The Dufreche Residence is located on approximately 13 acres of forested land adjacent to a creek that ties into the Natalbany River in Pumpkin Center, Louisiana. The design of this residence is a collaborative effort between the architect and also Landscape Architect, Roy Dufreche. Roy and his wife Helen's main desire for their residence is to be "organic" and blend in with the surrounding landscape. The entry sequence from the road to the home allows the occupants to transition from "highland" dense, forested land, to "lowland" grasses and shrubs on a winding gravel road. Upon arriving at the parking near the front entry, visitors are greeted by a wooden bridge and trellis walkway that connects the parking to the front porch. The bridge carries visitors through a "rain garden" that emerges you in the native wetland landscaping before entering the home. The concept of "bridging" was developed while on studying the existing site conditions. The site was extensively analyzed and it became apparent that vines, technically called "Liana's", were abundant throughout the site. This concept is evident in the floor plans and elevations in the way that the galleries bridge the five programmatic pods to one another (similar to the way vines form bridges amidst the forest canopy). The bridges are supported by the pods similar to the way vines use the architecture of other plants for support and do not touch the ground.
The house is sited adjacent to a ridge on the high point of the site. The pods are organized in a way that maximizes views over the wetland floodplain, through to the creek at the edge of the site and around the existing trees along the ridgeline. The "man-cave" is located on the North and houses a work-out area, office, and tv-room that all view out to the wetland floodplain. The man-cave and garage are located on slab and ramp up in the first gallery to the public pod. The galleries were designed to display the owner's extensive collection of art including several "nichos" for larger pieces while "bridging" the pods. The public pod is comprised of one large open space that houses the kitchen, dining, living, and TV room, while providing unobstructed views to the wetland and creek. The guest pod houses two bedrooms that have views to the north and south. The master-suite is located on a peninsula with unobstructed views out of the bedroom, while providing a spa-like bathroom for the owners to relax in.
The aesthetic of the home is organic and transitions from natural environment to the built environment. The material palette on the exterior, comprised of cor-ten steel, cement stucco, concrete block, exposed wood structure, and metal roof panels, along with the simple forms, create an organic layout on the site while responding to the regional South Louisiana vernacular. The interior of the home compliments the exterior with a minimal palette of finishes that are contrasted by the owner’s extensive art collection. The flooring and ceiling are antique heart-pine with dark wood tones through-out including several built-in pieces of millwork and furniture. This allows the landscape and art collection to remain the primary focus of the home. The house incorporates several active and passive strategies that increase the energy efficiency of the home including rain water collection, tank-less water heaters, Energy Star appliances, spray foam insulation, large overhangs, and louvers to block solar heat gain.