Thursday, May 21, 2015

Let's Start From the Beginning




In 2012, we moved to New Orleans from a whirlwind, eye-rubbing stint in Paris.  We rented a little pied-a-terre in the 16th and loved every second of our 30 square meter piece of glitzy Paris.  The first year, a "European double" bed was kind of charming but by the second year, it was time for the extra 3 feet every American couple expects.  So began the plunge into New Orleans real estate.   The Mr.'s parents noticed a house down the street had a for sale sign in the yard.  The market was competitive but nothing like it is today, so we decided to make an offer.  We hired Margaret Stewart as real-estate agent, and it couldn't have been a better choice.  Always available, tough and down-to-earth, she peaked my interest in a real estate career.  Eternally grateful, Margaret!

Long story, short, we bought our first little home on 222 Walnut St. and jumped into a renovation.  At my mother-in-law's recommendation, we hired Michael Carbine and tweaked the house into what we wanted.  This is our reno story:

BEFORE

So here she is.  We knew she needed some serious landscaping, but we loved the location across the street from Audubon Park.  Eventually, we hired The Plant Gallery and changed the look to this...

AFTER
One of the other things we added to the house was an iron fence.  We used Conrad Welding to built the fence, painted it the color or the house and loved the results.  
AFTER

The front door enters into the living room, which in turn opens into a dining room with a wall full of windows.  The open concept and light was my favorite thing about the property.

BEFORE
The most difficult part of the reno for me was parting with the fireplace that was original to the house.  But after some major convincing from all the experts (the contractor, the decorator and the MIL) I finally let it go. The way it was positioned in the middle of the room was problematic for seating and flow.  Everyone was right and it was definitely the right thing to do...
AFTER

It completely opened up the room and made for a wonderful entertaining space. (Note the refinished floors - red toned wood above and a pretty dark stain below.  Thank you Rondel flooring).

It's hard to tell from the first photo, but the room originally had one closet by the front door and the window was centered between the closet and the kitchen wall.  My MIL found some beautiful old French doors at Renaissance Interiors and Michael and team built out an additional closet and centered the window between the closets.  He utilized all of the space above the closets for additional storage which you can access via interior push-lock door.  It was great for our Christmas decorations etc... Also hard to see in the photo is the shelves on either side of the closet doors which we filled with antique books. The carpentry work was really beautiful all around.

Here is the view from the front door.
BEFORE

AFTER

This leads us to the dining room which we didn't really change. There was a shiny glaze on the brick floor that we took to make look more original  but otherwise, everything stayed the same.

BEFORE

AFTER

As always, most of the renovation took place in the kitchen and bathroom.

BEFORE 
BEFORE

AFTER 
The biggest changes were counters and sink.  We put in calcutta gold white marble counters and a big white farm sink.  I hated the ceramic tile floors because the grout was so dirty but it wa something we decided to live with.  I'm sure a good rug would have helped... 
AFTER
The kitchen leads to the family room which opens to the back deck.
BEFORE
LOOK AT HOW WHITE THAT GROUT USED TO BE!!!This is a good lesson on why you don't want white grout in your kitchen and family room.
BEFORE



The doors off the family room open to a deck with a guest house in the rear.  The laundry is located in the guest house and a full bath.  My parents usually stayed out there when they visited.

BEFORE

BEFORE
We took out some of the smaller trees and left the big one.  The trees were Japanese Yews and shed leaves everywhere!! We also added a new fence and painted it the color of the house and lined it with a confederate jasmine trellis.  You will know how short-lived our stay at this house was once you see that the jasmine didn't even have time to climb the trellis (and you know how fast jasmine grows). 

AFTER
To the left of the guest house was a little shed that we removed and filled in with grass. I wish I had a picture of that before! It was pretty bad.  Crescent City Horticulture did the landscaping back here. We put down pea gravel and planted the jasmine trellis all along the fence on the side of the house.  The plan was to cover the back fence in fig-ivy, but again, we didn't stay long enough to see that final transformation.


The rest of the house consists of a master bedroom and bath and one guest room.  

BEFORE 
In the master bathroom, we replaced with granite counter with crema marfil marble.  It has a pink tone to it and is a good warm alternative to the typical gray carrera marble.  

Pieri tile did the work for us and did a beautiful job creating the backsplash to mimic a picture I saw on Pinterest.
AFTER
We also chose to go from two sinks to one for more counter space.  (All of the people that have ever been on HGTV's House Hunters would be utterly shocked by this).  We used Restoration Hardware for faucet and knobs and added drawers to vanity.  Michael Carbine and team added molding and a simple mirror and we found some $12.00 sconces at Renaissance to complete the look.
AFTER
I can't find pic of the master but we actually didn't really do much to it.  Photoed above is the entry to the master outside the bath.  We removed the built in bookshelf and replaced with vanity and sconces.

Below is the guest room that we thought would be a nursery but we never got there!  
There is a cute little guest house out back where we had the laundry and a full bath but I don't have any pics.  And that pretty much sums it up.

Have you done a renovation project to your own house? If so, I'd love to see it and feature it here.  If you are like me, you love nothing more than looking at before and afters.  What did we do before Pinterest and Houzz etc... ?

Have a great weekend!! 

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