Cool Oasis

A home boldly different from its neighbors is tucked away in Central Gardens.

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The stylish dining area occupies part of the great room.

Unique antiques mix well with modern pieces in the house. Baudoin bought hand-picked fragments in France to be transformed into lamps. A planter purchased from Jimmy Graham was married with metal legs by metalsmith Don Estes. Handsome, masculine touches include the use of a lot of iron pieces, a bold, zebra throw rug in the living area, and a leopard-print rug in the master bedroom. Cooley says he himself is “always collecting things.” He recently bought a Jacobean chair with figural carvings from Jimmy Graham. 

The homeowner is a spiritual man and consequently all manner of crosses abound in his house. A grouping of these religious artifacts is found in the entryway, placed next to a lamp made of oyster shells. Cooley notes too that he relies on the Garden District to regularly supply him with fresh flowers, and I couldn’t help noticing the lovely scent of lilac and freesia as we toured the house.

The original concrete floors had been stained and waxed by Jimmy Beck. This was an unusual technique developed for residences in the early 1980s; the approach provides the patina of an ancient Italian villa. Another example of this “what’s old is new again” theme is the galley-style kitchen, with its Chinese-red formica cabinets and black granite countertops. These may be 30 years old but the result is still very functional and striking.

The color palettes used throughout the home are mostly neutrals with some browns. Bright punches of color jump from the walls in artworks by artists such as Sammy Peters, whose painting over the fireplace was purchased from Perry Nicole Gallery. A number of lovely mirrors and mirrored surfaces all serve to bring the outside in. Sculptures are by Helen Phillips and John McIntyre, and the tapestry in the stairwell is by William Robinson; it was given to Jimmy Beck when he first built the house. Cooley explains how the master bedroom was updated last year; he is especially proud of the 12 lithographs on the wall, which were designed, engraved, and printed by Evan Lindquist, a professor of art at Arkansas State. 

The home’s original landscaping was designed by Larry Griffin and later updated with the help of Hector Samada, who moved to Miami, and most recently worked on by James Williams. Cooley says that he loves gardening and can usually be found doing “a lot of trimming.”  The outstanding stick sculpture in the pavilion is by Wayne Edge.

Chinese-red cabinets mesh beautifully with black countertops in the kitchen.

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