Spring for Spring
10 places to help you update your home for the season
From Houzz.com to HGTV, the demand for home renewal ideas continues to grow and influence homeowners all over the country. Here in New Orleans, the spring weather brings a perfect opportunity for changing things up and trying out a new look. We asked some local home design companies to weigh in on the topic and offer their advice and experiences for residents considering a renovation.
Located on a shaded stretch of shop-friendly Metairie Road, JADE specializes in interiors, art and design.
“With over 5,000 square feet of light-filled showroom space, we have a fresh and clean collection of case goods, upholstery, lighting, rugs, accessories, tabletop and gifts,” says Owner Jennifer Rabalais. According to Rabalais, JADE staff is passionate about helping clients realize their dream house. Experienced Interior Designer Tina Lagasse, who spent seven years at Dixon Smith in Baton Rouge, is on staff at JADE and is available for consultation at the store and by email.
“My favorite type of project is a total renovation of an existing, well built, old home. I love the challenge of working within the confines of what is there and the reward of seeing the before and after,” says Rabalais.
JADE will host an art show on Thursday, March 26, and feature the photography of Catherine Erb and the paintings of Megan Hurdle. According to Rabalais, sometimes a piece of artwork can be the spark to start the design process of a room.
Adding or changing window treatments can also spark a new look, and Wren’s Tontine Shade & Design has been a go-to resource for New Orleans since 1937. Now in its third generation of family ownership, Wren’s Tontine specializes in high quality window treatments, which include custom drapery, valances, interior shutters, blinds, roller shades, woven-wood Roman shades and hardware. Wren’s can also make custom bedding and upholstered headboards.
Filling us in on the latest, Blythe Wren notes that motorized roller shades are currently most popular.
“It is so convenient to open all of your shades with the push of a button. I offer battery-operated roller shades in which the batteries last up to five years,” says Wren. “The small inconvenience of changing batteries every five years beats the cost of having the windows hardwired by an electrician,” she says. According to Wren, the motor is ultra quiet. Wren suggests calling ahead to see the variety of fabrics available for these shades.
When renovating a room, plan the proper trim for windows, something appropriate for the type of treatment you choose. Wren suggests three to four inches of depth in your windows for most shutters or shades to fit flush to the trim.
Whether indoor or outdoor, lighting plays a big role in the atmosphere of a home, and for 12 years Flambeaux Lighting has been manufacturing copper gas and electric lanterns for New Orleans and beyond. Flambeaux Lighting offers two ways to view products: a comprehensive website with all styles of lanterns, pendants and sconces, and a showroom in Metairie where customers can feel and see the finish and quality of the lanterns.
“Locally, we have a loaner program we started wherein we let customers take lanterns home, hold them up and decide who likes what,” says Business Director Stephen Guepet. “It helps cut out a lot of time, and since we hand-make each fixture, it ensures that we get it right the first time,” he says.
If you’re considering a switch from electric lighting to gas lighting, one thing to consider prior to your fixture is the cost of running a new gas line. According to Guepet, the range can be tremendous.
“A lot of these things are pretty standard, but when it comes to a conversion from electric to gas – we can’t tell you how much that will cost. You need a third party, especially a plumber,” he says. Replacing an electric fixture with an electric lantern, however, doesn’t usually require any extra work, since Flambeaux Lighting’s lanterns are custom crafted for the home and often its current wiring.
With locations in both Mandeville and Metairie, Southland Plumbing Supply is now a one-stop-shop for more than plumbing supplies. The third generation, family-owned company is already known for its plumbing fixtures and lighting, and has recently expanded its offerings to include appliances and generators. Their N. Arnoult Road location in Metairie now includes two showrooms, one for plumbing and lighting, and another for appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers and more. The company now also offers Kohler Generators that can kick on within seconds of a power outage and run enough power for the entire home.
“Home renovators can save money and time by picking out lighting, appliances and kitchen and bath fixtures all together in one place,” says Marketing Director Nathan Ales. Ales recommends picking out your appliances and fixtures months in advance of your project to ensure everything will be ready on time, especially if special orders are necessary.
“You can pick it out, place the order and line it up with your project’s timeline,” he says.
Specializing in 17th, 18th, and 19th century antiques, Nancy Napoli of Empire Antiques loves to reorganize a space by taking it all the way down to its bare bones.
“I want to see the space with nothing – no furniture, no rugs … If I’d had color or wallpaper on the walls, I take it back to cream,” says Napoli. “The next thing I do is bring in the stuff I love, whether an accessory, a piece of furniture or rug, and then I build around that,” she says. While some people refresh a room by changing throw pillows or lighting, that doesn’t work for Napoli.
“I have to empty it! I do that with each shipment and people will come and say, ‘My goodness, what happened?’ The stuff that I don’t bring out again, I didn’t really like,” she says.
An antiques specialist, it’s no wonder Napoli has a knack for furniture placement. Other services and offerings from Empire Antiques include Hope Meyer jewelry and contemporary art from Octavia Gallery.
“Octavia’s Pam Bryan is an expert on placing contemporary art with antiques. If you have antiques, bring in someone who knows how to pair contemporary art with it and give it a fresher, younger look,” says Napoli.
A full service interior design firm and furniture showroom, Ashley Hall Interiors has been creating luxury interiors for homes and businesses nationally and internationally since 1967. They provide anything from furniture, fabrics, and paint selections to design and installation.
Shauna Leftwich, Lead Designer, recommends beginning with a consultation. “They should create a master plan together with a professional, even if it’s installed in phases, to avoid wasting time and money,” says Leftwich.
“We have a client who wanted to update the look of his kitchen but was hesitant to dispose of his custom cabinetry. With the help of one of our contractors, The Cabinet Makeover, we painted over the Mahogany stained cabinets and it totally transformed his kitchen with minimal expense and inconvenience,” she says.
With the approaching warm weather of March, Ashley Hall Interiors encourages those with outdoor projects to start soon. An early spring start date will likely ensure the completion of the project with a full summer to enjoy it.
Outdoor projects are the expertise of Mullin Landscape Associates, who feel it’s important for local landscapes to reflect the subtropical Gulf Coast region with all of the natural and cultural diversity that is inherent. Named by New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles as the city’s best landscaping company in 2014, Mullin Landscape Associates has also been recognized by Angie’s List, Houzz.com and HGTV.
Specializing in landscape architecture and construction, Mullin Landscape can assist with everything from detailed outdoor kitchens to grand master plans, as well comprehensive construction services. Someone considering an overhaul of a large outdoor space may want to break up the work over time.
“Undertaking the job in a phased approach is a valuable option,” says President Chase Mullin. “A properly planned job can be completed over the course of several years or longer and come together seamlessly in the end.”
Landscape Images is likewise a landscape architecture firm with an office in New Orleans and a tree nursery and farm in nearby Mississippi. Specializing in planting design, installation and maintenance, they perform many of the vintage and tech savvy aspects of landscaping, including landscape LED lighting, irrigation, drainage and sustainable construction, such as patios of flagstone without the concrete base.
“It doesn’t matter how small or large a renovation or construction project is; it always comes down to being creative and having a design or plan thought out to optimize any outdoor space,” says President Alan Mumford. “The design and planning is the most important factor to begin with on any project.” According to Mumford, picking the right professional is equally important.
“Make sure you know what the designer is capable of, their experience and credentials – that they’re licensed in all appropriate fields and insured to the limits that you require, not just what you can afford,” he says. Mumford stresses that ongoing maintenance can be as important as installation, especially considering New Orleans’ tricky subtropical climate and rapid plant growth. Improvements to an outdoor space, “should not only enhance the experience and living environs, but will increase property value and salability of a property also,” says Mumford.
Meanwhile, back inside the house, storage options can renew a space, giving it organization while also adding character and style.
“Adding a custom island or hood to your kitchen can give you that designer look, or adding custom built-ins to your living areas can maximize your storage space and give the rooms a more finished look,” says President and General Manager Julie Diefenthal Philippus of Northshore Millwork. A family-owned business specializing in radius millwork and French Quarter and historic renovations, Northshore Millwork also manufactures custom wood windows and doors onsite at their facility in Mandeville, and serves as a distributor for all types of windows and doors including Marvin and Atrium.
With a full-time designer on staff to help rethink your space, Northshore Millwork can build three styles of custom cabinetry to fit all budgets. Remodelers can tour their 40,000-square-foot showroom and millwork shop for ideas and tips on what features to look for in quality building. They demonstrate the hottest trends in home remodeling to help clients achieve a designer look.
“Custom frameless cabinets are the newest trend and style and allow you maximum storage space in your kitchens and bathrooms, while providing a clean, seamless look,” says Philippus.
A clean, seamless look also happens to be the goal of Louisiana Custom Closets, who tailors custom closets, pantries, home offices and garages for people across the region. Helping people make the most of their space has been the specialty of owner Don Wise for over 20 years. In garages, for instance, Wise helps expand storage and space by getting things up on the wall, hanging tools and bicycles, creating workbenches and adding cabinetry to make the garage nice and neat.
Similarly, Wise can work his magic in creating a home office, a new master closet or even a pantry or laundry room. From folding stations to adjustable shelves, pull-out shelves and baskets, there are storage possibilities for everything from office equipment, to ties, family snacks and small kitchen appliances.
“Once you’re ready to begin your room renovation and you know where you want more storage, we’ll come out to consult, measure and begin designing,” says Wise. Louisiana Custom Closets uses advanced technology, providing clients with computer-generated images and custom-building each closet in their warehouse.
Whether your home renewal involves adding storage, sprucing up your yard, changing your color palette or adding antiques, fixtures or window treatments, spring is the season for change and the forecast looks bright for homes in New Orleans.
Ashley Hall Interiors 832 Howard Ave., 524-0196, AshleyHallInteriors.com Empire Antiques 3617 Magazine St., 897-0252, EmpireAntiques.net Flambeaux Lighting 614 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 828-3154, FlambeauxLighting.com JADE 324 Metairie Road, Metairie, 875-4420, JADEnola.com Landscape Images 655 Central Ave., Jefferson, 734-8380, LandscapeImagesLTD.com Louisiana Custom Closets 13405 Seymour Meyer Blvd., Suite #24, Covington, 885-3188, LouisianaCustomClosets.com Mullin Landscape 621 Distributors Row, Suite F, Harahan, 275-6617, MullinLandscape.com Northshore Millwork 1750 South Lane, Mandeville, (985) 867-1813, NorthshoreMillwork.com Southland Plumbing Supply 2321 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 835-8411, SouthlandPlumbingSupply.com Wren’s Tontine Shade & Design 1533 Prytania St., 525-7409, WrensTontine.com