Sanctuary in Louisiana by Mike McSwain
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This 10,000 square-foot contemporary waterfront home in Louisiana [yes, Louisiana!] was completed December 2008 by architect Mike McSwain.


Construction highlights:

  • The house is comprised of a yin and yang of materials… smooth and rough, contemporary and classic, shiny and dull.
  • Exterior cladding is a combination of long black brick, clear anodized aluminum columns and curtain wall of clear low-e insulated glazing panels.
  • Roof is entirely custom, continuous arched metal roof panels (continuous segments – seamless strips).
  • 26 different types of stone, all handpicked by the owner.


Exterior highlights:

  • Water in front and back consisting of a shallow cypress tree lake in the rear and large pond in front.
  • The pond contains a sculptured pavilion which matches the geometry of the house and is framed by a concrete stacked archway when viewed from the front door.
  • Front entryway is a granite slab bridge over a reflecting pool with aluminum columns rising out of the water – illuminated at night.
  • Rear of house has two decks. The upper deck (called the party deck) is made from Brazilian hardwood with black slate bamboo lighted planters along the exterior. The deck is adjacent to a well equipped outdoor kitchen / seating area that connects to the family room with retractable glass walls.



Interior highlights:

  • Dramatic lighted, water element entrance with 30’ suspended ovoid limestone clad chimney over fire ribbon fireplace set in recessed bed of black river rock form an interior entryway vestibule inside the front doors.
  • Behind the chimney is the sunken living room and wall of glass overlooking the lake.
  • Floating wood slats ceiling panels and two flanking vertical planes of limestone contrast with the curtain wall on the other sides.
  • Nanowalls, glass walls that completely retract to allow for a full, large opening, connects the den area to an outdoor kitchen and seating area.

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.