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Not every home has a den or a study or a media room, but even the most basic dwelling has a kitchen and a bathroom. It would be easy to take these functional rooms for granted, and many people do. These homeowners, however, wanted more than just the basics. Custom cabinetry, heated radiant flooring and dramatic color choices are just a few of the ways that they have chosen to personalize their kitchens and bathrooms.
In the Red
By Alisha Murphy The gem of a kitchen that belongs to the Halpern family was not always their pride and joy. When they bought the house, Mary says the room was “awful: black and white with a Spanish motif.”

When Katrina took their roof, Mary and her husband, David, decided to fix the kitchen along with the rest of the house.

Before the renovation, the room was lacking space behind the stove. For Mary, a busy mom with four kids aged 4 to 15, there always seemed to be little ones underfoot and, as everyone knows, most likely some hungry big ones, as well. David wanted to fix the lack of seating at the former round table.

The renovation has improved function. The operation was assisted by project manager Karri Maggio, who was with Ledbetter Fullerton Architects at the time. An exterior wall was pushed back to gain 4 feet of depth. Cabinets and table were custom-made by Dean Kageler of AXIS Constructions in the Bywater. The homeowners selected countertops from Jim Owens Flooring & Cabinets. All appliances are GE Monogram.

The overall product has also satisfied their aesthetic needs. The sunlight and the openness of the room are Mary’s favorite features of the new and very improved kitchen. The panoramic view allows nature and the indoors to mingle. Red that was prominent in Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs prompted the bold color choice. For Mary, it evokes a punch of chaos with a side of bright and cheery. The blue hue was lent by a painting that hangs in the kitchen.

Mary says that people still flock to the area behind the stove, especially when she cooks her famous Breakfast for Dinner for Taylor, Gigi, Mitchell and Charley. With the family’s annual hayride party coming up in December, the fiery-red kitchen will certainly be a wonderful place to gather after the cold to warm up and as Mary exclaims, “Eat, drink, and be merry!” • Taking Her Work Home
By Leigh A. Stuart Cordula Roser Gray, AIA, is an architect and adjunct assistant professor at the Tulane University School of Architecture. As if that isn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a husband, John, and a daughter, 14-month-old Gwendolyn, and she still somehow found time to design her beautiful kitchen!

The kitchen took about three months to reach its current look, a timeline that accounts for demolition of the existing kitchen; painting of the room; the design process; and the installation of new cabinetry, countertops and lighting.
Gray enlisted the help of Dean Kageler of AXIS Constructions to help with the project. Amongst Kageler’s favorite features, he notes the kitchen’s methodical, user-friendly drawer hardware system; plentiful pantry storage; and the room’s stainless steel countertops, which he describes as “a good, clean, durable work surface.”

Gray, who worked closely with Kageler, wanted to create a relaxing and welcoming kitchen that also was minimalist and contemporary so as to contrast with the rich ornaments of the rest of her post-Victorian home. This desire is further reflected in the use of bright color.

“The lime-green walls were inspired by the green of the exterior landscaping, visible though large-scale windows all around,” Gray says, “as well as the color scheme of the existing stained-glass window of the living room. The glossy dark gray of the cabinets establishes connectivity between the stainless steel of the countertops and appliances and the lime-green of the walls.”

Her favorite feature is the stainless steel cantilevered bar counter, which complements the appliances. Gray chose to furnish the room with a stainless steel Viking stove and range hood, as well as a GE Profile refrigerator and dishwasher. The outcome of this redesign? “We never use our dining room anymore,” Gray says. “We always eat at the kitchen island at the raised bar counter. The living room and kitchen are one big open space, and we love the atmosphere in the room that is due to the openness and the stained glass and the light. It’s a light-filled space, and we utilize it all the time.” • Traditional Luxury
By Alex Gecan Cathy Burka and her husband, Andy, wanted to turn away from contemporary design and enjoy a more traditional kitchen in their idyllic home by Audubon Park. Cathy, a clinical social worker and photographer, and Andy, a child psychologist, love to cook and entertain friends who jog into their home out of the park, so they decided to make their kitchen as functional as it is elegant.

“I wanted totally subtle, quiet colors,” she says of her mustard, moss and taupe color scheme.

The Burkas performed a good deal of the subcontracting on their own, and employed Michael Carbine to help with “carpentry, good sense and good taste,”
Cathy says.

Of all of the spectacular elements in her new kitchen, Burka says, “I’m just wild about my cabinets!” She originally had made a deposit to one cabinet company, but forfeited the deposit when Jackson Cabinetry was able to meet her vision more precisely.

Burka obtained her appliances from Kitchenology. Most of her appliances are GE Monogram, but her “big splurge” was a Wolf range.

Burka filled her kitchen with antique furniture and design elements, including two sconces from Terri Goldsmith’s shop Maison de Provence that, in a charming coincidence, bore the initials “C” and “A” for Cathy and Andy. She then had the sconces rewired at All Wired Up on Magazine Street.

“I feel very peaceful and quiet,” Cathy says of being in her kitchen, which acts as a transitional area between the inside of her home and the outdoor lap pool. “I like everything in my kitchen –– I’m attached to everything in it.” • The Right Time and Place
By Sarah Ravits Local entrepreneur and real estate developer Sean Cummings hired LM Pagano, a Los Angeles- and New Orleans-based designer, when it came time to decorate his home on Esplanade Avenue at the edge of the French Quarter.

Cummings and Pagano share a common belief that the city is ready to reinvent itself. “It can move forward to a new time and yet still radiate with our signature sense of place,” says Cummings.

Pagano brought a West Coast freshness that complemented the historic architecture of the home.

One room that stands out in the home is the bathroom. Elegantly simplistic, the room is a soft white “that serves as a canvas, allowing the warm tones of limestone, honed marble’s rich texture and elegant fixtures to be the art,” says Pagano. She selected a spoon tub from Italy by Agape, which she says is “exquisite.” New Orleans architect Wayne Troyer provided a handcrafted indigenous sinker cypress vanity, and Cummings and Pagano had furniture fabricated by Dean Kageler of AXIS Constructions. Tara plumbing fixtures by Dornbracht are featured throughout the room, and a crystal chandelier, which was original to the house, was relocated and redefined in a romantic placement with a vintage oversize Italian mirror adjacent to the tub.

Nancy Corzine, nationally known for her beautiful fabrics, contributed the paper-fine linen that was used for the sheers. Juxtaposed with the architecture, the limestone and the cityscape beyond, the bathroom, says Cummings, puts him in a state of grace.

So in awe was Cummings of Pagano’s work that he will continue to work with her with the redesign of his boutique hotel, The International House. “We are a great team,” he says.

Cummings is impressed with the outcome of their collaboration; his home gives the vibe that he, like the city itself, is ready for the future while still cherishing the beloved past. • Marvelous in Marble
By Lilith Dorko Having already worked with gastroenterologist Dr. James D. Lilly on his entire home renovation, designer Susan C. Scheinuk of her eponymously named design company knew exactly what look to go for. “The homeowner enjoys contemporary furnishings throughout his home,” Scheinuk says. “He wanted to be able to come home in the evenings and truly escape into a relaxing bathroom.”  The featured colors are indeed tranquil, with muted tones of ivory dominating the room.

The tile, Calacatta Luna marble in soft white with gray and gold veining, was the first thing chosen for the room from Stafford Tile & Stone. This traditional stone provided a relaxing atmosphere to the room and really set the tone of the whole space. The glass wall-mounted vanities lend a striking quality and are one of Lilly’s favorite features.

The overall aesthetic of the room was a joint effort by designer, homeowner and architect Charles Ruello. Ruello also redesigned the home –– complete with full architectural drawings ––  to make space for this superb master bath. One of Scheinuk’s favorite features of the room is the Kohler ceiling-mounted bath filler, a unique design that fills the bubble tub from the ceiling instead of from a faucet. “The shower is a great attraction and novelty,” Scheinuk adds. The shower also features Kohler WaterTile body sprays and WaterTile showerhead.

Both homeowner and designer are extremely satisfied with the outcome of the project and feel they have created a space perfect for unwinding after a long day. The modern feel of the bathroom is emphasized by the minimalist décor in neutral hues, a sentiment echoed throughout the rest of the home. “Seeing all the fabulous marble on the floors and walls creates a very clean, calm and relaxing space,” Scheinuk says. “I definitely feel we achieved our goals for the master bathroom.” • Harlequin Haven
By Lilith Dorko
Photographed by Sherwood Cox
When these Arabella Street homeowners tapped Stephanie Lessans Adler of Adler Hornbook Design to remodel their master bathroom, Adler knew she would have a challenge ahead of her. She had an existing parameter to work within, and the floor plan called for a Jacuzzi tub, private water closet, large steam shower and a double vanity. Adler worked very closely on each detail of the remodel, including subcontractor coordination and purchasing, and also served as interior designer. 

What Adler designed was a bathroom beyond the homeowners’ dreams: The L-shaped floor plan divided perfectly into his-and-hers portions of the master bath, and the room is outfitted with gorgeous Venetian accents.

“The Venetian theme made it easy to tap into my architectural history knowledge,” Adler says. The harlequin pattern, appearing primarily in the tall steam shower, was chosen by the homeowners and then repeated as a motif throughout the bathroom. The pattern is also repeated on the travertine tile floors, creating a unique design to resemble area floor rugs. Actual rugs were not necessary, Adler says, due to heated radiant flooring provided by ThermoSoft to take the chill out of the large area during the cooler months. “I found myself working barefoot a lot after the floor was finished,” she jokes.

The homeowners’ favorite feature of the redesign is the shower: “It looks great and works even better. The large size of the shower and the glass enclosure make more of a difference than you might think. We wanted a style that was classical and comfortable, a little ‘Old World-ish.’”

The Renaissance styling of the bathroom is further highlighted by the glass and lighting fixtures, such as the large sconces and scrollwork molding of the mirrors. The striped window dressings are reminiscent of a harlequin costume and are wonderfully complemented by the clean lines of the cabinets and plumbing fixtures.  

Adler says the mood she was going for was a tranquil one. “The room was designed to be warm and feminine without being soft and stuffy,” she says. •

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