A Study in Good Taste
Gardens and art in Janet and Leonard Tallerine’s Federal-style home
An intimate sitting room overlooks the front formal garden.
Photographed by Cheryl Gerber
The Federal-style home of Janet and Leonard Tallerine in the Garden District is a study in good taste. While it’s only 95 years old, young for a home in the area, it proudly takes its place on a street of grand mansions. “It has been a joy to own this gracious house,” Janet says. Surrounded by a stunning garden designed by noted landscape architect Rene Fransen, the outdoor area is of special interest to Leonard, who knows the names of all trees, plants and shrubs; he’s definitely the gardener in the family.
Comfortable, elegant and timeless, this is a home that makes you want to sit down and stay for a while. Walk around the formal garden that blends seamlessly with the home and it’s easy to see why the couple fell in love with the Garden District estate as soon as they saw it 14 years ago.
While the list of talented professionals who have been involved with creating the showplace reads like a who’s who of the design world, it’s truly Janet’s driven desire for exquisite spaces that has made the house what it is today. “There are so many to credit with helping me,” she says. Then she begins to recite: John Chrestia, Gerrie Bremermann, Robert Sonnier, Rodney Smith and Patrick Dunne. She also adds Tim Lacey and Ned Marshall, former owners of the home, for sharing much with her. “It has been an interesting journey and I feel fortunate to have had the unique perspective of each person, whether it was just to help me purchase a beautiful chandelier or serve as our architect, interior designer or contractor.”
In the end, the Tallerines have a home worthy of a feature in the finest design magazines in the world, and it seems everything has a special story. Enter the foyer and you’ll discover 10 Picasso etchings in black-and-white. Then step inside the dining room and gaze in amazement at the “Monuments of Paris” wallpaper that was added to the walls by the Howards; it’s as timeless as it was when this type of wallpaper was used by Napoleon in the Palace of Fontainebleau and President George Washington in Mount Vernon. Then cross the hall to the living room and you’ll discover a painting by well-known New Orleans artist George Dunbar, who lived in the house as a young man. The Dunbar painting has a place of honor on the wall next to the Steinway grand piano.
The home is filled with fine European antiques acquired by Janet over the years. As a footnote, it’s also interesting that the couple owns a lovely home in Houston’s River Oaks section, one of the most elegant areas of that city. Once Janet finds a must-have antique or piece of art, she’s assured that between the couple’s two homes she’ll find just the right place for it.
The house embraces the carefully planned formal gardens through large expanses of glass, especially in the sun room just off the front sitting room and the glass walls of the breakfast room, where you can pick up your plate on a whim and dine at the nearby outdoor iron table. Beautiful drapes cover every tall window and lush fabrics, always interlined and skillfully tailored, definitely add glamour to the home.
Nothing is left to chance in the Tallerines’ home, and yet it feels and is very comfortable. “We love the scale and proportions of each room,” Janet says. “Most of all we always feel relaxed and content when we’re here.”
The breakfast room opens onto the outdoor patio through a pair of glass doors; an iron table and chairs on the patio offers outdoor dining.
The Tallerines’ Garden District home was designed by well-known New Orleans architect Richard Koch.
Janet and Leonard Tallerine with Spud, their chocolate Labrador retriever.
The garden room offers a view of the side garden.
Historic wallpaper named “Monuments of Paris” covers the walls above the wainscoting in the dining room.
An iron table and chairs provides seating on the patio that adjoins the breakfast room.
A chandelier from a Paris flea market is showcased in the guest bedroom; twin antique headboards were joined to create the large single bed.
The living room is a study in elegance, with fine antiques featured in the carefully edited space.