This new Metairie home borrows from the past.

Cheryl Gerber

Hurricane Katrina’s wind force brought down a tall pine tree in the center hallway of Molly Kimball and Brad Schlotterer’s home in Old Metairie. “The top of the tree was actually laying on our headboard in the master bedroom,” says Schlotterer, an attorney and partner with Kean Miller Hawthorne D’Armond McCowan and Jarman, LLP. “We soon learned the house couldn’t be repaired because the foundation and structure had been compromised.”

The couple liked their neighborhood and decided to start over with new construction on their corner lot. “We took photographs of houses we liked and cut out pictures from magazines for several months before we selected our contractor, architect and interior designer,” says Kimball, a sports nutritionist with Ochsner’s Elmwood Fitness Center, weekly nutrition columnist for The Times-Picayune and nutrition expert for ABC26, with a weekly segment on Good Morning New Orleans (“Get the Skinny with Molly”).

Stephen Fleishmann (Titan Construction) was the first person the couple selected for the project. Fleishmann in turn recommended architect Michael Bell, AIA (Bell Architects).

“We could tell immediately that Michael was excited about the project and he knew exactly the style and type of house we wanted,” Kimball says. Then she asked interior designer Curtis Herring, ASID of Curtis Herring Interior Design, LLC – one of her nutrition clients – to do the interiors. “I already liked his personality and energy before we added him to our team.”

The couple likes the fact that they ended up with a unique modern home, featuring an open floor plan that incorporates the use of old reclaimed materials. “Our house features the best of the new, while feeling like it has existed for a long time,” Schlotterer says.

“We made a great effort to incorporate old elements such as the soft red bricks we used inside on the fireplace wall, the stairway behind it and the brick wall at the end of the dining room. The bricks came from a 100-year-old house on Magazine Street.” Kimball continues, “Some came from fireplaces, so they have a burnt patina, while others have paint on them and the rest are perfect because they were from inside the walls and were not exposed to the elements.”

Bell says, “Vernacular materials and elements definitely give the couple a unique home that comes from experiencing that with which we are familiar. Salvaged brick, doors, pine floors and timber beams and posts definitely add personality to the house. All are from local architectural salvage operations.”

Nothing adds more personality to the main open space than the old timber posts and beams that articulate the separation between foyer, dining room and den, and the freestanding old brick wall in the dining room and open-riser staircase that wraps around the brick fireplace.

Schlotterer says, “The house is a tribute to our outstanding architect and contractor.” Kimball is quick to add, “We also loved working with Curtis. He has a well-deserved incredible reputation.”

“Both Molly and Brad wanted the architectural details to be the focus of each room,” Herring says, “so we used a monochromatic off-white color palette to allow the brick work, reclaimed timber posts and beams, old doors and pine floors to be center stage. The result is furnishings that are clean, tailored and architectural – complementing the architecture of the rooms, rather than contrasting with them.”

Reader Comments:
Oct 1, 2010 06:14 pm
 Posted by  Marti

Loved the article and the creativity demonstrated by this couple, even following such a world class disaster as Hurrcane Katrina. Clearly the couple gave "up close and personal attention" to every single detail from door knobs to counter surfaces and furnishings to overall statement made by decorating accents and color choices. Great job!

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