Second Act

Finding tranquility and casual comfort in a custom Youngsville home
Home 18

Kenny and Anna Cefalu knew they wanted to continue to entertain and host family events in their new home, so they prioritized gathering spaces like this formal dining room.


Builder Mclain Companies,
Architect Jarod Hebert,
Cabinets Simon’s Custom Cabinets

Kenny and Anna Cefalu spent a decade raising their family in a 5,000-square-foot Lafayette property originally built as a show home by McLain Companies. After their children moved away, the Cefalus knew they wanted to downsize. They also knew they wanted to take the parts they loved most about their former home with them.

The couple found the perfect lot in Youngsville and reached out to McLain to begin the work of reimagining their dream house. Anna Cefalu says using the same builder gave the new project a sense of continuity with her former home.

“I was able to adopt the things I liked about it and carry that forward,” says Cefalu. “We knew things we’d be keeping, and we designed with that in mind.”

Cefalu let her experience guide her vision of the new space. She says she gleaned so much knowledge from the talented decorators she’d worked with in the past that she had the confidence to handle most of the interior decisions herself.

Jim Van Breemen, construction manager at McLain, says Cefalu’s design sense had a huge impact on the project. “A lot of what you see in that house is from her creativity,” says Van Breemen.

Although the Cefalus’ new home was smaller, they strategically invested in high impact materials and craftsmanship. Van Breemen points to the white oak floors and custom cabinetry in the kitchen as an example. “When people see it they notice, and they feel the difference,” he says.

The home’s kitchen also features a white oak island covered in a slab of white quartzite, which is mirrored in the backsplash. Panel-ready Thermador appliances help give the space a polished look. But, Van Breemen says, it’s the punctuation of natural elements — antique wooden beams and unpainted, Old Chicago bricks — that give the home its character.

Cefalu says her favorite spot is the living room, where French doors open onto her brick-paved back patio and outdoor kitchen. “I can watch the sun go up in the morning,” she says.

For Van Breemen, it’s all about creating a home that will encourage those types of moments for his clients. He noted the two bespoke swings hanging on the porch, just waiting for the Cefalus’ grandchildren’s next visit.

“You can carve out these little nooks and crannies, and it puts you in a different environment,” says Van Breemen. “You can create feelings.”

For Cefalu, now that she’s downsized, it’s the quality — not the quantity — of these spaces that she values the most.

“I am appreciating the simplicity,” says Cefalu. “We had a lot of landscaping, outdoor ponds, balconies — they were beautiful, but they were a lot of work.”

Her biggest piece of advice to anyone embarking on a new build: Never underestimate the power of a good vision board. She describes her method as “old school,” printing out pictures of images she likes and making a separate poster board for each room.

“The more I did, the room just came to life,” says Cefalu. “I could boil down the details, and it took on its own life.”


Categories: Editor’s Pick