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Un Noël Français

Season’s grandeur in Metairie Club Gardens

A gold-leafed ceiling over damask fabric-covered walls add to the elegant holiday look in the dining room; the 1840 antique French chandelier was purchased from Keil’s antiques on Royal Street.

Cheryl Gerber

During the holiday season in Metairie Club Gardens, grandeur reins supreme. Step inside the home of interior designer Carey Hammett, and it’s easy to imagine you’re enjoying a bit of Paris for Christmas. “It’s the time of year when you can’t have too much French glamour,” says Hammett as she gives a tour of her chateau-style 1920s-era home, which she has decorated with exquisite French antiques. “Each room takes on a special glow during the holidays, and you can’t have too many candles and bows to carry out the festive mood throughout the house.”

A noted interior designer of some of the most interesting homes in the area, Hammett has always been known for having an outstanding holiday home. Dual wreaths greet you at the front door, and when you step inside the vestibule you find white marble floors and tiny twinkling white lights adorning garland and gold bows that dress the winding stairway. “It’s my way of welcoming family and friends to my home,” she says.

The French-influenced living room is adorned with red bows on the 18th-century antique chandelier that’s topped with angels. Garlands and red bows decorate the marble fireplace with candelabras flanking the large antique portrait of an elegantly dressed woman above the mantel. After Hurricane Katrina left waist-high water in the home, Hammett replaced the wooden floors in the room with white and aubergine marble that adds to the chateau look of the room.

“I enjoy entertaining during the holiday season,” the civic activist says. “Dressing the dining room table with cherished silver, china and crystal from my ancestors is a joy.” The silk damask-covered walls and drapes in the dining room add to the celebratory mood, as does the gold leaf ceiling and molding. Here again the white and aubergine marble floors add glamour to the room.

Tall Christmas trees are featured in the den and game rooms. “Everybody knows that I’m a tree-hugger,” she says. “I long ago stopped cutting down live trees for the house.” Hammett has been active in preserving the historic tree canopy in Metairie, with special emphasis on Metairie Club Gardens.

Created in 1926, Metairie Club Gardens is noted for open green spaces that were carved out of what was once a pastoral setting. “The beautiful double alley of oak trees on Northline Avenue is one of the great treasures of our neighborhood,” she says. “Metairie Club Gardens Association always decorates either end of the beautiful neutral group with large wreaths to further enhance the festive holiday feeling in the area.”

It is easy to understand why Hammett’s family and friends always look forward to visiting during this holiday season. Hammett’s husband, Donald, passed away a year and a half ago, and she continues to pay homage to him. “While we all miss Donald, at this time year we know that his spirit will always be a part of Christmas here.”

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