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Good Bones

These guys feel the pulse of their restored home

The grand living room features 13-foot-tall ceilings and 11-foot-tall windows that adjoin the front porch. TOP LEFT: The grand dining room features vintage farm chairs around a table made from old floors from an historic French chateau.

Photographed by Cheryl Gerber

Dr. Dodd Denton and William “Will” Winebrenner moved to New Orleans from Washington, D.C. in 2012, purchased an historic treasure on Carondelet Street and immediately began working to restore it to its original pristine condition – with a completely new kitchen, heating and cooling system and much more. “I fell in love with the house the first time I saw it on Realtor.com,” says Winebrenner, an interior designer. “I had always wanted to own a center hall cottage and this one was the perfect choice for us.”
 

 

 

 
LEFT: The grand dining room features vintage farm chairs around a table made from old floors from an historic French chateau.
RIGHT: Dr. Dodd Denton, standing, and William “Will” Winebrenner with Sam, their rescue dog, in the den of their historic home.

Built in 1875, the stately center hall cottage features a broad front porch and 11-foot-tall walk out windows in the two front rooms.


While Denton settled in to his job as a physician on the Ochsner Medical Center staff, Winebrenner took command of the renovation. “We redid the house from top to bottom, adding a state-of-the art kitchen and a large master bathroom,” he says. “My biggest challenge was re-glazing every window in the house, while salvaging as much of the original glass as possible. I also spent many sleepless nights agonizing over the layout of the new kitchen, with my goal to make it very functional and still have it fit with original interior architectural integrity of the house.”

The 24-month renovation taught both Denton and Winebrenner much about their new home. “It’s amazing how solid and flexible the bones of the house are, with the floor rafters made of cypress, as is 98 percent of the house,” Winebrenner says. “I do think one of the major successes of our changes was gaining a 21st-century kitchen in an 1875 house.” He also says that Steve Bowie, of Steve Bowie Custom Cabinetry, is one of the heroes of the renovation for building the kitchen cabinets, “He is an outstanding craftsman.”

“There is a special curb appeal to the house that sits six feet above the ground,” Denton says. “The broad front porch is one of our favorite places to relax. When the weather is nice we spend a lot of time hanging out on the porch with each other and friends, drinking coffee or wine and watching the world go by.” With Winebrenner adding, “The 11-foot-tall pair of windows in the two front rooms – a living room and study – serve as doors to the front porch, and I think it’s great to throw open all of the front windows and just walk out onto the porch.”

Another interesting change Winebrenner made to the floor plan was to take what was probably the original sleeping porch and turn it into a closet. “I added armoires and chests of drawers to create a ‘built-in’ look,” he says. “In the bathroom we added a large shower and a claw-foot tub.”

The mural in the front hallway by New Orleans artist Matteo Neivert, who earned his MFA degree from Tulane University, is one of Denton’s favorite things about the stately home furnished with fine antiques, classic chandeliers and handsome drapes covering the windows of the formal rooms.

Denton explains that he loves the location of the home. “I like the proximity to Mardi Gras parade routes just two blocks away, and Martin’s Wine Cellar is a block behind us,” he says. “We are close to everything, but it’s still quiet.” He pauses and then says, “We loved our lives in Washington. Yet I always say people talk about three things in D.C. – politics, bad traffic and their jobs – while in New Orleans people talk about four things: the Saints, the next or last festival, food and music. In D.C. it’s all about working; in New Orleans it’s about living.”
 

 
 LEFT: A fine antique bed from noted furniture maker Charles Lee dates to about 1860; Lee was renowned for making ornately carved beds.
RIGHT: The new bathroom features a claw-foot tub and large shower.
 
LEFT: The coat rack in the foyer is dressed with summer hats.
RIGHT: New Orleans artist Matteo Nievert was commissioned to create the mural in the foyer.

The completely new kitchen features custom cabinets by Steve Bowie of Steve Bowie Custom Cabinetry.

 

 

 

 

 

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