A House of Whimsy
Visions from a condo on the Avenue
Open the door to this home and be prepared to smile, for it’s contemporary, unique and whimsical. “We enjoyed creating all of the spaces in our condominium,” Nuria Rowley, who, along with her husband, Ronald “Ron” Rowley, owns and operates an engineering consulting company in the area that’s geared to working with the nuclear power industry. “I am an artist at heart and painting is my hobby,” she says as she gives a tour of the almost 2000-square-foot condo on St. Charles Avenue in the Faubourg Saint Charles development. “Color, shapes, clean lines and uncluttered spaces are all very attractive to me.”
On the far right corner from the entrance of the Rowleys’ condo is what Nuria calls their “jester” chair. “It made me smile the first time I saw it, and I just had to buy it,” she says. “It’s also elegant and super comfortable.” It seems fitting that there’s a perfect view of the Contemporary Arts Center from the big window next to the chair.
“The chest in the corner to the right of the living room is from Italy. I purchased it because I thought it was unique and sexy. It reminds me of the female form,” she says. Then for an added bit of playfulness, a tall bronze statue has a place of honor next to the bookcases. “I named it ‘Nuron’ for Nuria and Ron,” she says.
Nuria continues, “I selected everything with great care, including the accessories and art. The art above the leather Natuzzi smoky-silver-colored sofa from Italy is by Alexandra Nechita, a well-known Romanian-born American cubist painter. The contemporary rug is by Momeni, as is the round glass table that works well to showcase the contemporary acrylic sculpture by Haziza that we found in Sausalito, Calif.”
Purchased in 2010, the third-floor condo is part of a unique 13-unit building developed by Mary and Roland von Kurnatowski. The building has many features not easily found in this area, such as secure parking on the premises. “I feel our terrace is special,” says Nuria. “Dylan Bradford, my grandson who’s an engineering student, and I created the design for the fountain on the terrace, and he built it and tiled the platform. I watched him with pride and helped him. It was a lot of fun doing the project together.”
Embracing the living room, dining area and kitchen, the large, open space boasts 12-foot ceilings with exposed brick walls. “We like the main large open space,” Ron says, adding that the location of their condo is ideal. “This is a real neighborhood with easy walking access to art galleries, fine restaurants, the farmers market on Magazine Street, Rouses – the grocery store just blocks away – and the Mardi Gras parades that happen right outside the front door of our building. We even have a wonderful terrace high above the crowd to watch the passing parades.”