Lueckenhoff quintessential cottage

The quiet and serene environment of “The Watson House,” home to Jim and Linda Lueckenhoff. (Rita LeBleu/American Press)

In 1998 Linda Lueckenhoff was looking for the perfect historic home, not too big and low in maintenance. 

When she saw the “For Sale” sign at the Griffith Street cottage in Margaret Place, one of Lake Charles’ historic neighborhood districts, she made an appointment to see it.

The house was built in 1926 and originally known as #1 Margaret Manor. It has also been called the Watson house, as two sets of Watsons lived in the house in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“I had just about given up,” Linda recalled. “Our Oak Park house had been on the market for six months and we hadn’t sold it. “Houses weren’t moving as quickly in ’98 as they are today.”

As soon as Linda saw the Griffith Street house, she knew it was right. She made a leap of faith, and she made an offer.

“Within two days, I had an offer for the Oak Park house,” she said. “Both homes closed the same day.”

The Lueckenhoff home is the quintessential cottage. However, it didn’t start out that way. 

Linda’s idea of hospitality: Beautiful, but simple surroundings, nice china, fresh flowers from her garden and homemade blueberry and lemon pound cake with hot, fresh-brewed coffee. (Rita LeBleu/American Press)

It took Jim and Linda’s sweat equity. She loves the idea of repurposing and making use of the old rather than buying new. He built much of the furniture and storage in the house, and insists there is no such thing as scrap lumber, only small pieces that have not yet been used.

Tables throughout the home, including the kitchen, were made from eleven white pines felled by Hurricane Rita from the late Richard “Dickie” Crider Beauregard parish property. 

Linda is a counselor by profession and at heart. She embraces the Benedictine idea of hospitality. (Benedict wanted the monastery to be a place in creation where God’s creative love continually was felt and was transforming all who came there.)

“It’s all about simplicity,” she said. “Less is more.”

Linda’s sister, Connie Thompson, owns “Classics,” an Oakdale antique shop. That’s where Linda finds some of her favorite things, including a favorite vintage lamp.

This living area was opened up by removing a wall. The slip covered furnishings, antiques, flowered upholstery and chalk-painted table are perfect for styling this #1 Margaret Manor. (Rita LeBleu / American Press)

 

When asked how she has managed to appreciate lovely vintage items and continue to keep her cottage from being overtaken by them, she said she has learned the importance of staying unattached to things.

With too many things, there is no focal point, Jim added.

The couple lives outside as much as in and apply some of the same philosophy to their outside setting: A focal point, using what’s at hand and creating an inviting environment. 

The landscaping is the result of years of trial and error on the part of Linda and her son, Kyle LaFleur.

He’s also known as the barefoot landscaper, according to Jim.  

Cats are important in this household, the ragdoll breed to be precise. 

“Cats are quiet and they call you to silence,” Linda said. “They’re very therapeutic in that way.” 

Bella Rouge and Francis have their own room. Plus, an outdoor project was halted when Linda decided one of the cats needed a screened-in outdoor hangout.

When asked what makes a house a home, Linda answered: Hospitality. 

“It’s about welcoming the stranger and making a home for family to gather,” she said. 

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