Five & Up
Carter and Claiborne Perrilliat grew their house with their family and made sure it’s welcoming for plenty of guests
Carter looked to Galatoire’s Restaurant for inspiration when choosing the kitchen floor. Subway tiles, sourced through Stafford Tile & Stone, were cut into the desired pattern. The butcher block island counter was custom made by NOLA Boards. Iron chandelier by Chris Wynne.
Claiborne with Betty and Mae. French doors were added along the side of the house for access and views of the yard and pool. Metal sconces by Chris Wynne. The pottery pieces on the wall in rear are by Carter’s friend Mary Martin Roth.
When Carter and Claiborne Perrilliat purchased their Uptown home nine years ago, they were planning ahead for a family. The double shotgun was converted to a single (it is a featured home on the Preservation Resource Center’s March 23 and 24 Shotgun House Tour prcno.org), already had several family-friendly features in that it’s bounded by three streets (an unusual find in New Orleans) and was situated on a roomy lot with a pool, plenty of yard space and room for expansion. Once the couple was ready, they knew they’d renovate the circa-1912 house, so that it was large enough for the needs of a family.
Fast forward six years and two children. The Perrilliats began working with Carter’s uncle, architect Davis Jahncke of Jahncke & Burns, to remodel the house and also purchased and renovated a small creole cottage nearby so that they’d have a place to live while working on the larger house (the cottage was also an investment that they could flip).
Two main goals guided the project. The Perrilliats wanted the house to be well-designed and comfortable for their family. They also wanted it to be suited to their love of entertaining. With a third child on the way at that point they hired Rick Golemi Construction — the same company that had renewed their interim cottage, gutted the house, removed the existing camelback, which had eight-foot ceilings, and preserved architectural character by saving original wood floors, windows and the front door. In place of what they tore out, they created a classic interior that respects the past but is updated for modern family life with three kids.
“We love our indoor spaces and our outdoor spaces and we enjoy having people over,” says Carter. “We had to have a functional house for our family and also be able to entertain.”
Today the house has an open flow thanks to wide casement openings and windows with pleasant sitelines to improved outdoor areas. Enlarged by about a thousand square feet, it includes a front hall, office, living room/den, breakfast area, kitchen, powder room, master suite and side porch downstairs; a laundry room, playroom, three bedrooms and two baths upstairs. It also includes storage in the form of multiple attic spaces, closets and a mudroom with individual cubbies for the kids.
“You couldn’t see the pool, so we put windows and doors down the side of the house so it’s easy to access and see outside,” says Carter. “We really thought about things like storage because we’re a big messy family and I wanted it to be as easy as possible. Every space is utilized.”
The entire ground floor is painted with a single shade of white so that the family’s art and personal mementos stand out. The master bedroom is an exception as are the powder room and adjacent built-in bar, both of which pop with color. The former features a whimsical wallpaper from Spruce and the latter is painted salmon to match the wallpaper. A large dragonfly mounted on the living room wall is a perpetual conversation piece. Carter found the papier mâché insect, originally part of a float that rolled in the last Comus parade, at a friend’s estate sale.
Because the homeowners wanted their house to be classic, Carter turned to a quintessentially classic New Orleans source – Antoine’s Restaurant – for kitchen inspiration. The black and white tile floors, modeled after those in the iconic restaurant, were sourced through Stafford Tile & Stone and made from durable commercial subway tiles cut into the desired pattern.
“That was the place we splurged,” says Carter. “We wanted it done right.”
As they had downstairs, the couple maximized the use of space on the second floor in creative ways. Dead space at the end of the hall leading to the three bedrooms and baths, for example, became a book shelf, which Carter highlighted with graphic removable wallpaper from Spruce.
Working on their temporary cottage provided the Perrilliats with a quick primer in choosing finishes and sourcing things like light fixtures. They even used a few of the same materials. Carter also trusted her older sister artist E. Lee Jahncke Mead, who recently completed her own renovation (NOHL, April 2018), for advice and enlisted the services of designer and colorist Louis Aubert for the exterior of the house.
In addition to sourcing things online, Carter frequented estate sales and auctions, even getting up at the crack of dawn for one estate sale that featured an oversize antique iron chandelier she wanted for the dining room. She ultimately opted for a similar version from local retailer Classic Chandelier & Mirror.
A little less than a year after they began their renovation, the family of five moved back into their house now suited to both family living and gatherings of many sizes, including an annual Christmas Eve party.
“I can have a child’s birthday party and everyone is happy and a day later have a formal event,” says Carter. “We used our space well.”