Not long after spouses Scott Chapman and Troy Richard moved into their third residence together, Scott had a revelation. The two had been drawn to the open floor plan and high ceilings of the house built in 2014, but the white box simplicity of the interior didn’t relay the cozy comfort that they favor.
“We had always bought old homes and always enjoyed that feel,” said Scott, who has worked on a total of seven houses over the years. “We decided to add details to make this house feel older.”
Both Scott and Troy work in the healthcare field. Scott is Director of Account Management for United Health Care; Troy manages clinical trials for Glaxo Smith Kline. Both are passionate about design and remodeling houses. Scott likes to draw up plans for layout and overall concept, Troy likes to draw the details and is the “brains” behind the DIY projects that the couple takes on.
“We love the whole process and we have similar tastes,” Scott said. “We disagree on little things like placement of things, but one of the rules about our design decisions is we have to be in agreement.”
Outside, the Uptown house already had a sense of history in that it was designed as a camelback, a familiar breed in New Orleans. Inside, the transformation was carried out in stages. The first step called for painting all the doors and windows black for contrast and adding frosted glass to some for privacy. Next, Chapman and Richard removed all ceiling fans and lights and installed a combination of antique and new statement lighting throughout. In fact, the lighting in the house is a signature part of its organic-meets-Americana-meets-industrial look. The foyer is home to a group of tiered crystal chandeliers, which the couple started collecting after inheriting several from family members’ homes that were undergoing renovations. Scott and Troy rehabbed the chandeliers and built three new circular metal fixtures themselves.
The third phase involved adding cabinetry to the living room that matches the nearby cabinetry of the kitchen and replacing both the kitchen’s counters and narrow island. Now an L-shaped centerpiece with a sink and stove, the new island makes better use of the room’s previously wasted space and helps delineate the kitchen from the dining and living areas. Chapman and Richard also added a new fireplace with a mantel made of reclaimed wood beams to the living room and used shiplap to highlight several walls including the one above the fireplace.
Where possible they reused materials. Marble from the former kitchen island was used to top the cabinets in the living room; coping left over from the pool and black granite left over from the new kitchen island surround the fireplace.
“Reusing things saves a ton of money and is so much fun,” Scott said.
Despite their intention to use most of the furniture they already had, the couple found that the house called for a number of new additions, which they found through a variety of sources including Restoration Hardware and Dop Antiques. Classic American pieces like the dining room’s farm table, Windsor chairs, and hutches are modernized with masculine tufted leathers, accented with black and gold, and personalized with sentimental family items, antiques collected in New Roads, St. Francisville and New Orleans, and unusual custom art pieces.
The homeowners also added a pool to the backyard, which they use frequently, though during the past months of social distancing the front porch has been the most enjoyable place to savor a much-needed sense of community. Their usual weekly schedule of casual entertaining, often around the pool, has been replaced by “distant happy hours,” where neighbors connect from afar.
“We bought a bistro set for the front porch and we have a firepit and benches in the front yard,” Chapman said. “Now, more than ever in our lives we are using all of the outdoor space.”