A new kitchen, garden and extra story embellish
Dr. Laurie Moeller’s Metairie home has been transformed from an ordinary one-story, 1,100 square foot floor plan to a grand two-story contemporary home of 2,700 square feet. “Nothing about the exterior gives a hint to the unique open floor plan that leads through French doors onto a porch that overlooks the large rear garden,” says Laurie, an associate professor at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center’s School of Dentistry. “The lot is 170 feet deep and the garden is one of my favorite areas. Once you enter the garden you’re in a peaceful oasis, far from the busy boulevard in front of the house.”
Located on what’s known as Metairie Ridge, the house was built in the 1950s on property that was originally owned by Henri Bonnabel, a chemist from Paris who arrived in New Orleans in 1825 at the age of 25. He opened a pharmacy on Tchoupitoulas Street and soon became wealthy. In 1836, he purchased the land that had originally been inhabited by Tchoupitoulas Indians with the idea of making it a separate city in Jefferson Parish. After he died, his son Alfred continued his father’s dream and developed what become known as Bonnabel Place 1914.
Laurie purchased the property in 2009 from a cousin, Cheryl Thompson, and her husband, Daryl. “They had done the major renovation of completely opening up the living area of first floor and adding a luxurious master suite on the second floor with the help of Steve Ratley of Ratley Architects,” she says.
Then Laurie came along and further tailored the house to her needs by creating a totally new kitchen with the help of kitchen designer Missy Howell of Southport Custom Cabinetry, and contractor Brice Lobitz of Pro Remodeling. “Missy and Brice did a great job,” she says. “Brice was a meticulous contractor who treated my house and the project like his own.
Missy had done a kitchen for my friend Charlotte Connick, and she was excellent with even the smallest detail. When everything was finished I told Missy and Brice that it was the prettiest kitchen I have ever seen – and it’s mine.”
The new kitchen received features Rosewood cabinets, granite countertops and top-of-the-line Kitchen Aid appliances. A new bar was added between the large den that covers the entire back of the house. “It’s a great place for a quick meal,” Laurie says.
One of the major design features of the house is the black-and-white ceramic tile on the floor of the entire downstairs that was done to provide continuity for the open floor plan, with only the guest bedroom receiving carpet and the guest bathroom was tiled. “Cheryl and Daryl had selected the black-and-white tile and kept it because I liked the unique dramatic effect it offered.”
The back of the house features a series of tall windows and French doors, thus providing an unobstructed view of the rear patio and garden. “Since there’s total privacy in the space I didn’t need to cover the windows with curtains or blinds,” she continues. “The living areas blend perfectly for entertaining providing plenty of space for the easy movement of guests.” Laurie is quick to point out that her home also is warm and cozy. “I enjoy relaxing on the comfortable circular sofa and watching a movie on the television that is normally hidden in the large armoire.”
She especially enjoys having a private floor for the large master suite upstairs. “It feels very peaceful,” she says. “Then again, the entire house feels like a sanctuary to me from the stresses of life.”
Dr. Laurie Moeller with Cooper, her pet Havanese.
Built in the 1950s, the original house was a one-story structure of only 1,100 square feet; today the two-story home is a contemporary gem of 2,700 square feet.
The circular patio highlights the rear garden.
The stately four-poster bed is shown through the double doors that lead to the upstairs master suite.
The breakfast room opens into the kitchen; a counter and barstools in the kitchen provides space for a quick meal.
A new dining room was created in Laurie’s remodeling. It features a glass table and contemporary chairs from Scandinavia Furniture.
The high-pitched ceiling in the den adds volume to the space that occupies the entire rear of the house; a circular sofa provides comfortable seating.
The living room showcases the black-and-white ceramic tile and open floor plan that takes in everything on the first floor, except the guest bedroom and bathroom.