an office or media room.

During sporting events, you’ll most likely find the Bishops with friends and family enjoying their covered outdoor living area, complete with a grilling station, large television to catch every minute of the action and a fireplace for those days when there’s a chill in the air.  Teak furniture with comfy outdoor friendly fabric cushions are gathered around the fireplace. The flooring is a modern dark slate set in an irregular pattern. Lush planters of philodendron complement the gardens beyond, which were installed and maintained by Riverside Landscaping.

The pros know what makes a home renovation more palatable for homeowners. The Bishops’ advice? “Call Sandy and move out during the construction!” say Sarah and Justin.

Says Justin of Sandy, “She is an unbelievably talented designer and her taste fits perfectly with our style. For our project, she has a ‘less is more’ take on things, which Sarah and I gravitate to.”  

Sandy adds, “Less is more when you focus on these gorgeous natural materials and let the room and situation dictate the styling.” Adds the designer, “I try to pick pieces that make a statement. Then you don’t have to have something on every wall or filling every corner.”