I don’t usually post articles on current features in American shelter magazines because, for one, almost every other interiors blogger does and, two, the information is readily available both in print and on-line. Yet, this charming and romantic Cape Dutch-style house sited on a lake amidst a grove of oak trees elicited pause. Perhaps I’m feeling sentimental for the Netherlands, a place I once called home, and the spare yet warm elegance of Old World Dutch interiors. Of course, I’ve forever admired the pared-down elegance of colonial-style design and decoration as well, so it’s no wonder this project grabbed my attention.
It’s not everyday you witness a new-build South African Cape Dutch-style residence in America, and therein lies much of its magic. At first glance you would be hard-pressed to place its location: a bucolic setting at water’s edge; towering trees showing first signs of autumn’s arrival; and an honest interpretation of Cape Dutch-style architecture, replete with symmetrical rows of chimneys piercing the roofline. Where are we, Ulster County? Perhaps Montecito? Neither one, actually. You are correct if you guessed Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Architect Bobby McAlpine and interior designer Ray Booth, of McAlpine Tankersley Architecture out of Alabama, realized their client’s dream of building such a residence for themselves on a plot of land oriented toward a lake of their design. True to form, the house’s exterior appearance is pure Cape Dutch Colonial. But inside the traditionally dark and heavy interiors give way to expansive spaces and abundant light. While retaining the same gezellig feeling inherent in traditional Dutch interiors through use of wood paneling, beams, beautiful wood-framed windows, tumbled marble tile and wood floors, hand-troweled plaster walls, and the ubiquitous Dutch brass chandeliers, these rooms are uplifting and made for living in the 21st-century. A sense of pared-down luxury pervades where simple yet luxuriously upholstered furniture mixes with mellowed antiques and art from Northern Europe. Take a peek at what’s in store in the current issue of Architectural Digest.
For the full story read the October, 2014, issue of Architectural Digest (available here). Photography by Pieter Estersohn.