Love and Family
<p class="p1">Certain homeowners seem blessed with the perfect space and personality to continue the old-fashioned tradition of Southern hospitality, all but abandoned in a world moving far too fast. Carol Moore Bray, still invites friends and acquaintances over for coffee and a little something sweet. When the weather’s right, they sip and snack on the screened-in back porch of her A. Hays Town-inspired home on Kara Bay. Kara Bay is the tidal marsh off the Old Calcasieu River, according to Bray.
<p class="p1">The view of the water and the I-210 Bridge is incredibly relaxing. Bray says the dock is her husband, Nathan’s, favorite fishing spot.
<p class="p1">“We built this house almost 21 years ago and it was supposed to be a way to enjoy life before we actually retired,” Bray said.
<p class="p1">The two-story house with the large third story loft, accessed by a spiral staircase, is approximately 3,600 square feet. Tony Tomassi was contractor. This is the second Nathan and Carol Bray home designed by the late Talis Meijers.
<p class="p1">The Brays lived in New Orleans, where Bray could feed her appreciation of history, including how it influenced the architecture. The elements of the A. Hays Town style found in their home include antique-style brick, white-washed brick, wood floors, antique-style terra cotta (polished and polyurethaned to a high shine), high ceilings with reclaimed beams, archways, French doors, large windows throughout the house, porch swings and wooden rockers. The most distinctive feature of Town’s designs and the Bray home is how the structure is hard to separate from the surroundings.
<p class="p1">Bray grew up in an old house in Vernon parish. She liked the feel of a home that had been there for years and years. However, she wanted all the modern conveniences.
<p class="p1">“The china, not that we had a lot of fancy china,” she said with a grin, “would shake when you walked across the room.”
<p class="p1">Bray said that her parents and her in-laws passed along a deep-rooted tradition of faith. She credits that background, more than her material surroundings, for a sense of humor, including the willingness to laugh at herself and her knack for putting others at ease.
<p class="p1">She collected roosters “before roosters were cool.” She did what many homeowners dream of doing as they struggle to place existing furnishings in a room for which they were not purchased. She started with the furniture arrangement she preferred and then decided where the walls and fireplaces would go.
<p class="p1">The house can be described as traditional and comfortable, furnishings and walls are earthy, natural colors. Keepsakes include an Easter decoration, a sculpture of the three crosses on Golgotha by Nathan’s father, the late Nathan Bray, Senior. The piano on which Nathan’s mother and daughter learned to play is in the foyer. Upstairs is a rocker from Carol’s mother’s home.
<p class="p1">Carol has purchased art from antique stores. She displays local art by Sue Zimmerman. But the most delightful element of the house is the display of items collected during business trips, mission trips and fun getaways: For instance, a paper dragon from China is suspended across the ceiling of the family room. Brightly painted wooden birds from Mexico perch suspended from the family room’s wooden beams. A painted paddle purchased in Brazil, a Moroccan wool rug weaved in the Atlas Mountains and a hand woven tapestry purchased in Belgium are sweet reminders of the places this family has visited.
<p class="p1">“I am so blessed,” said Bray.
<p class="p1">When asked what makes her house a home, she is quick to answer: “Love and family.”