Located in the New Orleans suburb of Old Metairie, this residential estate grew out of the owner’s desire for a traditionally styled and well-lit home. The initial program included the main house and after the owner acquired a neighboring property, expanded to include several accessory buildings and a pool. The accessory structures include a garage with a second story estate manager’s apartment, a poolside pavilion for entertaining, and a building housing changing rooms, a wine cellar, and a card room. A covered walkway connects these structures to the house with an integrated language of materials and detailing.
The main house was designed with public spaces situated on the first floor and was arranged along either an axis from the front to the back of the house or on an axis that runs the length of the house. At the center of the house is a multi-story Rotunda, connecting the public first floor to the private second level. The exterior is clad in a limestone veneer with solid limestone columns at porches and breezeways. In contrast to the historical references in the architectural detailing, the building’s mechanical, audio/visual, and lighting systems are some of the most modern systems available. As a challenge by the owner, great care was taken to hide all of these modern luxuries and comforts, especially when it came time to locate the mechanical system and its elements so as not to distract from the traditional design.
The main house was completed in December 2004 and the accessory buildings July 2005. When Hurricane Katrina hit the city in August 2005, the house was flooded with two feet of water despite being raised above grade three feet. Because the water sat for weeks, everything below the waterline was ruined and needed to be replaced. Over the next two years, great care was taken to repair the damaged areas and match the existing materials that were to remain. This renovation also gave the owner and architect the opportunity to improve upon the initial design – by replacing the manufactured kitchen cabinetry with custom milled cabinets and adding ceiling treatments to the dining room, library, and family room.