Everything In Its Place
This Broadmoor home epitomizes making more from less.
Architect Steven Quarls, The Hopkins Company Architects.
cheryl gerber photographs
Casual minimalism. It doesn’t sound like the kind of house you would find in New Orleans, but on a quiet street in the Broadmoor neighborhood there’s a jewel of a home that exemplifies this description. This isn’t a typical New Orleans home; it’s the creation of one of the city’s most talented architects, Steven “Steve” Quarls, President of The Hopkins Company Architects; and his partner, Ray Bruce, Director of Human Resources for Loews Hotel in New Orleans.
“I love the natural light and the way it reflects off the walls,” Quarls explains. The home is filled with light. It was washed in an envelope of three neutral colors on the first floor that are, “all similar in tone,” Quarls says. “We used them to open up the spaces and reflect the natural light. The colors have a warmth which gives them a glow.” Because of the lighting, each space appears more expansive.
Furnishings have been carefully edited in each room along with art and accessories. “A place for everything and everything in its place” seems to be the motto for the 1930 house designed by Paul G. Charbonnet, a noted architect of the time. Most of the windows are covered in white linen drapes, and the pickled oak floors downstairs are enhanced with lush wool rugs, in keeping with the “less is more” approach to design.
The pair purchased the house in 1998. “Our previous home was an 1890s Victorian shotgun with no front yard, so we wanted a larger home with a yard,” says Quarls. “The 60-by-120 [square foot] lot of this house immediately got our attention. Closer inspection showed that the structure was in great condition, although it needed some interior updates.”
Quarls and Bruce got immediately to work, stripping the dark-stained woodwork and painting it white. “Our second project was to gut and renovate the master bathroom and closet. Originally the bath consisted of two small rooms, a dressing area with a small closet and a bath with a single vanity,” says Quarls. “We removed the wall and changed the tub to a double shower.” The pair also converted three small closets to one walk-in closet, turning one of the closet doors into a shallow medicine cabinet.
Hurricane Katrina hit Broadmoor especially hard. “We turned the tragedy into an opportunity by completely renovating the first floor. We opened up the kitchen to the dining room and added a breakfast bar between the spaces. Large cased openings were added to all of the other rooms,” says Quarls. “One of the most interesting changes we made was to replace the existing solid door between the foyer and kitchen with an etched glass door to provide another source of light to the foyer, while somewhat concealing the view into the kitchen.”
A sunroom that opens onto the rear garden and dining room with a large bay complete the downstairs, while two bedrooms, a study and two bathrooms are located on the second level.
“We both enjoy living in the Broadmoor neighborhood,” says Quarls. “It’s quiet and convenient to any part of town in just minutes.” Both Quarls and Bruce agree that their minimalist approach to design is pleasing to the eye. They take great pride in the unique, elegant home they have created together.