Driving down the quite uptown streets, the charming salmon-colored camelback shotgun seems like any other traditional New Orleans house. No one would guess that until recently this place was a “dilapidated and falling down,” according to interior designer Stephanie Lessans Adler, ASID, who also holds a master’s degree in architecture.

It was she who saw the potential in this place, even when there was almost nothing left to see.

FEATURED HOME: A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITYIn the entryway, a faux finish by Madilynn Nelson that was inspired by Chinese wallpaper creates a neutral backdrop to a mix of modern and antique.

Friends of Adler were searching for a vacation home in New Orleans. “I thought this place would be perfect,” Adler says, “because if you’re going to renovate, you can’t truly get what you want if the space has already been planned. With this house we could create exactly what they wanted.”

What they wanted was a one-story residence, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The house was originally subdivided into three apartments, and Adler conceived a plan to narrow that down to two units, the larger of the two serving as her clients’ vacation home. The work began about two and a half years ago. “The building was infested with termites,” Adler says. “We basically had to almost tear the whole place down.”

FEATURED HOME: A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITYCustomcabinetry by K & S Custom Woodworks takes up one side of the wall,creating space to display art and books, as well as storage and a placefor the flat-screen TV. The built-in bench, designed by Stephanie Lessans Adler, is upholstered in Robert Allen’s “Holdsworth” in Lagoonand was made by Upholstery by Anthony, which also did the pillows. The wave-like Kravet fabric used for the window treatment, made by DoniceSmith of Donice’s Draperies, coordinates all of the room’s colors and invokes a resort theme.

Today, the house has been refashioned with a stunning open floor plan, featuring a state-of-the-art kitchen and an inviting, airy living room/ dining room combination. “We took out a fireplace and the floor would not align properly, so we came up with a pattern to cover up the space where the fireplace was,” Adler says. Only the wide pine floors and wood windows were salvageable from the original structure. 

the house looks like the quintessential New Orleans camelback shotgun, while
the interior is contemporary, but still respects the past.

Adler took a design risk by adding crown molding to a modern space. “I just felt in a house this old that crown molding would definitely be here, so I added it, making it a somewhat eclectic space,” she says. The result? The rooms feel appropriately framed, and the house, while contemporary, has a distinctly old New Orleans feel. Adler also wanted as much natural light as possible, so clerestory windows are placed throughout the house.

FEATURED HOME: A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITYTheopen floor plan makes entertaining easy. The couch and adjustable coffee table (it can be raised to be an extra dining table) are from UDwell. The paintings of the home-owners’ grandchildren are by Mod Art Portraits. The ceramics in the wall unit are by local artists Nini Bodenheimer or Joann Greenberg.

“The clients desired a flat-screen television in the living room, so we added custom cabinetry on one whole wall to frame the TV,” Adler says. A “beach-house blue” wrap-around sofa creates a warm entertainment space. Portraits of the owners’ grandchildren, painted by a local artist in pop art style, present a sense of whimsy to the space. A local artist, Madilynn Nelson, did soft gold faux finished walls.

It took Adler a couple of years to complete this project, since Hurricane Katrina interrupted the process. The result was worth waiting for, and those in the know agree. Adler won ASID’s South Central District, 2006 Professional Design Competition, Gold Award for Design Excellence in a Residential – Single Family Dwelling (under 3,500 square feet).

FEATURED HOME: A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITYStained-glass windows add vibrant
hues to the kitchen with its surf-green granite counters from Tuscan Imports, GE Monogram appliances and custom cabinets from K & S Custom Woodworks. The beadboard ceiling and exposed wood beam recalls the charm of what was once an old porch.

FEATURED HOME: A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITYSoft colors and lush fabrics in the master bedroom create a calm area to rest. The silk and wool rug is from the Home Decorators Collection, the bed from Hurwitz Mintz and bed linens from Overstock.com. Donice’s Draperies made the curtains from a Kravet fabric.

FEATURED HOME: A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITYThe master bathroom shower shimmers with glass tile from Stafford Tile & Stone. The clerestory window brings in natural light, while allowing for privacy.

This week’s home comes to you from our sister publication New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles. To get yourissue of New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles call our Circulation Department at (504) 828-1380.

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