Would you be brave enough to cut a historic home in half, move it approximately 15 miles, down winding streets, around power lines and water mains, across Interstate 20, and out to a dairy farm in the country? If there’s one thing I’ve learned about a home, it’s that NOTHING is impossible with a lot of grit, determination and soul.
Enter Ms. Lucille Long Hunt who built this gorgeous home in the 1920’s on Vienna Street in Ruston, Louisiana. If you are from Louisiana, you might immediately recognize her maiden name and associate her with the notorious Long family; Huey P. Long, former governor of Louisiana, who was assassinated on the steps of the Capitol Building in Baton Rouge and “Uncle Earl” Long, also a former governor of Louisiana, were Lucille’s brothers.
Rumor has it Lucille fashioned her home in the shape of an H so when her brothers flew over Ruston, they could see her home from the air.
Years went by, and sadly Lucille passed away from a brief illness in 1985 at the age of 87. The home changed hands, and eventually fell into the ownership of Mike and Yvonne Craft. In January 1986, the Craft family, essentially, cut the home in half and hauled this classical piece of architecture about 15 miles west of Ruston out into the countryside. The Craft home became the primary homestead on a dairy farm, located on thirty-six acres near Hilly. The house was picturesquely placed atop a gorgeous meadow. Later, a pecan orchard was planted and many of the original trees still stand today! Eventually the Crafts sold the home to William and Laura Lewis.
Around 2007, the current owners, Richard and Brenda Lee, purchased the Hunt home from the Lewises and began extensive renovations. If you are from the area, you may know Brenda, and her son Travis, as the proprietors of a vintage inspired living boutique in Ruston called Chartreuse Pear. (If you haven’t been or shopped their online store it is definitely a must see! They have received features in both Southern Living and Romantic Homes magazines.)
Back in the spring, Hector, Jax and I got to spend an entire day with Richard, Brenda and Travis. We started at their gorgeous shop in downtown Ruston and later went for a tour of this historical home.
As we made our way up the winding drive, tucked into a pecan orchard, I was immediately taken aback by the unique and impressive style of the home. It is most definitely shaped like an H, so the rumor of the build, I suspect, is accurate.
We were floored by the improvements Richard and Brenda have made to their historic home. The essence and influence of the Chartreuse Pear carries over into their home decor. While all modern conveniences have been added, Brenda’s decor retains a cozy, timeless feel. When asked, Brenda described her style as French Farmhouse with a touch of Bohemian influence.
Once we stepped inside, Brenda’s kitchen immediately drew me in! The expansive open floor plan gave us a direct view into this stunning space. It was FILLED with vintage wares sourced from family heirlooms, garage sales, antique stores and flea markets. These one-of-a-kind items make Brenda’s home extra special. From antique scales, to ironstone pottery, to old signs, this timeless culinary space is definitely magazine worthy!
A few steps away, Brenda created a walk-in pantry, complete with a picture window door and an antique transom window. You would think you stepped into a mercantile from ye days of ole. Like me, Brenda appreciates thrifted decor and has done a masterful job styling her home without spending a ton of money. Her pantry is filled with jadeite pieces, most of which were thrifted. She also has organized her dry goods into jars just like Lucille would have done in the 1920s.
Just off the kitchen is a sitting nook that leads into the laundry room. If you’ve followed my current renovation, the #cottageonfort, you know I had @haydenpaints come from Atlanta to paint checkboard floors. My heart skipped a beat when I saw Brenda’s gray and white checkerboard painted floors adorning this space. The laundry room also includes a vintage porcelain sink inset to a chippy vanity (and a picture of it on Instagram has garnered more than 20,000 likes). To complete this space, Brenda displayed her late mother’s R. Atkinson Fox print collection and placed a cute cup by the sink and filled it with vintage paintbrushes.
Richard and Brenda’s master suite is currently under major renovation and they have actually turned one of the two living areas into their bedroom for the time being. She allowed us to see a little sneaky peek of the space. When it’s all complete, I bet she’ll show us the results. The progress being made is exciting and I look forward to seeing it finished!
In total, the Lee home boasts approximately 4500 sq ft (3500 sq ft heated) and is 3 bedrooms and 3 full baths. The backporch is the perfect place for sweet tea sippin’ and overlooks a gorgeous pool installed by the Lees in 2010. Before leaving, we spent some time in their glorious yard and saw many other ornamental yard pieces that Brenda, once again, worked her magic to repurpose into works of art. (And Jax especially enjoyed being off his leash and roaming around the pecan orchard!)
I asked Brenda what it meant to reside in a home that was frequented by famous politicians and dignitaries. “It definitely makes for interesting conversations! I think meeting the grandchildren of Lucille Long Hunt, having them walk through the house and tell me personal stories about their grandmother, has been the best part.” What a gift for Brenda to hear these stories and be able to tie them to her historic home.
Spending the day with Richard, Brenda and Travis felt like a breath of fresh air. Hector and I both left feeling inspired by Brenda’s unique style and encouraged by yet another historic home that has been loving restored and saved. Richard and Brenda hope that by sharing their home’s story, others will be encouraged to move forward and save their own piece of history. You can connect with Richard, Brenda and Travis in person at the Chartreuse Pear located at 210 W. Park Ave in Ruston, Louisiana or online at www.chartreusepear.com. In addition, you can see daily updates from their adorable shop on Instagram and Facebook, @chartreusepear.
I’m so excited to finally begin this new series on my blog, Finding Home. I’ve got LOTS more fun houses to share with you later this summer and into the fall. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a one! (And click HERE to submit the story of your home.)