Home Feature: La Grande Dame

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The neighborhood of the Faubourg Marigny has been a well-kept secret for decades in New Orleans. Properties here rarely change hands, and when they do, they’re gobbled up by a real estate market that is hungry for easy parking and private, luxurious bits of the city’s history. 

This particular home on Burgundy Street is a notable gem, having been completely renovated less than ten years ago by the current owners who are selling due to relocation. With its somewhat mysterious history that is typical of the area, the two-story home boasts a floor plan that reflects the character of the city with modern finishes that show the professional skill level and design taste of the homeowner. While the couple is split regarding design taste, with half favoring contemporary and the other loving the bohemian vibe of the original home, those differences combine into the best of both worlds to create this gorgeous project. 

Originally built circa 1893, only one owner is on record through the 1960s when the home was bought for use as a rental investment. A few 1980s renovations left the building up to code but begging for a tune-up when these owners found it in 2013. A four-month renovation produced the clean, open look and the new pool and spa area between the main house and its guest cottage in the backyard. One homeowner joked that once they moved in, they rarely needed to leave: within walking distance are numerous restaurants, a full grocery store, a coffee shop, and gym. “My car stayed parked right in front of the house for five out of seven days of the week,” he said, “and it was never hard to park once I came back home.”


With its long, shotgun-house-style flow of space from front to back, the original plaster moldings and trim work are on full display in the tall, airy rooms that make the most of the natural light that bounces around the creamy white walls.  The striking art collection is the focal point of the home, with the furnishings playing a supporting role in the design. Paintings and contemporary wall sculptures provide a perfect balance to the traditionally-paneled walls with their low bookcases and classic mantelpieces, which hold a mix of books and objets d’art. The improved lighting plan of the house now gives a smooth glow to any space that needs a boost in the darkness of evening but is almost unnecessary during the day as light streams in as was the original design intention.

A full chef’s kitchen features high-end appliances, a large island that is perfect for serving, and a smartly designed layout that allows the cook to visit while working. The extra-long sink features multiple basins and additional pieces like chopping blocks and serving boards that integrate perfectly into the space, effectively expanding the usable counter space for entertaining purposes. The soapstone countertops are hardwearing and completely non-reactive and give the crisp black-and-white look to the kitchen. Travertine floor tiles provide a warm balance and rustic edge to the space that is otherwise completely modernized.

Upstairs, the master suite and guest bedrooms offer a luxurious and restful retreat for anyone who walks into them. Although the master bedroom is along the front wall of the home, the custom drapery provides totally quiet darkness and privacy. When thrown open, however, they reveal the elegant floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the room with bright, natural light and a charming view of the neighborhood. 

Down and just through the classic French doors, original bricks from the property were cleaned and reused to create the patio space that surrounds the very private pool and spa.  Tall, thick bamboo screens both sight and sound from the neighborhood on one side, and the fence along the other side is heavy with fragrant Confederate jasmine and climbing roses.  The original rear cottage dates back to the 1840s – even older than the main house – and has had its electrical and plumbing equipment fully updated. The guest cottage is a popular vacation spot for short-term renters who visit the city. 



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