Hub of the Home (above photo)
By Lauren LaBorde
Photographed by Jeffery Johnston

When parties at the Ponsetis’ former home began to gravitate to the kitchen, as they often did, Lennie Ponseti would get worried. But in her new home, she embraces the conviviality that her kitchen often attracts.
The Ponseti family — which includes Lennie’s husband, Matthew, who owns a landscaping company; 19-year-old Patrick, a student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; and 16-year-old Caroline, a high school sophomore at the Academy of the Sacred Heart — decided to purchase a house that was gutted after Hurricane Katrina. Because they were not bound by a floor plan, the Ponsetis had free rein in their renovations and opted for a larger kitchen in the new space.
In the spirit of the newfound space, Lennie, who does billing work for Matthew’s company, decided to employ a neutral color scheme to create a feeling of openness. The neutral palette creates consistency and flow, while accessories add splashes of color.
Lennie’s favorite aspect of the kitchen is its personalized design, which she attributes to Cabinets by Design’s Leslie Lomont-Relayson.
“I love the way the kitchen is laid out for me,” Lennie says. “Leslie asked me wonderful questions about my habits in the kitchen and the placement of everything.”
The kitchen features a variety of quality appliances purchased from Cabinets by Design: a Wolf stove, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Bosch dishwasher and a Marvel wine refrigerator. The kitchen’s cabinetry is a combination of Wood-Mode and Brookhaven.
Most important to Lennie, though, is the fact that the new spacious kitchen re-establishes the area as what she calls the “central hub of the house,” offering her kids and their friends a place to do their homework and chat — which she says sometimes evolves into baking brownies, making pizza or popping popcorn.
“I want our friends as well as our kids to feel comfortable in the kitchen, whether there is cooking going on or not,” Lennie says. “During parties, the kitchen is usually where everyone ends up hanging out, so I wanted to invite that concept instead of avoiding it like I had to do in my previous home because of space.” •

Cooking and cleaning

Award-Winning Style
By Lilith Dorko
Photographed by Sherwood Cox

Sometimes all you need to inspire a room is one simple piece, and in this Arabella Street kitchen, that piece is an 18th-century wedding chest, purchased while the homeowner lived in China. Stephanie Adler of Adler Hornbrook Design used the chest to create a whole room, striking the perfect balance of Old World and contemporary. This kitchen won the 2008 American Society of Interior Designers’ Gold Award for a Residential Kitchen, and it’s easy to see why.
“The challenge of this design was to incorporate the homeowner’s diverse cultural experiences into the renovation of a 19th-century Victorian home,” Adler says. “The theme is truly Victorian with the borrowing of Chinese motifs, colors and hardware. It is a fusion of modern function and traditional ornament.”
This cozy space looks new, but much of the woodwork is original to the home. This includes paneling, wooden columns and the arch, as well as the ceiling beams. What is new, however, is the floor plan: Adler opened the kitchen through to the old porch. The new windows fit seamlessly into the space once occupied by porch shutters, and in the porch area, the old cabinetry was relocated and is now joined by a built-in banquette and table.
Taking cues from the wedding chest, the homeowner chose white cabinetry and custom black window coverings to accent the red antique chest and large-scale hutch, the room’s real focal point. Sleek GE Monogram appliances and a Viking stove bring this kitchen into the modern era, while the imported and hand-chiseled granite farmhouse sink adds a rustic touch.
Adler’s favorite feature of the kitchen is the custom backsplash, courtesy of Stafford Tile & Stone, but the homeowner has a different favorite.
“I love the cabinets,” she says. “They are so unique and better than I could imagine. The room feels comfortable and well-used. I wanted it to look like it evolved over time.” •

Cooking and cleaning

Worth the Wait
By Lilith Dorko
Photographed by Jeffery Johnston

The idea for this Old Metairie home’s kitchen renovation began six years ago. Based on the homeowner’s desire for a complete overhaul, the plan came to fruition thanks to her collaborative efforts with local architect William Sonner. She hired a contractor in early August 2005, but due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the actual demolition of the previous kitchen did not begin until June 2008. Completed in October 2008, the new kitchen is a breath of fresh air.
“The only things original to the kitchen are the old French table from my parents and the cook,” the homeowner says.
Neutral, soothing colors dominate the landscape of the kitchen: Everything from the tiled backsplash to the taupe- colored Brookhaven maple cabinets from Cabinets by Design exude a clean tranquility.
The homeowner says two of her favorite updates to the kitchen include the granite countertops from Carr Stone & Tile and an antique French vassilier, purchased in Waveland, Miss. 
Working closely with the homeowner was certified kitchen designer Monique Poché Bennett of Cabinets by Design, who altered the original plans and ordered cabinets and appliances.
 The homeowner is definitely pleased with the final result: “I love the soothing colors. The whole mood is very relaxing.” •

Cooking and cleaning

Home Again
By Alisha Murphy
Photographed by Jeffery Johnston

The master bathroom at the Pfost-Burguieres home is one that is very close to owner Gertrude Pfost’s heart — not just because of its beauty but also because of its story: It is a part of the Uptown house she grew up in 40 years ago. Purchased by her family after World War II through the G.I. Bill, the duplex housed her immediate family downstairs and her aunt’s family upstairs. Of her mother, Pfost says: “She loved this house. She made the house the hub of generations of family festivities.” With life’s changes, including her mother’s passing on Mardi Gras Day 2006 and her son’s recent acceptance at Tulane University, Pfost returned home with her husband, Dale, to the first floor. (Her brother’s family occupies the second floor.)
The addition of this bathroom and closet space to the original 1905 structure began about a year ago: out with the old window and in with the new door to the new master bath! Plans were drawn by architect Charles E. Ruello and executed by Chris Schoen. “Charles and Chris retained the architectural integrity while gaining a modern feel,” Pfost says.
Details in this room of primping and pampering include a soaking tub, a party-size shower, a toilet room, two vanities with giant mirrors, Bevolo light fixtures and walk-in closets with plenty of storage. Art collected from the family’s travels to India are an unexpected treat. Found here are a 4-foot Ganesha; two proud, carved stone peacocks; and hand-painted silk displays. The backdrop is the creamy marble throughout and blue-gray-hued walls. Pfost describes her bathroom, in a word, as “relaxing.”
Attention to detail was key with this project. Echoed in the rest of the house are identical windows, Bevolo lighting, dark bronze Kohler hardware and a relating color scheme. Sticking to her design objectives was important to Pfost, but she also found it essential to take the advice of the professionals. She credits the fine work in her bathroom to many people, all of whom she calls “talented artists”: José Arriaga of Complete Home Improvements, Tony Goutierrez of Quality Stone, Milo Rosas of Closet Carpentry, Heather Trahan of Stafford Tile & Stone, Katie Koch and Jennifer Browning of Design Lab.
So far, most people who have come to admire the bathroom are extended family. “You don’t grow up in New Orleans without lots of family” quips Pfost. Of course, they see it as spectacular, but to Pfost, the mood is “peaceful, quiet.”
She lights up when asked what her mother would think about the improvements. “She would think it’s wonderful!” she says strongly. “I see myself living here until I’m finished with this planet.” •

Cooking and cleaning

Luxurious Simplicity
By Lilith Dorko
Photographed by Alexei Kazantsev

When redesigning and updating their bathroom, the Martin family told George Hewitt and Sue St. Amant of G.S. Hewitt LLC that they wanted visitors to feel like the 1950s vibe of the space was original — but with ultramodern and deluxe updates.
“It was absolutely the homeowner’s aesthetic,” Hewitt says. “The Martins wanted a spa-like, ocean feel but wanted the room to be architecturally appropriate to the home.”
The bathroom update, which took place over a six-month period, was no small endeavor. “It was not just the bathroom remodel involved,” Hewitt explains. “In order to make the bathroom function, we decided to take space from adjoining rooms. The oldest daughter’s walk-in closet became a wall unit, and Mr. Martin gave up his closet, as well.”
But in October 2008, the new room was unveiled, complete with custom statuary marble countertops and tub deck from Tuscan Stone Imports and Italian marble his-and-hers sinks designed by Russian sculptor Alexei Kazantsev. Hewitt especially loves the wall tiles, which are made from recycled glass from Coca-Cola bottles and uniquely cast by Glass Roots LLC.
Modern touches include radiant heat throughout the bathroom and LED lighting under the tub deck, on the shower bench and overhead. There is also humidity-control ventilation. Hewitt looked to his favorite store, Interior Designs Inc., for the chandelier and sconces.
“This room makes me feel calm and relaxed but also has a sense of luxury,” Hewitt says. •

Cooking and cleaning

Contemporary Luxury
By Sarah Ravits
Photographed by Jeffery Johnston

Blocks away from the Fair Grounds is a home that’s versatile –– peaceful during the off-season and bustling during Jazz Fest and the horse races. Within the home resides Tommy Lewis of Talbot Realty Group, who began renovating the house in early 2005 with architect Dennis Brady.
One of the most appealing rooms in the house is the master bathroom. With a chic, contemporary design, the bathroom is spacious without being over-the-top. “It’s very linear,” Lewis says. “It kind of has an Asian feel to it.”
The tub is a unique element of the bathroom. Because the house was raised during renovation, Lewis came up with the idea of placing the tub below the floor level. It’s held in place by pillars underneath the house, and it features jets and a headrest, should Lewis wish to spend some extra time relaxing in the tub after a stressful day.
The room also contains a grand shower –– three rainfall showerheads are situated at varying levels, and when all three showerheads are activated, Lewis says, it’s similar to being under a waterfall. The shower also features built-in shelves, which are adorned with some manly bath products and a single vase with some gardenias from the backyard.
The shower-and-tub room is partitioned off from the rest of the bathroom and surrounded by sandblasted glass windows that were provided by Haro Glass & Mirror Works.
The marble on the floor is 2-centimeter slab Verde Quetzal, while the walls are subway-tiled with Carrara marble. Schiro Del Bianco did the marble work.
The bathroom also combines elements of nature; the color scheme is a mixture of soothing green tones (“Green is my favorite color,” says Lewis) with brown accents evident with the floating teak vanity and a sturdy bench in the shower area that was fabricated by Dean Kageler of AXIS Constructions.
Lewis also had speakers from Alterman Audio installed on the ceiling. “I like to listen to NPR in the morning when I shower and shave,” he explains. “And during the evening if I decide to take a bath, I’ll listen to WWOZ or reggae.”
He says his bathroom has a calming effect: “It’s serene. It’s a great bathroom from a practical standpoint. It’s set up very well, and I like the flow of it.” •