The Suite Life
An historic Lake Charles carriage house gets transformed into cozy guests’ quarters
Thomas Guy Interiors
Welcoming family and friends for the holidays can feel infinitely more enjoyable when everyone has their own space.
Drew Hoffpauir, Sr. had these extended stays in mind for the renovation of a hurricane-damaged carriage house on his Lake Charles property.
“When the property was purchased 10 years ago, the appraiser gave no value to the carriage house due to the extensive state of disrepair,” says Hoffpauir. “It was only being used as storage.”
But Hoffpauir knew the value this space could provide for his large, extended family. So much so, the Hoffpauirs prioritized the renovation for the carriage house before remodeling the property’s primary home.
They planned a game room and home gym in the lower level — which originally housed the horses — and a private annex for guests in the upper level.
Their update required installing new electrical, plumbing and HVAC, but at the same time, they wanted to stay true the historic style of the original structure. To help execute their vision for the carriage house, Hoffpauir brought in Lance Thomas, of Thomas Guy Interiors.
“Being a historical property and one of the oldest homes in town, it can feel limiting to what you can and cannot do to preserve its historical nature,” says Thomas, who is Hoffpauir’s son in law. “It’s also an opportunity to let those things slide.”
His design for the suite leans into the carriage house’s origins and aims to give guests the feeling of being “encapsulated in Old Louisiana,” with a bit of an edge. Luckily, the bones of the space gave him plenty to work with.
“The original, pre-Joanna Gaines shiplap was there,” says Thomas. “We didn’t want to alter that in any way.”
He recommends playing up architectural quirks when working with nontraditional spaces like the carriage house. Making something like an oddly pitched roof feel intentional, by adding a cozy dining nook, can give a space function and charm.
Thomas says he didn’t let the square footage limit his creative ambitions. In fact, he went in the exact opposite direction: “I said, ‘It’s a small space, let’s make a big impact.’”
This impact comes in the form of blue and white pattern play, adding contrast and a dash of whimsy throughout the suite. Thomas outfitted the kitchenette’s open shelves with stacks of antique Blue Willow china that pops alongside a retro-style Smeg refrigerator.
“What’s great about that pattern, it’s been around for hundreds of years so it will always stay strong,” says Thomas. “It’s such an iconic, Old Louisiana pattern and textile, we try to incorporate it in every space we do.”
Thomas says vintage textiles and antiques are a perfect fit for guest spaces, where you don’t want anything to feel too precious. These pieces can make guests feel comfortable enough to kick up their feet and stay awhile.
“Nothing felt too precious, too unstable,” says Thomas. “If I spill my coffee, I’m not going to be kicked out. It feels like there have been many guests before and will be many after.”
Hoffpauir confirms this aesthetic has had the intended effect — since completing the renovation, their carriage house quickly books up far ahead of every family gathering.