The Home of Pam and Dan Turner
article by Mary Napoli | photos by Joli Livaudais
Pam and Dan Turner found their home in 2012, but the historic Mer Rouge property seems to have been waiting a lifetime for its current owners. The home tells their story and celebrates the history of the the family who has a lengthy presence in the charming small town. Both Dan and Pam grew up in the area and maintain close ties with their family in Mer Rouge and Bastrop. The family moved to Monroe for several years while their children, Jessica and Matthew, attended Ouachita Christian School. However, once the nest was empty, the Turners began to look homeward to Mer Rouge.
They did not have to search long before they found the historic brick home, built in 1938, on Davenport Avenue. Although it required extensive work, Pam was certain it would be the perfect place for them. “I thought it had real potential,” she says.
After purchasing the house in 2012, the Turners spent a year renovating the home while they lived in the guest house in back of the property. “We basically gutted it,” says Pam. “Even the plumbing and electrical was updated. It was a huge job, but now, its home.”
When it was clear to the Turners that they would have to do major renovations to the house, there were only two phone calls they needed to make. The first was to long-time friend and designer, Beth Becton, who had worked with the Turners to design the interiors of their previous homes. The second call was to Lew Hubbard, owner of Bob Moss Carpet One Floor and Home. Hubbard, who is also a dear friend to the homeowners, was excited to jump right into the project.
“It was one of the first major renovations I tackled as owner of Bob Moss,” says Hubbard. “We worked together on every detail of this house, and I am as proud of it as they are.”
The home perfectly reflects the Turners’ personality as a family. Each room features warm colors, a noticeable mix of natural fabrics and textiles, and chic, yet rustic, decor. Their surroundings not only display their personal aesthetic, but their family history. Many details in the home have been fashioned from heirlooms that have been a part of the family for decades.
Designer Beth Becton explains, “I wanted to make sure the house stayed true to heir personality…I like to use materials from the area and the family. Pam likes to use authentic materials, and a lot of items we used came from the family farm and were repurposed.”
Becton describes her design style as “naturalistic,” which is a perfect fit for the Turner’s outdoorsy lifestyle. Both Dan and Pam enjoy hunting and nearly all outdoor activities. When it came to decorating their home, they wanted it to have a rustic feel and include elements and materials found in nature. With that in mind, the Turners, Becton, and Hubbard carefully created an environment that expresses the family’s love of the outdoors and is as functional as it is comfortable.
The arched entryway of the foyer leads the Turners’ guests into a cozy living room ensconced in warm tones. The comfortable sectional sofa faces a rustic coffee table, which has been created from wood repurposed from the Turner Family Farm. A deer hide is displayed on the coffee table, as well as iron tools used long ago on the farm. Cow hide pillows accent the distressed leather sofa as lamps that feature twisted branch bases and jute shades provide warm light to the room. The focal point of the space is the natural stone fireplace, which was renovated by the family. There are objects of interest surrounding the room, from the mule harness resting on the hearth to the shelves hanging on the walls, which previously served as water troughs on the farm. Underneath the creative shelving sits a beautiful glass curio that displays the vast collection of arrowheads that Pam and Dan have unearthed over the years with their children on land belonging to the Turner family. The homeowners have accented the warm tones and weathered wooden furniture with pops of color that appear in artwork, which hangs throughout the room.
Adjacent to the living room is a charming office space with a view of the towering magnolias and live oaks on the front lawn. Sun gleams through the windows and shines on the back wall of the office that is covered with a design of weathered wooden slats of wood that once served as the original flooring to the home. Also original to the house are the lovely french doors that open to a small screened porch. The walls pay homage to Dan Turner’s grandfather, who was a lifelong a farmer, and to the town of Mer Rouge. Pam points out photographs taken in town during the flood of 1927 and on farms and cotton gins during the 1920s. Along a decorative beam of wood above the window another treasure of the past has been displayed. Pam motions above the window and begins to explain the significance.
“Dan’s grandfather, Emil Sisson, had several mules on the farm that he cared for. Those are the names of each of the mules; they were taken from the stalls after the mules had gone. He named them Jennie, Joe, Bob, and Nell,” she says with a smile. It is clear that being surrounded by so much family memorabilia means a great deal to Pam.
The dining room features a heavy, distressed wooden table that provides more than enough space for the family and several guests. In her tableware, Pam has echoed the warm shade of terracotta used in the nearby living room and added touches of blue gray. Throughout the home, various natural elements are used to create variations in texture, and the dining room is no exception. Balls of rich green moss and deer antlers compose an interesting centerpiece, adding color and character. The windows are covered with a simple rollshade in a natural burlap fabric. Along the wall opposite of the dining table is a beautifully crafted window seat made from repurposed wood. Mounted animals adorn the walls and pillows made from animal skins provide comfort to the seating. A rustic coffee table sits within reach of the bench.
“My father-in-law, Bernie Turner, made each of his three sons coffee tables of cypress from the family farm,” says Pam. “This is the table he made for my husband…its special to us.”
The kitchen can be found on the other side of the dining room, and it is the area of the house that the family spends the most time in. In the center of the room is a stunning island covered in granite that has a unique leather-like finish, not the typical glassy shine of most granite countertops. In addition to providing storage, the extended island allows seating for five. Greenwood Custom Cabinets in Bastrop worked with the Turners and designer Becton to create cabinets that were simply perfect for the space. Panels were created specially for the Turners to cover the refrigerator doors so that the large appliance blended in with the look of the cabinetry. Pam chooses to display her collection of artwork from her talented friend, Lori Young of L. Young Studio, in the seating area in the corner of the kitchen. Young often paints elements of nature in her artwork, which complement the style of the home. The deep farmhouse sink is positioned below windows that provide a view of the cozy, screened in back porch area.
Beyond the airy, attractive kitchen is the master bedroom swathed in soothing tones of cool blue-gray. The giant king sized bed and windows are covered in touchable linens that soften the look of the room. The masculine bed is made of pine, as are the stunning floors that flow throughout the home. Lew Hubbard of Bob Moss Carpet One Floor and Home made certain that the floors would be a showcase element of the house, but the master bath is his true masterpiece. The black and brown granite countertops gleam in contrast the to tile floor. A school house window, taken from a condemned school house in the area, provides natural light. What was originally a screened-in porch was taken in and transformed into a large shower that is truly a work of art. A smoky gray section of glass separates the walk-in shower from the remainder of the bathroom. The mosaic tile that is artfully installed around the shower resonates the colors used throughout the room–the chocolatey brown of the walls, the muted black of the iron fixtures, the cream of the cabinetry. Next to the shower is a deep garden tub. Surrounded by expertly installed ceramic tile, the bathtub features a substantial border of tile that allows for the owners’ custom made elk horn candelabras to be displayed. The homeowners also credit Hubbard for creating the sleek look of the guest bathroom, which features even more spectacular tile work.
Hubbard points out that although Bob Moss Flooring and Tile has an established history of installing carpet, the business now focuses on much more than that. They offer custom tile designs and spectacular countertops made from granite. They also work with porcelain and genuine wood flooring of all types. Hubbard also makes custom area rugs to the homeowner’s requested dimensions and binds the edges for a polished look.
The upstairs section of the home contains a favorite space for the family–the theatre room. Upon entering the space, it is impossible to miss the beautifully crafted ceiling, which incorporates the aged pine floors that were original to the house. Each beam of wood has a unique color and patina, and its natural beauty is showcased. The ceiling holds many angles, causing the wooden mosaic to meet in the center as a star shaped work of art. Near the comfortable leather theatre seating is a magnificent wet- bar that features cow hide stools for seating. Pam Turner notes that the adobe mat and American Indian rocks displayed on the wet bar were collected during family travels. The chandelier above the bar was created for the family by an artisan in Texas and is made with a wooden base and decorative collection of horns from deer the family hunted. Off of the theatre room is an additional, spacious guest bedroom and full bath with custom created bunk beds from repurposed wood from the family farm. Family memorabilia adorn the walls of these rooms and provide insight into the history of this tightly knit family. As she descends the stairs, Pam points out the fence post banister that her husband created.
“This handrail was Dan’s idea. We thought we would go with an iron rail, but Dan came up with this, and we love it,” she says.
Beyond the kitchen window is a darling screened porch area that features comfortable seating, colorful decor, and a delightful wooden porch swing. The finished concrete floors are layered with rugs that add lovely texture. Potted plants and greenery add a relaxed feel to the porch, and the breeze that flows through the screens is soothing and relaxing. It is an inviting area that you might imagine the homeowners must spend hours in.
Gazing through the screens of the porch provides an incredible view of the lush, manicured landscaping that surrounds the tempting swimming pool. Perched on the elegant patio furniture, one might recognize the pleasurable scents of gardenias wafting on the breeze. The outdoor brick fireplace ensures the space can be used all year long. Winding paths through the lawn lead to the guest house, which was home to the Turners during renovation. The quarters are the sized of a small, one-bedroom house, and includes a large, full kitchen, elegant bath, and comfortable living area. With such an exquisite back yard, it is hard to imagine that the homeowners would ever need a vacation.
The home that Dan and Pam Turner have created is remarkable expression of their style, but also of who they are as a family. They remain close to their family roots by decorating their home with items that are meaningful to their hearts and which remind them of their love for each other. This deep bond can be felt throughout the home and even be heard on the breeze. As the bells of the Mer Rouge Baptist Church are heard from the back yard, Pam points out the location of the music.
“Those bells are from the church we were married in,” she says.
Although this home was made long before the Turners ever met, it seems to be made for the family. There is no doubt that they will continue to the years ahead in their charming home.