Living on the River's Edge

By Dawn Nolan

Barry and Debra Tourigny bring their eclectic styles together to make a home truly representative of who they are.

When Barry and Debra Tourigny bought their home on the Ohio River four years ago, the newlyweds wanted a place that would celebrate not only their individual tastes but also their shared experiences.

“We have his, hers and ours,” Debra says. “However, each decision that has been made has been a joint one. Everything you see here is a part of us.”

Debra, a Huntington native, and Barry, a transplant from the Boston area, are adventurers.

“We travel about two to three times a year,” Barry says. “We just returned from Spain,” Debra adds.

From custom-made paintings and photographs depicting Florence and other European locales to Barry’s extensive collection of Hard Rock Café pins, the Tourignys often bring a piece of their travels back home with them.

“When you love life, it’s all about enjoying and remembering your experiences,” Debra says.

One thing the Tourignys enjoy as much as exploring is spending time on the water.

“We have a boat and a jet ski,” Barry says. “Soon, they’ll have their own dock. It’s kind of a funny story. Last winter, a dock actually floated down the river onto our property. I told Debra that she couldn’t say no after that happened, and now we’re putting in a permanent one.”

The interior of Tourignys’ home – which features two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a foyer, a living room, an office and a downstairs studio apartment complete with a kitchenette – offers plenty of room for themselves, their dogs and their steady stream of guests.

“We do a lot of entertaining and fundraising dinners,” says Debra, who is senior vice president at USI Insurance Agency and current board president for Facing Hunger Foodbank. Barry is vice president of human resources and organizational development at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

The Tourignys’ adoration for art is evident throughout the residence, and in the office hangs one of the most surprising pieces from the couple’s collection – a copyrighted piece that depicts the marriage of Ferenc Nádasdy to Elizabeth Báthory, the most prolific female serial killer in history and often referred to as “Countess Dracula.”

“The artist who painted it worked with Picasso,” Debra says. “It’s a great piece, but not everyone can handle it because it’s a bit risqué.”

Not to be outdone, Barry’s own selection, a painting of shrunken heads, hangs in a nearby hallway.

Outside, adjacent to their pool and garage, is the Tourignys’ personal ode to Italia – the pizza room.

“There was a hot tub in here,” Barry says. “We ran it for about a year.” Rather than soaking, though, Barry longed for a taste of his hometown.

“The pizza here is not the same as the pizza you get in Boston,” he says. “It’s very different.”

So, Barry set out to build his own wood-fired pizza oven on the property and today, after much experimentation, has developed a style of his own.

“We’ve gravitated to true Italian pizza,” Barry says. “We order all of our flour from Italy and follow a strict regimen of pizza-making.”

Though Barry can make a mean pie, he still claims that Debra is the chef. That, however, didn’t stop him from displaying the award that his team won at The Greenbrier’s Cast Iron Cook-Off.

“It’s kind of our joke,” Debra says.

A painting of Tuscany, done by Debra on her 52nd birthday, also evidences the Tourignys’ love of the country. Touches of other worldly treasures include a crystal chandelier from Turkey and saloon doors from Egypt.

Also on the property are a full outside bath and shower, picnic area and lounge.

“When we bought the house this was a butterfly-themed room,” Barry says of the pool house. “There were butterflies everywhere.”

The couple revamped the space using bright colors and an island-inspired motif.

“Barry’s dad did all the wood carvings displayed in the pool house,” Debra says. “In addition, we have numerous mementos from our trips to different islands throughout the world.”

From cosmetic renovations to complete remodels, the Tourignys have worked hard to transform the house overlooking the Ohio River into their home.

“We’ve done something to nearly every room in the house,” Barry says.

“Barry actually did a lot of the work,” Debra adds. “He’s an executive by day and wannabe contractor by evening. I don’t think the former owners would even recognize the place. It’s got our flavor now.”

return to articles menu