Handsome Italianate Style
Built at the turn of the 20th century, this handsome New Orleans home had been "modernized" in the 1920s and '30s and stripped of its exterior and interior details. Now, after more than 15 years of renovation and construction work -- and despite Hurricane Katrina -- the home has been thoughtfully returned to its Italianate origins.
Arches once again grace the front of the home, along with a wrought-iron fence and gates. The New Hampshire slate roof was repaired, and the exterior walls stripped of a stucco-and-pebble mixture that had covered the original masonry.
To achieve the circa-1900 look of the original house, homeowners added smooth-stucco columns to the front veranda.
Luxurious Living Room
With help from interior designer Gerrie Bremermann and architect Michael Carbine, the homeowners now enjoy the home of their dreams. The private rooms are comfortably suited for their active family, and the public rooms are elegant enough to entertain the gatherings they frequently host.
Fabrics in the living room include lush silks and damasks that echo the gleam of the gilded furnishings.
Sumptuous curtains in iridescent orange silk give the formal living room a sense of elegance and glamour. Generous amounts of silk damask with double inner linings create the trademark ball-gown fullness. Drapes were made 6 inches longer than the actual measurement so they puddle on the floor for additional fullness.
Two green-and-melon-striped Louis XV chairs flank the fireplace, which is adorned with an antique marble mantel topped by a gilded French mirror.
Color and Architecture Details
Shimmering silk draperies complement the golden highlights on the antique console table and accessories.
Extra-wide base molding has long been the choice for protecting plaster walls. It also gives the electrician a place for installing outlets, while easily hiding the wiring.
Formal Dining Room
The living room's vibrant colors are echoed in the adjacent formal dining room.
An antique French crystal chandelier graces the dining room. Louis Philippe chairs are upholstered in an orange-melon hue to complement the curtains.
The octagonal dining room features a dazzling hand-applied gold leaf ceiling. The antique rug was discovered rolled up in the homeowner's mother's attic.
Painting flourishes give a lift to what would otherwise have been unforgettable cabinetry. Built-in corner cabinets are a space-saving way to provide the dining room with storage for table service, linens, and other items used to serve guests. New windows, including the bank in this room, were installed throughout the house.
The homeowners, both history buffs, understand and appreciate the cultural importance of architecture and art. Exquisite antique furnishings and a collection of period art fill the home, including Chinese coffee tables, pre-Columbian art, very early French period pieces, heirloom antebellum plantation furniture, and a few pieces so significant that they are catalogued by the Smithsonian Institution.
The right architectural embellishments can give even a casual room a touch of elegance, as seen in this sitting room. A simple doorway here is surrounded with molding that borrows its look from classical entablature most often seen on exteriors.
In the master bedroom, a pre-Civil War bed in the American-English style was inherited from the homeowner's great-grandmother. The canopy was designed in shades of rose and melon to match the rest of the house.
Extending off the master bedroom, the adjacent sunroom is all windows and little else. In place of architectural trim that might have added some character, the room was given visual interest by installation of a valance treatment that acts as crown molding, and the ceiling was covered in striped fabric. This stylish treatment defines the sunroom as a separate sitting area and hides its deficiencies.
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