The Home of Mark Turrentine
article by Maré Brennan | photos by Joli Livaudais
Live oaks shade the façade of local business executive Mark Turrentine’s exquisite home nestled on a unique oval cul de sac located in the heart of River Oaks neighborhood in North Monroe. Originally Mark was working on plans with architect Larry James to build his dream home in another neighborhood. “My son, Nick, and I were living near here when this house came on the market. I’m kind of a perfectionist,” explains Mark of the experience. “This house had so many things I wanted in the house I was designing, like cathedral ceilings and good bones.” And it also offered a chance for the men to get settled into a place of their own sooner.
Painted brick and stucco in shades of cool limestone, Turrentine’s home is surrounded by well-manicured gardens and foundation plantings designed by Laura Schween and installed by Larry Griggs, including a secluded garden filled with exuberant roses and a birdbath beside the home’s topiary-flanked back door. “I told Laura I wanted something maintenance free,” adds Mark. Brick walkways lead to the back garden and pool area which is defined by lush and fragrant ligustrum. Jets of water gracefully arc into the turquoise bottomed pool as bronze cranes keep watch at the water’s edge. Chaise lounges with Sunbrella fabric cushions are the perfect perch for summer tanning. Mark added a new spa beneath an existing arbor. Knockout roses in vibrant pink add punches of color leading to the outdoor kitchen and living area.
With Versailles patterned travertine flooring, the outdoor living area is warmed by a large woodburning fireplace and cozied up with wrought iron furniture with plush Sunbrella fabric cushions in a soothing pebble color. An arched mirror reflects images of the pool and beyond, and a plasma screen above the fireplace adds another element of entertainment.
The pool bathroom is just inside the home was redesigned by Misti Cordell. The marble shower with elegant glass door features a dark river rock inset. A copper vessel sink sits atop a granite topped vanity. Cordell was instrumental in helping Mark choose the hard materials and finishes used throughout the home, as well as redesigning the home’s bathrooms. “We started with renovating the floors and paint, and then we kept going,” Mark says with a smile, remembering how he made this home his own. The whole downstairs flooring was black slate and carpet, which Mark replaced with large plank black walnut flooring.
The home’s media room/den has a plethora of man-friendly features. With a soaring cathedral ceiling covered in a pickled pine, the den, outfitted with surround sound and a 144” projection screen by Mason Granade’s Home Cinema, is the perfect venue that puts you in the center of the action. Masculine overstuffed leather sofas and comfy lounge chairs that swivel keep everyone’s head in the game. It’s no wonder that Mark’s home is ground zero for watching everything from the Olympics to sporting events. Above a large brick fireplace is a whimsical dog portrait, reminiscent of William Wegman’s famous weimaraner photographs, found by Mark’s friend Suzanne Underwood, who shares a common sense of style with Turrentine. A driftwood sculpture, European deer mounts and a shotgun that was a given to Mark’s dad when his friend, Fred Jacobs, passed away add interest to a corner of the man cave. Steering wheels from vintage English sports cars allude to Mark’s “need for speed.” Grins the effervescent Turrentine, who is president of Standard Enterprises, “I like to go fast,” but when he slows down you’ll more than likely find him in the media room or his beloved wine cellar.
A home for Mark, a connoisseur of the grape, would not be complete without a wine cellar to house his vast collection. “The wine cellar is one of those places where I went a little crazy,” he laughs. In what used to be a closet, a glass-paneled, coded-lock door grants access to a temperature and humidity controlled wine cellar. Key Millwork created the cabinetry with pullout drawers for caskets and insets for special vintages with LED lighting. Rough edge natural stone mosaic tiles provide a dramatic backdrop for a 100-year-old, French grapevine candelabra the homeowner found on Etsy. The walls were faux finished by Amy Peters Simmermaker to enhance the room’s cavern-like appearance.
The den’s wet bar with a copper awning with rich patina also received a complete overhaul replacing the bar top with black walnut. Upper cabinets with glass panes and rough stone mosaic tiles travel up the wall adding interest and texture. Amy Peters Simmermaker used her faux finishing artistry to make existing cabinetry look like black walnut.
The wine cellar and media room are not the only high tech additions to the home. Mark had Home Cinema wire his home so that all electronics, heat and air can be controlled through a central panel or through your iPhone or iPad. “Mark loves his gadgets,” adds his girlfriend Michelle.
In the more formal central living room, Mark’s love of classic French furnishings becomes more defined. The large Impressionistic painting by America Makke above the fireplace mantle was a housewarming gift to Mark from his father. Mark describes how Makke’s wife, Eva, also an accomplished painter, offered to paint Mark into the painting. Once Eva had a photograph of Mark, she was able to paint him into the foreground of the painting and sent signed paintbrushes, paints and a book about Makke’s work as well. Lanece Lasseter framed the brushes and paints sent by the artists, and Mark has hung them in an alcove leading to the kitchen. Lanece also framed three Makke prints that line the wall of the staircase. Says Mark, “Lanece came up with great ideas for framing and helping me place my artwork.” The original turned wooden staircase railings were replaced with wrought iron railings custom designed by the homeowner and Walker Glenn and welded by Shane Wallace. A large bronze sculpture, “Celebration,” by Vietnamese artist Tuan is placed in front of a beautifully draped window that looks out onto the pool and outdoor living areas. Drapery throughout the home was custom designed and fabricated by Sandy Gimber of Haven Interiors. Furnishings in luxe gold velvet and rich burgundy leathers are illuminated by a French chandelier. ”I tend to like ornate French style furnishings, and my friend Suzanne Underwood has been a great resource and has guided me as I’ve furnished by home. She even went to Malouf and John Richard in Mississippi, handpicking things I might like and brought back a truckload of furniture and accent pieces for me to try. She knew that I know what I like when I see it.”
Throughout Turrentine’s home, designer Misti Cordell introduced a subdued palette of colors. New paneled wainscot, luxurious damask wallpaper, and columns which add definition to the space add architectural details that take the dining room’s “wow factor” up several notches. Antique idyllic landscape paintings which the homeowner acquired from a Swedish dealer flank a large, custom-carved gilt mirror from Haven above a marble topped buffet. “A lot of my furniture came from Malouf, including the dining room table and chairs,” explains Mark. “Beverly from Malouf took dimensions of the house, I would pick designs that I liked and she would make sure the furniture would be the correct scale for the space.” The drapery, created by Sandy and Jessie from Haven, is a pleated silk with bullion fringe hung from a gilded rod.
Through a brick arch lies the home’s spacious kitchen with beamed ceilings. “One of my favorite things about this kitchen,” says Mark with a grin, “is the built-in Miele coffeemaker.” Mark and Michelle traveled to a Dallas warehouse to find just the right marble for countertops and backsplashes in the kitchen and what they found was a spectacular greyish-white marble with subtle sage green veining. “Michelle has been great in helping me pull all this together,” explains Mark. Stainless steel appliances like a double door Thermador refrigerator and double oven gas range make this a cook’s kitchen. Mark and his son especially love when Michelle bakes on the weekends. A built-in table, which extends from the edge of an island and is topped by a wine barrel lid converted into a lazy Susan, was restained a richer color by Amy Peters Simmermaker.
Just beyond the formal living room is Mark’s personal office. “I’ve had this desk for a long time,” Mark says wistfully. Wood paneling and a coffered ceiling with recessed lighting was added to create a masculine feel. A Glenn Gore “Spirit of LSU” print creates a focal point within the built-in cabinetry. An inlaid bombe chest with a marble top is a prized piece Mark acquired from an antique dealer in California. It originally belonged to the estate of General Curtis Lemay, an Air Force General, an architect of the Cold War and a vice presidential running mate of George Wallace.
A full bath is attached to the office and features a shower with metallic sculptural tile inset within a dark metallic rectangular tile designed by Misti Cordell. The coffered ceiling from the office carries over into the bath. Walls are covered in an elegant damask wallpaper. A vessel sink is a jewel atop the bathroom vanity.
The master bedroom’s carved bed is covered in dreamy custom bedding and pillows designed by Sandy Gimber from Haven. The bench at the foot of the bed was reupholstered by Gimber in an elegant cut velvet. Lovely silk panels, also designed by Gimber and her staff, cover the double windows which look out onto the pool and backyard. To organize his closet, Mark called in Susan Duke, who is known for her no-nonsense approach to storage. Built-ins were designed and now there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.
The master bathroom is a harmonious space with double vanity sinks and a jetted tub surrounded by built-in niches. Amy Peters Simmermaker faux finished cabinetry and doors which are fitted with jewel like mother of pearl drawer pulls. Fixtures, mirrors and lighting were found at Restoration Hardware. An opening fitted with a pair of faux-finished swinging doors leads the extravagant walk-in shower designed by Misti Cordell with oversized rain shower fixture and decorative tiles with leaf designs inset into floor to ceiling travertine tiles.
Turrentine’s home makeover was made possible by a man who knows what he wants and makes it happen with the help of his designing friends.