The Art of Renovation
David and Gogo Borgerding with craftsmen and artisans Christian Van Campen and Stephan Turner
Could it be that artists see beauty where others do not? That was certainly the case three years ago when David and Gogo Borgerding found their Irish Channel home. Abandoned for about 10 years, the shotgun home may have seemed unsalvageable, but to this duo, it was a faded beauty waiting to be restored. Soon, they got to work doing an extensive renovation on the whole house. David—who is known for his sleek, abstract sculptures and furniture—and Gogo—her sterling silver and anondized aluminum bracelets (she wears one on the cover of the magazine) and other jewelry grace women all over the world—were their own contractors, enlisting friends who had practical skills to help. Most of the budget, however, was taken up with renovating the major parts of the house: tearing down walls and replacing them, re-doing the floors and the like. For example, the kitchen and adjoining living area were originally three rooms with a fireplace—all now gone. So, there wasn’t much money left to fill in the blanks.
But when there is a lack of a budget, creativity will often shine. David has a friend in the demolition business whom he had put on alert to call him if anything interesting showed up. One day, something did: cabinets from Ochsner Hospital’s morgue. More cabinets were found at the Green Project. The cabinets’ unique color was one that David had always been drawn to—he describes it as “’60s Chevy”—and in fact is from Sherwin-Williams automotive paint collection. After the cabinets were found, everything else fell into place. David made a number of elements for the kitchen: shelves out of old barge board, the mirror above the shelves crafted out of a French door, and the stainless-steel countertops. Yet, that’s where the stainless steel stopped.
“White is the new stainless steel,” declares David. When it came time to pick out appliances, the duo decided to go with white appliances. Yes, there can be such a thing as too much stainless steel.
The white appliances add another counterpoint to this colorful kitchen—on the walls, painted an organic green, hangs a number of artworks made by friends of the couple. The island is adorned with old license plates—a creative solution to what was once a blank space of plywood.
But what also defines this kitchen is its openness—in layout and practicality—and that’s just what Gogo and David wanted. “I like the ease of use. Everything
is out in the open,” says David. “Cabinets don’t hide anything. It’s easy to reach a cup or a pot. It was tricky from a design point as most people want to hide everything.” Gogo echoes her husband’s sentiments, adding that she loves the kitchen’s colors.
Another bonus? On breezy days or when they are entertaining, Gogo likes to open the French doors onto the side gallery porch. Not screened in, the porch is just another element that makes this kitchen more than meets the eye.
• Barge board shelves made by David Borgerding
• French door mirror made by David Borgerding
• Pendant light from Home Depot
• Rooster bought at River Road Flea Market.
• Painting by Paige Davis
• Walls painted in Sherwin-Williams “Antiquity”
• Cabinets from the Green Project
• Painting by Joey Pipes
• “Kooraku” sculpture by David Borgerding
• Vintage orange stools from eBay
• Frigidaire dishwasher
• Salvaged antique cast-iron sink
• Metal cabinets from Ochsner Hospital morgue painted in 1960s Chevy-style auto paint.
• Stainless steel countertops made and installed by David Borgerding
• Island was custom made and is covered with license plates from all over the U.S.
• Original wide plank pine floors original finish, but waxed.
• Whirlpool gas range/oven
• Painting by Cherith Rose
• Painting by Chris Scarborough
Monique Poché Bennett, Cabinets by Design
Design: Bob Harney
Robert Boucher & Jim Boucher, Boucher Construction & Renovation
There is a stately home in the University section of New Orleans that stands out for its unique architecture—Palladian with Georgian influences—as well as for the family who resides in it: the Weavers, consisting of Brad and Terry, their children Brooks, 14, Braden, 13, and Reese, 8, and Rocket, the yellow Labrador. The family moved into the home—built in 1918—eight years ago, and what eventually became apparent was that one day the kitchen, though not from 1918, needed to be reconfigured and updated. The renovation was ultimately spurred on as a result of damage caused by a roof leak courtesy of Hurricane Katrina.
The kitchen as it stands now is noted for its open floor plan: the breakfast and home office area flows seamlessly into the kitchen, then into the family room. It wasn’t always like this. Renovated in the 1990s, the island was originally big and square, and had a cooktop and oven. Where the SubZero refrigerator is now was once the door leading to the basement—and was the first thing you saw when you entered the kitchen. Family friend Chris Meeks told them that it would be a good idea to move the door into the hallway. A bar/countertop closed off the space that is now the breakfast area. And finally, the countertops were granite—not Terry’s favorite.
To put together (and dismantle) this puzzle, Terry and Brad turned to designer Bob Harney, who chose the room’s subtly sophisticated colors and who worked with Monique Poché Bennett of Cabinets by Design to design the new layout and look. Contributing as well were contractors Richard Boucher and Jim Boucher of Boucher Construction and Renovation. This team worked with the Weavers to construct a kitchen that was family friendly and good looking. The cabinets have a combination of wood and glass fronts, which Terry says she chose because, “It would have been too much of the same color in a row.” The same concept came into play when she chose limestone for the island, marble for the countertops.
Terry says, “The kitchen now flows well, and it has so much character. We hang out in the kitchen all the time.”
So what happened to the old cabinets and countertops? They are in the home’s converted basement, which has a small kitchen and kids’ playroom—ping-pong table included. It’s the perfect ending—an old kitchen renovated to the owners’ needs, while the room’s old elements are recycled.
• Painting by Jamie Meeks
• Lights by Visual Comforts from Interior Designs.
• Venetian plaster hood by Jon McArthur.
• WoodMode cabinets made of oak and maple finished in parchment and cottage green from Cabinets by Design.
• Paintings by Jamie Meeks.
• French Provincial fruitwood dining table from Moss Antiques.
• Chairs are from Uptowner Antiques.
• Philly Strip oak floors finished in satin from Crescent City Floors.
• Flower arrangements by Jamie Meeks.
• Honed limestone island and marble countertops from and installed by Schiro DelBianco.
• Wolf range from Cabinets by Design.
• Bisazza “Katherine” mixed tile backsplash from Stafford Tile & Stone, installed by Schiro DelBianco.
• SubZero refrigerator and freezer from Cabinets by Design.
A Perfect Fit
When people go house hunting, it’s a rare occasion that when they finally find their dream home, it has a dream kitchen. Luckily for Cathy and John Schieffelin, when they moved into their home, the kitchen needed no renovation. In fact, the kitchen proved to be “a big selling point for me,” says Cathy.
As it turned out, the couple lived in the neighborhood and John in particular had been watching the house’s more than two-year renovation. When Cathy became pregnant with their third child, Sam, who is now 14 months old, the layout of their old home didn’t work with their new needs, so it was time to look for a new house.
The kitchen is now the focus of family life, which includes Anna, age 6, and Caroline, age 4. “The super-long island is awesome,” Cathy says. “It makes a great work space, and the kids and I can do things together like bake cookies, make crafts.”
Cathy notes how much she likes the kitchen’s layout, which opens up to an informal dining area and family room. “The space is user-friendly, especially with the kids. I can cook while watching them do their homework or play. We really use the space.”
There was only one big change: the wall color, which was tan with white trim. The Schieffelins painted the walls a bright yellow, bringing more life and light into the room, in addition to being a nice backdrop for their collection of African art. The couple met while in the Peace Corps in the Comoros Islands (located off the east coast of Africa), and throughout the house are items they found on their travels through Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda.
Even after almost two years, this cheery kitchen is still a favorite spot for the Schieffelins—to work, play or dine.
• Yellow walls are a Pittsburgh Paint
• Indonesian mask
• Yellow walls are a Pittsburgh Paint
• GE Monogram side-by-side refrigerator
• Cardell Classic II maple cabinets in opal with brown glaze from Campbell Cabinets.
• Viking range
• Pine floors
• Haier wine cooler
• Brushed nickel knobs
• Granite countertops and backsplash
• GE Monogram dishwasher
• Tea/coffee pots from Zanzibar
• Big brass teapot, traditionally used in the streets of Mombasa, Kenya