Sanctuary in the Treetops
Chris and MaryBeth Guarisco’s house of art
The living room features the couple’s eclectic art collection that includes works by many local, national and international artists.
CHERYL GERBER PHOTOGRAPHS
Art is Christopher “Chris” Guarisco’s life. A well-known artist and teacher, he has left his mark on New Orleans.
Step inside the spacious apartment he shares with MaryBeth, his wife, and you’ll feel that you’re in a unique art gallery.
“We love that the rooms are flooded with light, but most of all, I enjoy the entire third floor that’s my studio,” he says as he climbs the stairway to his bird’s nest space lined with huge canvases in preparation for his next show.
“Everything here inspires me. We have a delightful balcony overlooking a broad boulevard where I take a break from my work and just relax.”
MaryBeth, the Director of Convention Services for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, praises the Uptown neighborhood, “We enjoy where we live with its beautiful architecture and trees. I also love having Chris working at home. It’s fun to go upstairs to see his progress.”
Surrounded by live oaks, the historic home is noted as one of the first houses built in the area. The Guariscos have the entire second and third floors that add up to more than 2,500 square feet. “This feels like a sanctuary high up in the treetops,” Chris says.
“It was fun combining our furnishings when we moved in together in 2005,” MaryBeth says. The high ceilings provide the perfect backdrop for Chris’ art and designs. Furnishings, art and accessories in the Guariscos’ place run the gamut from some of MaryBeth’s family’s antiques to items that have been refurbished and painted by Chris.
The couple also owns a collection of antique and new santos from many countries and original chandeliers and sconces.
“I love Chris’ art – it gives me peace, but I have to fight him to hang it in prominent places in our home. While I adore featuring his work, he modestly keeps moving his masterpieces to make room for his large collection of work by local, national and international artists. Chris is a humble non self-promoter, where I want to shout from the rooftops that he’s a great artist.”
Each room offers visuals to excite, entertain and please the beholder, and there are treasures to discover around every corner. A religious statue and cowhide loveseat in the living room, and funky, beautiful sconces flanking a painting in the dining room are just a few examples.
The sizeable master bedroom is accessorized by an antique settee. Catherine and Jordan, Chris’ children, often visit the couple and stay in the guest room.
“We find pleasure in each room in our unique apartment and for lagniappe, our broad balcony serves as a comfortable and serene haven,” MaryBeth says. “Chris and I delight in having breakfast and dinner out there. It makes us feel like we’re in a very grand tree house.”
For Chris it’s a joy to have such an inspiring studio. “Here I can paint and really express my creativity.”