Forever Home


Seeking to renovate her childhood home into a haven where she and her husband could age in place after their children leave the house, Leigh Moss and her husband Robby enlisted the help of local architectural and interior design firm NANO. In addition to updating the interior design, the Mosses also wanted the home to accommodate their large extended family during the holidays. Furthermore, they wanted to open up the floor plan for easier entertaining, while allowing in more natural light. Yet another consideration was integrating finishes, fixtures and furniture that could stand up to two grown boys and a dog, and preparing the house for an elevator to be added later.

“It’s not often that we get clients such as the Mosses,” says Terri Dreyer, owner and founding partner at NANO. “Not only do they value architecture, but they have been open to the possibilities involved in this substantial renovation of their family’s historic home. Both Rob and Leigh trusted NANO’s design process, allowing a more modern, open floor plan to be integrated within the historic home.”

The design team at NANO used the family’s late matriarch’s passion for the fine arts as inspiration for infusing the home with color, craftsmanship and a creative expression of its history. The first order of business was to create light-filled spaces by reconfiguring the foyer, expanding the dine-in kitchen and updating the master suite with a walk-in closet, spa-like bath and vaulted ceiling. Meanwhile, the addition of new pocket doors and a bathroom provide privacy and comfort for overnight guests. 

The 7,070 square-foot home now has four true bedrooms, but NANO also renovated the entire third floor attic to act as a playroom (with full bath) capable of sleeping six to seven kids during family gatherings. The house’s study also is equipped with built-in cabinetry that doubles as a Murphy bed, paired with ceiling wallpaper (a rare and unique design decision) by Ashley Lasseigne.

The Mosses originally wanted this renovation to mirror their previous home (also done by NANO). However, the design team encouraged the couple to take a different route for a more refined style. “The husband preferred modern, while the wife preferred traditional; however, both clients’ styles evolved and merged over the course of the design process,” says Ivy Leleux, designer at NANO. “NANO worked to incorporate both clients’ styles, leading to the eclectic feel of the home. We incorporated pieces from local artisans and tradesmen, original family furniture, new designer pieces and custom pieces. A lot of the inspiration came from the clients’ personal style as well as their extensive art collection.”

NANO also added brilliant custom rugs by Kyle Bunting, rich wood paneling and a striking three-story chandelier in the front entryway of the home. “The paneling in the front foyer ties together the modern and traditional features of the house, while adding texture and a backdrop to the clients’ amazing art collection as well as the new Kyle Bunting rug,” Leleux says. “The three-tiered chandelier is framed by the landing window and is visible from the street as well as when entering the front door.” Another custom Kyle Bunting rug graces the living room and great room to create a bold statement, while providing a flooring solution that can easily stand up to the Mosses’ dog and two boys.

NANO also added new works of art to further enhance the home’s design. For example, NANO commissioned two new sculptures from Bradley Bowers’ “Halo Series.” Meanwhile, a new work of custom art by Gretchen Weller Howard now hangs in the entry hallway.

A sense of history, artistry and craftsmanship carries through to every detail of the house. For example, NANO designed a custom wrought-iron stair rail with ornamental rosettes that mirror the decorative motif on the garden gate as a tribute to the home’s original design motifs.

Another custom piece, the media cabinet in the great room, started with the simple intent of housing a 72-inch TV. “It took on a whole new life as we began to explore what this piece could be,” Leleux says. “With the great room being so large with high ceilings, the media cabinet needed to centralize the space and act as a statement piece. We worked with artisan millworks to achieve the curved façade of the media cabinet capable of hinging, while maintaining the design of our custom louvers.”

One challenge that NANO faced came in the form of a kitchen that was uniquely large and disproportionate. “We designed a T-shaped island configuration that supported counter-height seating and kitchen prep space,” Leleux says. ”This shape helped to break up any dead space and provided the clients with additional seating.” 

Meanwhile, the kitchen backsplash and countertop marble — which mimic an oyster — pay homage to the heritage of New Orleans. And around the perimeter of the kitchen, the leather rhino marble countertop slabs introduce yet another finish to the space, thereby creating a depth of texture and a unique experience.

“No stone was left unturned when it came to this project,” says Kristine Kobila, senior architect and QA/QC design director at NANO. “Every detail was accounted for, speaking to NANO’s motto, ‘Detail at Every Scale.’ Our goal was to transform the original floor plan to accommodate the next generation of family members and continue the family’s history with their home. By putting their faith in NANO, the Mosses allowed us to transform and modernize their home to meet the current and future needs of their family, making this project particularly rewarding. NANO’s new design maintains the original integrity of the house, and, through intentional and thoughtful design, is now tailored for the future.”

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