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French Elegance

Remodeled with style in mind

A completely new all-white kitchen was created; the focal points of the new kitchen are the La Cornue stove from France and the antique lantern over the French bakers table.

CHERYL GERBER

The home of Shelley and Anthony “Tony” Barreca in Country Club Gardens, a quiet neighborhood just off Metairie Road, is reminiscent of a formal French setting pictured in a European magazine. “We love antiques, elegance and the warm feeling French design brings to a home,” says Shelley, a decorator with Barrera Interiors who’s credited with the interior design of their home. There was also the watchful eye of Tony, owner of Barreca Contractors, a company specializing in the remodeling and restoration of upscale homes. “We immediately fell in love with the neighborhood and we could see that the house had wonderful bones and would complement our collection of antique furnishing and art work,” he adds.

The pristine antique white house immediately welcomes you as you enter the iron gate and pass under the arbor of wisteria. Low boxwoods and white azaleas border the wide porch across the front of the house, and the white wicker porch furniture seems to beckon you to sit for a while and relax. “While we love a formal feeling we also want everything to be comfortable, beginning with the seating on the front porch,” Shelley says. Old-style fans add to comfort on warm days, and copper lighting fixtures match the copper gutters and downspouts. “We utilized authentic materials in keeping with the style of the house,” says Tony.
 


 
 
Top, left: Located a quiet neighborhood just off Metairie Road at almost the end of the Orleans Parish boundary line, the pristine antique white house features a wide porch across the front of the house. Top, right: Low boxwoods and white azaleas border the wide porch across the front of the house; antique white wicker porch furniture provides comfortable seating, while old-style fans add to comfort on warm days and copper lights match the copper gutters and downspouts that surround the house. Bottom, left: Twelve-year-old Devron with her parents Shelley and Tony Barreca. Bottom, right: Family meals are often enjoyed on the veranda when the weather is pleasant.



Once inside, the French influence is very much in evidence in the front parlor. The chest between the two front windows, small table in front of the couch, table at the side of the couch and pair of silk covered Louis XV styled fauteuil chairs are all French, not to mention the grand Louis XVI giltwood mirror. Although the space isn’t large, the grand piano fits neatly in the front corner of the room. The fine antique and elegant silk drapes solidify the grand feeling of the space. “I feel elegant drapes place a finishing touch on a formal room,” Shelley says. “I wanted the lush feeling of a quaint parlor to be emphasized with quality silk window coverings.”

A large mirror that once graced the walls of Edgewood Plantation in Natchez has a place of honor over the French antique marble-topped buffet that covers one wall of the dining room. The mirror, with its gilded camellia and ribbon motif, offers a reflection of the entire room, making it seem more spacious. “We especially enjoy the original sculpture on the buffet by famous glass artist Dale Chihuly,” Tony says. The walnut table and chairs and the small chest between the windows with shelves continues the elegant theme of the house. Adjoining the dining room is a small sitting room with an antique Duncan Phyfe settee covered in a plaid-silk fabric.

The surprise in the house is the space that Tony calls the “keeping room,” instead of what may normally be called the den. Yes, there’s the usual leather-covered couch you expect in the room that adjoins the kitchen, but here the wide couch is propped with 13 elegant pillows covered in silk, velvet and needlepoint. Once again there’s an antique French mirror over the couch to further pay homage to the French style of the home. A pair of chairs covered in chocolate brown suede adorned with monogrammed cashmere throws provide additional seating in the room, and a glass coffee table rimmed in brass has an original Ida Kohlmeyer sculpture as its only decoration.
 


 
  
Top, left: A large mirror that once graced the walls of Edgewood Plantation in Natchez has a place of honor over the antique French marble-topped buffet that covers one wall of the dining room; an original sculpture by famous glass artist Dale Chihuly is centered on the buffet. Top, right: Furnished with fine French antiques, the lush feeling of a grand Parisian parlor is emphasized with heavy silk drapes and fine antique rug; there’s space for the family’s grand piano in a corner of the room. Bottom, left: The “keeping room,” a term often used in French architecture, is the name of open space adjoining the kitchen that features a handsome leather couch dressed with 13 elegant pillows covered in silk, velvet and needlepoint. Bottom, right: The master bedroom features an elegantly draped bed with a fabric teester attached to the wall; antique crystal sconces adorn either side.



The major remodeling took place in the kitchen that Tony gutted and completely reconfigured. “I opened up the kitchen completely to the keeping room and added an overhead old cypress beam where the two rooms had been divided. The focal points of the kitchen are the La Cornue stove from France and the antique lantern over the French bakers table. “I am extremely proud of how the kitchen turned out,” Tony says. “We used our favorite Calacatta marble for the counter to as the finishing touch to the room.”

Tony’s second major project was to totally remodel the master bathroom. “I gutted the original bathroom and took in the space that had been a laundry closet that originally opened into the hallway to create a modernized, refined master bathroom,” he says.

Two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs complete the 3,300-square-foot floor plan. “Devron, our 12-year-old daughter, loves to call the upstairs her private quarters,” Shelley says. “The house definitely did turn out to be the perfect home for the three of us.” Tony adds. “We completed the renovation in the fall of 2014 and we enjoy everything about our home.”

 

 

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