Stately with Eclectic Touches

Trendsetting at the LeGardeur home in the Garden District

Katie and Wendell LeGardeur’s Garden District Victorian home dates from the 1890s.

Cheryl Gerber

The Garden District has always been known for its stately historic mansions filled with treasures of the past. Today there’s a new trend by young professionals living in the area to create eclectic rooms that still pay homage to traditional style while adding the best of contemporary furnishings and accessories. The home of Katie and Wendell LeGardeur embodies this exciting trend. “Our home has been designed with livability in mind,” says Katie LeGardeur, Market Manager, Private Wealth Management at J.P. Morgan. “The style is uncluttered, with quite a few surprises.”

Wendell, who’s with the Shaw Group; Katie and their two young children (Estelle, 5, and Armand “Ace,” 3) consider their home a comfort zone. Comfort, simplicity and elegance describe what the client-professional team of Katie and interior designer Curtis Herring, ASID (Curtis Herring Interior Design), have accomplished in their 12-year association.

“The house has been an evolution in progress reflecting the taste of the couple, then refined with my input,” Herring says. “The collaboration has resulted in a home with a strong Louisiana French influence that is user-friendly with definite touches of appropriateness for the Garden District, our city and the LeGardeurs’ modern lifestyle and family legacy.”

Entering through the front door of the three-story mansion’s side hall, one immediately notices the house’s Victorian legacy: the etched lace transom window over the front door, the stylish vestibule with its tall antique French trumeau mirror and the natural light streaming in from the large side window. It is a fitting introduction to the living and dining rooms that can best be described as tailored and contemporary, with an eclectic mix of period French pieces, a set of four comfortable chairs upholstered in a contemporary vein and a large ottoman helping to define the space.

To complete the living room Katie found an 18th-century French painted daybed at Karla Katz Antiques. She had it reupholstered with a traditional French mattress that’s covered in pin-striped velvet, with bolsters in chocolate brown velvet and throw pillows in quilted blue-green silk. Using a daybed instead of the de rigueur couch further enhances the simplicity of the room. The contemporary art and light fixtures also add to the uniquely formal yet comfortable salon that evokes a strong French sensibility.

Katie’s personal additions are everywhere, especially in the dining room where she requested a skirted table – which lends much to the softness of the room – and a sophisticated toile fabric for the chairs. A pair of custom cypress china cabinets designed by Herring completes the space.

Once you step from the front rooms into the kitchen and family room, there’s a joyful switch of moods. “Our family room and kitchen is definitely the place where we gather in comfort for a meal, playtime, viewing television and just relaxing,” Katie says. “The practicality of using patterned fabric for a family with young children is a good idea,” Herring adds. “It is much more forgiving than a solid fabric, and the mix of colors and patterns was intentional. I smile when I say that this room has a very ‘low country’ feeling, while simultaneously reflecting a sophisticated level of taste in the mix of patterns and textures where nothing ‘goes together,’ but everything ‘goes together.’”

“We enjoy the timeless comfort of our home,” Katie says. “From our master suite with the morning light flooding both rooms to the third-floor guest quarters where our family and friends have privacy, and back to the first level with the happy voices of children as they gather around the banquette in the kitchen for breakfast, the work-in-progress has been an interesting and rewarding adventure.”
 

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