Home Renewal

Outliers

Is opportunity knocking in the suburbs?

Built to Last

New Orleans is a city of old housing stock. Here are some tips to keep your house – and your family – healthy.

not-so-simple addition

Adding on to your home is one of the most rewarding things you can do –– and one of the most challenging.

Renovating smart

Depending on your location, location, location, appropriate renovations can bring big returns when you sell your home.

Some concrete ideas

From code issues to color choices, there are a lot of things to keep in mind when your sidewalk or driveway needs replacing.

Insulate Yourself

Conventional wisdom used to say floors of New Orleans homes shouldn’t be insulated. As people rebuild, conventional wisdom is changing.

Love in the Ruins

Falling in love with a historic home can be an intense experience. A few simple tips can keep you from ending up with a broken heart and an empty wallet.

Shelf Life

Many of the city’s old homes have fireplace mantels that are the architectural focus of the room. They are usually adorned with family photos, art and tchotchkes. My home has a non-working fireplace, but it didn’t have a mantel, so…

Through a Glass Smartly

Windows aren’t cheap to replace, but spending the money to do it right can save you heartache — and more money — down the line.

Rub-a-Dub-Dub

People always laugh when they find out that I take baths in the morning. It’s as though baths should be reserved only for small children or 19th-century aristocrats. People see baths as a throwback to a slower time, when people…

Closet Capers

When the lady who would become my wife first moved in with me, I lost a lot of closet territory. In fact, I had to start stacking my T-shirts and socks on wire shelves next to paint cans and tools…

Hip to be Square

Is it just me, or are we suddenly seeing less carpeting and more tile floors around here? Lord knows it makes sense, particularly on the ground floor of slab-on-grade houses where a little flooding can do a lot of damage…

Counter Intelligence

“What’s lurking in your countertop?” asked the July article in the New York Times. “Are granite countertops a health threat?” asked CBS News.I pondered these questions the other day as I stood at my granite-tile countertop, cutting an apple for…

True Flue

In the 19th century, were you to sit perched in the bell tower of St. Patrick’s Church, you could look out across the Crescent City and take in a full panorama of the local rooftops. And if it were twilight…

Down the Drain

When New Orleanians think about drainage, usually catch basins, canals and pumps come to mind. But proper drainage can also be an issue within the confines of your fence lines.This occurs to me every time I drive through Lakeview. As…

Arsenic and Old Lead

Some years ago, while a work crew was digging up the ugly cement slab that covered my backyard, I checked on a workman behind my shed.He was swinging a pickax. “How’s it going?” I inquired.“These goddamn bricks!” he replied, slamming…

Tree-building

The other day, while wandering City Park with my daughter, we stopped to smell a magnolia blossom. The lemony-sweet smell sent me back to my early childhood on Porteous Street. The magnolias along the sidewalk there filled the air with…

Rebuilding a Happy Home

When it comes to a renovation decision, my wife, Cecilia, says that I always make sure to consult her –– and then ignore her and do what I want. That simply can’t be true, though. I’m far too afraid of…

Outward Appearances

Nature never intended me for a house painter. My feet turn cold once I get 10 feet off the ground. One whiff of an oil-based paint or primer twists my lungs into an allergic knot. And I barely have patience…

Tanks for the Memories

It has been nearly 20 years, but I can still feel those wild swings from scalding hot to shocking cold. I was a teenager, living in what was then communist Yugoslavia, and the tankless water heater in the bathroom was…

Iron Fortified

I came around to iron the hard way. At a property I renovated in Tremé, repeated backyard burglaries taught me my wood fence provided a weak line of defense –– and privacy for miscreants to fiddle with locks and windows.…

Finding salvation

Recycling isn’t just for empty water bottles. It’s a vital part of renovating any historic or older home in New Orleans.And the best part is that this eco-friendly trend can often save you a lot of green. Many materials used…

Making a Debut - This Comeback Home's Stunning Transformation

The little house couldn’t have imagined such a turn of fate for itself.Built during the Reconstruction era, it had seen major changes over its lifetime: The rise of the Holy Cross neighborhood around it; the construction of the Industrial Canal…

Bottled Up

This custom wine cellar contains wine rack tables, individual wall-mounted wine racks, custom cabinetry, a granite countertop and vaulted ceiling.Photo courtesy of Vigilant, Inc.You can separate the serious wine buyers from the mere casual connoisseurs by taking a look at…