Heirlooms, antiques and sentimental décor add inviting ambiance to the DeLucenay home
Photos by Rachel Howard
French country décor, perfectly curated antiques and sentimental family heirlooms fill the DeLucenay home in Hartselle’s Hickory Heights neighborhood – the place where Paul and Stephanie DeLucenay built their home in June 2012 with the help of Hagen Homes. The 3,300-square-foot house features five bedrooms and three and a half baths.
“We love that it is decorated like we always envisioned, with collected and sentimental pieces, but nothing takes priority over living and having a good time,” Stephanie said. “I am definitely a perfectionist when it comes to cleanliness and organization, but I want the house to be comfortable and lived in.”
Each room is special and has a great deal of history and sentiment, Stephanie added; it’s impossible to pick a favorite. One of her favorite features is the French doors in the dining room that serve as a functional storage space.
“My great-grandmother’s china is hanging on my wall, and I use it often. I dearly love it but as a teenager thought it was awful. It’s funny how my tastes have changed throughout my life,” Stephanie said. “I have always been sentimental and have struggled with getting rid of things, but my love of antiques as part of my home décor has definitely increased over the years.”
The chandelier in the master bathroom is from France, circa 1800s. It had to be rewired for current American standards, but Stephanie said it was meant to be in their forever home. “I saw it in a store in Huntsville, and it was thousands of dollars, even on sale at half price,” she said. “Since I am drawn to everything French and aqua in color, I immediately loved it. After looking at the price tag, I knew it was out of my reach. Months later, I saw that same chandelier in Birmingham, lying in the floor of a back row of the warehouse. The store in Huntsville had changed owners, and the entire inventory was moved to the owner’s store in Birmingham. I was able to procure the chandelier for a steal, so I knew it was meant to be.”
The DeLucenays enjoy hosting guests in their home at every opportunity. Family gatherings with their older children and their families are a must at least once a month.
“I have always wanted a dining room and table large enough for our family gatherings, and now we have one. Our bigger gatherings still require more chairs and tables, but we cram everyone we can get into the dining room and foyer,” she said. “This entire house was designed around being able to entertain and host our family and friends, including the open flow of the floor plan, the large living room, the doors that open out to the patio and multiple sleeping areas we have.” The home boasts 10 beds and two couches that are often used for sleeping.
“Family is extremely important to us, and we love nothing more than when our house is full and we are all together,” Stephanie said. “I had to get creative upstairs to get that many beds without infringing on our daily lives, but we have pull-out Murphy beds upstairs so we can use the space in between ‘Hotel DeLucenay’ visits by family and friends. We also have additional beds in the attic that roll out into that space. There are times when every bed in the house is full, including the playhouse.”
Thanks to Tammy Eddy, who owns Tammy Eddy Antiques on Bank Street in Decatur, the living room is another one of Stephanie’s favorite areas.
“She has helped me curate special pieces and decorate my home. She’s great about using what I have and adding things from her store to pull it all together,” Stephanie explained. “She resurrected the antique game table out of the attic, and we have used it so often – for family game night, puzzles, craft-making and even for the kids’ dining table during the holidays, since it expands. It’s the perfect spot that I never would have come up with myself but use all the time.”
Before Eddy helped pull the overall decorating scheme together, “I had things stored away that meant a great deal to me, like my Uncle Will Lipsey’s etchings and Molas that he picked up overseas, my great-grandfather’s map he used in World War I and family Bibles dating back to the 1800s,” Stephanie added.
From the Turkish chandelier that hangs in her daughter’s room, to the door knockers in their master bedroom that Stephanie’s grandmother acquired on a trip to England, every direction Stephanie looks in her home reminds her of someone she loves. Even the bricks creating the front steps of the home are sentimental, coming from Stephanie’s maternal grandmother’s home.
“I stayed with her as a child, and we were very close. Having part of her home included in mine is very special to me,” Stephanie said. “We have the stone from my family home where I grew up. We plan to incorporate it into the back yard landscaping design.” If one day the DeLucenays decide to move, many parts of their home will have to come with them.
Paul and Stephanie are both engineers. Together they have four children and two grandchildren. The family stays busy, and they enjoy numerous activities, like family game nights.
“We have four pets living in the house, so that’s always a mess waiting to happen: Molly and Max, our labradoodles, Ella the hamster and Angel the fish. We even have a garage kitty, Chrissie, who we hope to bring in soon. She showed up as a stray on Christmas Eve, and we took her in,” Stephanie said.