Louisiana style

Louisiana style

It all began with a sketch on a napkin.


Great ideas can come at any time and any place. What matters is that we put them on paper.  And that’s what this homeowner did.  It’s a good thing.

IMG_0158       This is the gracious home of Milton and Mary Lynn Ellis, located on a bluff overlooking Lake Wilson in northern Alabama.


The inspiration came from architect A. Hays Town, known for classic Louisiana residential architecture.


While you know you are on the lake, the real focus of the home is on the courtyard.  Covered porches with deep overhangs, and a stunning fountain greet guests.



The Ellises  hired Shapiro & Company out of Memphis to design the home. Catherine Tracy Sloan, formerly with Shapiro, was the project architect.  Sloan now has her own architectural firm in Nashville, with many credits to her name.


As a native of Louisiana, Mary Lynn was enamored with A. Hays Town’s homes because of the rich textures.  Bricks, old wooden beams and stucco characterize these houses.  Niches, and other subtle touches give the homes their relaxed, yet graceful character.


An independent supplier out of Lafayette, Louisiana, Dave Bertrand, found the bricks they used throughout the house from a factory that had fallen down during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.


The brick mason was clever in placing bricks with names in key areas like doorways.  He also made the round columns on the large fireplace.



Old pine beams are from a textile mill in New England.


Throughout the home, both inside and out, you’ll find religious statues and artifacts.


A collection of oyster plates is displayed on a brick wall in the living room by the large table where we’ve eaten many a good meal prepared by Mary Lynn and Milton, both fantastic cooks and generous hosts! I also love how Mary Lynn had slipcovers made for the tops of their leather dining chairs with an E! 


Oysters are such a staple in New Orleans and as a native of Louisiana, Mary Lynn uses the plates and shells as décor throughout the home.


When she’s not entertaining and wants some quiet time,  the sitting room off her master bedroom is her reading retreat.  IMG_0207

Mary Lynn did the majority of her own decorating but hired a young designer who was just starting her own business to help her when the house was built almost thirteen years ago.  Emy Riley in Nashville says it was an amazing first project and she appreciates the opportunity the Ellises gave her to be involved. It was the sense of history and details in the house that Riley enjoyed about working with them.  She stresses that the scale of furniture and lighting, along with the texture of fabrics are big players when doing a house, which is why it’s good to be involved with a client early on in the building or renovating process.


All I can say is the home is comfortable, functional and timeless.


Thank you Mary Lynn and Milton for sharing your home with Stylish Retreats, but also for sharing many meals here,  and giving us so many great memories in this warm and wonderful home.


Thank you for following along. Hope you’ll also follow me on Instagram; @stylishretreats.  

  • Cindy Waggoner
    Posted at 04:51h, 16 July Reply

    Wow……Seeing your post reminds me of that great party Milton and Mary Lynn had not that long ago. Reminiscing the live band playing some New Orleans’s blues in the courtyard, Milton dancing away with his beautiful daughter is those darling shorts and cowboy boots (beautiful legs), libations flowing with some really fun friends dancing, laughing and enjoying a really fun evening and the enchanting surroundings. Thanks Milton and Mary Lynn for sharing your ‘better than fabulous’ home and thanks Amy for posting, stimulating some great memories.

  • Elizabeth Scruggs
    Posted at 20:12h, 15 July Reply

    What an incredible home! This shows what a difference can be made when working with an architect and a designer on the front end early on. So incredibly beautiful, and I love the attention to detail everywhere- thanks for sharing!

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