Anne and Sellers Meric led the way in Lakewood South
Anne and T. Sellers Meric
Cheryl Gerber Photos
Built in 1965, the home of Anne and T. Sellers Meric in Lakewood South remains a contemporary architectural jewel in the New Orleans landscape. “The area was very rural when we purchased the property that had been the site of the former Lakewood Country Club adjacent to 17th Street Canal that separates Orleans and Jefferson parishes,” says Sellers, a founder, along with Ben Cimini, of Cimini & Meric & Associates, one of New Orleans most prestigious architectural firms of the past century. “When we moved into the house, cows from a nearby dairy in Metairie grazed on the canal’s levee bordering our 40-by-200-foot lot.”
Sellers found the biggest challenge with building the large house he envisioned was fitting it on the confines of the 40-foot wide lot. “From an architectural perspective, I was faced with how to build an attractive home and avoid the ‘box-car’ appearance required by the narrow lot,” he recalls. “The final plan of the house wasn’t only well adapted to our family of seven, it worked seamlessly for entertaining not only for adults but also for our children who had friends over all the time.”
The final two-story floor plan featured a suite of three bedrooms at the front end of the second floor for the couple’s three daughters – Betsie (Gambel), Debbie (Ford) and Emily (Serpas) – and a center bedroom for their son, Tommy, an architect. The luxurious master bedroom occupied the entire back end of the house with an unobstructed view of the 15-by-30-foot swimming pool, the rear garden and the grassy sloop of the levee beyond. “I also designed an upstairs den that got plenty of use from the children and their friends,” Sellers says. “When the children were growing up, every inch of the house was used, with individual privacy never sacrificed and family togetherness cherished.” A bedroom for Anne’s mother, Anne Bagot, was also included in the upstairs plan.
Step inside the home today and you can marvel at the beauty of the 5,300-square-foot home that’s flooded by natural light and still furnished with most of the original iconic modernist furniture by great architects and interior designers, such as Mies van de Rohe, Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Eero Saarinen and Warren Platner. In additional, Sellers built some key pieces of furniture for the home. “As someone who enjoys creating with my hands, I also enjoyed painting some of the art,” Sellers adds.
Unfortunately, when the 17th Street Canal levee was breached during Hurricane Katrina, the house was inundated with seven feet of water, which stayed for approximately two weeks. “Katrina caused considerable damage, with the first floor a total loss. Furniture was torn apart and the grand piano, which somehow dropped onto the glass dining room table, looked almost like Pick-up Sticks. Once we assessed the damage, I immediately started restoration and we never wavered from our intent to move back into the house.” He adds proudly, “With lots of blood, sweat and tears, we were the first house in Lakewood South occupied with power after Katrina.”
Surprisingly, much of the classic furniture could be restored, with Sellers even using his ingenuity to save the base of the classic ottoman from a Mies van de Rohe Barcelona chair, refashioning it as an end table to be used next to one of the couches in the living room. Today the house is back to its showplace status.
“Although just the two of us live in the house, the theme hasn’t changed. While we don’t use every inch of the house the way we used to when our family was growing up, we somehow have managed to maintain it as the Meric family archive, still holding onto the treasures of the past while enjoying each moment with our ever growing family.”
An enclosed garden exists on this side of the dining room that also features a bar.
The contemporary kitchen features granite countertops and blacksplash with black cabinets; the upper glass-front cabinets allow for the orderly display of dishes and glassware.
Furnished with furniture by the leading architects and interior designers of the time, the living room showcases that the classic beauty of the home built in 1965 remains intact.
Most of the original iconic, modernist furniture by great architects and interior designers, such as Mies van de Rohe, Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Eero Saarinen and Warren Platner, remains in the home.
The broad brick porch features a blue-and-white awning for protection from the sun.
A 15-by-30-foot swimming pool is featured in the rear yard, with Sellers’ workshop housed in a separate building beyond; the green grassy sloop and a cement wall separate the 17th Street Canal from the property.
A stairway to the second level is located on brick hallway at the front of the house; the walkway continues to the end of the living room on the far side of the house.