Shell Beach Chill

The Clayton and Brenda Hebert home

Clayton and Brenda Hebert wanted to build a house that would honor their heritage, the neighborhood and its history. It was essential that it capitalize on the scenic lake setting. They didn’t want to spend a lot of time outside maintaining a large or fussy yard. They expected to host groups of friends and family, and the house – on a corner lot — had to look as good when it was viewed from Park Avenue as from Shell Beach Drive.

Finally, and most important to them: The house had to reflect their personalities. Randy and Glenda Tupper, Tupper Homes, got it.

“They listened,” said Brenda. “That’s huge.”

Together for 32 years and married for 28, Clayton and Brenda Hebert exude a down-to-earth pragmatism, laid-back coolness, focus on family, exuberance for life and humble appreciation of God’s blessings.

For the empty nesters, the project was “their baby.” From the ground up, they were involved in every detail and every decision 100 percent of the time, a feat that can prove challenging to the closest of couples.

“The Tuppers played a huge part in making it easy to enjoy the process, even the pressure,” said Brenda. “I want other couples to know building a house from the ground up can be the time of your life. In fact, I think it brought us closer together.”

Their appreciation of each other, life and the opportunity to build a house that would stand strong against Southwest Louisiana weather conditions and last for future generations was further cemented on September 16, 2017. Hurricane Maria blew into Puerto Rico at 175 miles per hour.

“I had been complaining about the amount of time it was taking to get a slab poured,” Brenda said.

Homes were destroyed and 2,975 Puerto Rican residents died. Brenda’s family was not among that number. Her perspective about the slab’s timeline shifted.

Going with the flow

The Heberts configured the house so that the lake can be viewed from every room, and some of the views offer lake, marina and downtown skyline.

“The color of the sky, the sunset and the water… It’s amazing how different the view can look each day,” said Brenda, “and all I can say is, thank you God.”

The outside is as much a part of the house as the inside. The floor plan is open. The flow is phenomenal, a result of the careful planning process. One of the house’s entrances from the outdoor living area allows access to the bathroom, the laundry and the large butler’s pantry for snacks or an ice-cold drink from the glass-front residential refrigerator. Even the garage was outfitted for entertaining, TV, music and recreation and connects to the outdoor living space. However, one of the most interesting features in this house is one the Heberts saw in many homes during their 10 years in California.

“We just had 54 family members over for a birthday party,” said Clayton, as he opened the fold-back panels of the window over the exterior kitchen counter, sink and two dishwashers to the outdoor living space. “With this, the kids could just get out of the pool and come to the window to get birthday cake, snacks or juice. They didn’t even have to dry off.”

Kitchen and other surfaces throughout the house are scratch, stain, chemical, heat and burn resistant quartzite. Quartzite is the only type of material that can be used outside – and the Heberts did.

The dining table surface is zinc, which will patina beautifully over time and has anti-bacterial properties similar to copper.

“We want people to be able to come over, prop up their feet and put down their glasses without worry”, said Clayton. “This house was designed to be comfortable.”

Glenda and Amber Tupper, Silver Spoon Designs and Mary Williams, Howell Furniture, helped decorate. Clint Holt did audio and sound, including the cool LED display in the attic dormer. Pro Pools did the outdoor living/pool design.

Going and Staying

Every room has a highlight, even the bathrooms. One offers a spectacular view of the lake. The toilet room in the master bath is where to find the popular, comfortable, and some might say most entertaining, seat in the house. Upon opening the door, the toilet lights up, the seat cover opens and the seat begins to warm. Another push of the button and the seat rises. It flushes itself (of course), and has other niceties. Oh – and it conserves water.

The Heberts did not skimp on the accommodations for overnight guests. The upstairs music/media room has a sleeper sofa with no bars, springs or gaps. The two upstairs bedrooms have king-sized beds and great views. The Heberts installed a separate hot water on-demand tank system and air conditioning unit.

They have built the house they wanted, in a way that makes everyone who enters feel welcomed and at home.