New GM brings historic country club into the 21st century.
By Lisa Hanchey
Nestled in an oak grove adjacent to the airport is the stately Oakbourne Country Club. In its 57-year history, the clubhouse has undergone only two major updates, the last occurring 10 years ago. Now, under the helm of General Manager Tom Stewart, Oakbourne’s stodgy interior has been totally transformed with an inviting new look.
When Stewart came on board in November 2010, one of his primary goals was to renovate Oakbourne’s dated clubhouse. “The club was not realizing what a resource it had,” Stewart says. “Food and beverage is such a terrific way for a private club to generate revenue, not just for member food and beverage, but banquets, weddings and special events. One thing we knew we needed to do was to brighten the place up, give it a fresh look, and just bring it into the 21st century.”
After bids were submitting in April 2011, Stewart selected Breaux-Bridge-based Interior Design Solutions. Designers Marie Lukaszeski and Justine Gerald took on the tough task of brightening the dark, outdated interior clubhouse space.
Starting in January, contractors commenced the facelift, ripping out carpets, removing light fixtures and repairing broken items. Gone are the dark, mismatched woods, dim track lighting, blank walls and worn carpet. Today, the clubhouse is completely updated with warm camel-colored walls and cream-colored trim, gleaming rubbed brass chandeliers, textured Baroque carpeting and lustrous plank wood flooring. The walls are donned with enlarged photo images on canvas featuring beautiful sweeping oak trees. New transitional-framed furniture with traditional fabric was added to the lobby and seating areas. “It’s a very elegant space to host any kind of party, including a wedding reception, without having to come in and do whole a lot of decorating,” Lukaszeski says. “That was our primary focus, and it’s been very well-received by the people who have come through here and seen it.”
The jewel of the renovation is the bar, which has been totally redesigned with sleek, Cambria quartz countertops, new cabinets and shelving, stainless sinks and bins and a mosaic glass/stone tile backsplash. Hanging on the wall is a custom-designed metal sign with the Oakbourne logo fabricated by Begneaud Manufacturing. Metal-flecked Polyflor safety flooring covers the area behind the bar. The carpet in the mingling space was removed and replaced with wood plank flooring. “We wanted to identify the bar area as its own space,” Lukaszeski explained. “We have a little more substantial bar now.”
Interior Design Solutions used local suppliers and contractors as much as possible. Architectural Acoustics of Scott installed the carpet and wood. Todd Viator with St. Martinville-based Tilden Bonin did the painting, while Gulf Coast Woodwork installed the mill work. Magnon Electric replaced the many light fixtures. Almost There Plumbing of Carencro performed the plumbing.
The stunning chandeliers illuminating the lobby and dining areas hailed from Teche Electric. General Office Supply provided the dual-patterned Crypton-covered furniture from Carolina’s Embrace collection. Lafayette Restaurant Supply provided the stainless sink and ice bins for the bar.
Opened in 1955, Oakbourne began as a member-owned private club with an 18-hole golf course. About 13 years ago, the facility added a tennis center with a two-story pavilion and pro shop. In the last 10 years, the member areas, including the grill, were reconfigured and enlarged. During that renovation, the club closed off the “Hebert Room” memorializing local PGA Champions and Ryder Cup players Jay Hebert and Lionel Hebert. In 2008, the driving range was expanded and equipped with a 121-foot net to protect neighbors from errant golf balls.
The new renovations extend from the front entrance of the clubhouse to the hallway leading to the casual member areas in the rear. Eventually, Oakbourne plans to update these areas as well.
Oakbourne’s new look is garnering rave reviews from members and guests. The renovated space can accommodate everything from small groups up to 300 guests for meetings, banquets, weddings and receptions. “Since we’ve done this, the response has been terrific,” Stewart says. “People who have been here before have come back and just been floored by how much more appealing the clubhouse is, and how fresh and how bright it is. We are really grateful and thankful that we met up with Marie and Justine. It’s been a perfect fit.”
Oakbourne is revealing its renovations at a ribbon-cutting slated for the end of March. This fall, the club is hosting a Business After Hours sponsored by the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.