125_Bella Dura balustrade, stepsA Louisiana couple wanted a European look for a new custom-built home, and they found their focus with several varieties of Mexican limestone – indoors and out.



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AMITE, La. – Just as clothes often make the man, a good use of natural stone can make a project.

For Mark and Monta Leto, their Mediterranean-inspired home built outside their hometown of Amite – about an hour’s drive north of New Orleans – could’ve easily been just another large residence on an estate-sized property.

200_Bella Dura Macedonia columns  wainscot pavingClick photo to enlargeThen, the couple fell in love with a Mexican limestone, quarried and supplied by Bella Dura Architectural Stone, while touring a showcase home. Learning that they could have the real deal for less than the man-made stone they’d considered (and aided by Bella Dura’s sister company, Architectural Creations) the scope of stone used in the project increased exponentially.

All that remained to create a unified look was the touch of landscape architect Roy Dufreche, who helped carry the stone from the front auto park through the home and out into a terraced and landscaped backyard – complete with more Bella Dura limestone.


Mark and Monta Leto knew from the start what they wanted from their new home. It just took awhile to hammer out all the details.

Their new home is the second the couple’s built; thanks to travels in Europe, they developed some definite ideas about the project.

“We wanted to build a European-style home, and we started by determining what style was most appealing to us,” Mark Leto explains. “We liked a French-Italian combination; once we decided that, we hired a designer to help us.”

The couple opted to work with Donald M. Gore Building Design in nearby Hammond, La. Having a good idea of what they wanted, the Letos turned to owner Donald Gore to help flesh out the details.

“A good designer is able to work with the clients, and he drew out our thoughts on the things that were most appealing to us,” Mark Leto says. “It was certainly a joint effort on the design.”