On a tree-lined street in an Uptown neighborhood, a young newlywed couple found their ideal home. “The house was built in 1901 and while many modifications had been made over the years, I could see it had a number the things I really wanted,” says Dr. Rachel Moore who, with husband Dr. Michael Thomas, purchased the house just six months after their wedding in 2002. “My list of wants included gas lamps, stained glass windows and a fireplace. For Michael the winning list began with the location and ended when he discovered the four-car garage and nice backyard.”
What the couple of surgeons, who are part of the Surgical Specialists of Louisiana, also got was a house that hadn’t been well maintained and needed a major renovation. Enter Lisa Roth, AIA, an architect and registered interior designer and a principal in the firm Montgomery Roth Architecture & Interior Design, L.L.C. “I knew it was important to be sensitive to the historic architecture while providing a comfortable and practical place to raise the family,” Roth says. “One of the primary focuses was to preserve as many of the original architectural elements as possible, such as the stained glass window located on the staircase landing and the large leaded glass windows in the dining room. Original solid hardwood floors and decorative door hardware were high on the couple’s ‘keep as is’ list.”
The major renovation included gutting most of the walls and totally redoing the kitchen, all bathrooms and closets. New built-ins, lighting and finishes were added throughout. The pool house still serves the same function, but now it’s also a family room and guest quarters. “The pool house renovation took place first,” Moore says. “When it was finished, we moved into it and began the year-long completion of the renovation of the main house.”
The result of the renovation is a totally new house in an old, solid skin with a state-of-the-art kitchen and a show house-quality master bathroom that features a double vanity, large tub and separate shower. ”The current master bedroom and bathroom resulted from a reconfiguration of two guest bedrooms,” Roth says.
The couple had high praise for the way Roth responded to their wishes. “I was very hands-on with the master bathroom,” Thomas says. “I worked with Lisa on the design of the shower space since I knew the exact dimensions I wanted it to be. I even stood in the raw space and had them measure where the jets in the shower should be to hit my neck just right. I was the one who requested a television in the bathroom, although I must admit Rachel uses it more than I do. Rachel was the one who requested the tub be placed next to the big window.”
Since the kitchen is readily visible as you walk through the house, Moore wanted it to be stylish, with cabinets that would have lots of storage all the way to the ceiling. “The La Cornue oven is one of my favorite things in the kitchen,” she says. “It is both functional and beautiful. I also like the subdued color of the walls that blend perfectly with the design of the cabinets.”
The living and dining room spaces were maintained, while the new kitchen and breakfast room line up behind the two large front rooms. “We call the large space on the opposite side of the house the ‘Green Room,’” Moore says. “The tall windows and glass-front door makes it a cheerful room for family gatherings. I also like the unique limestone floors with accents of black granite squares that add interest to the space.”
“I especially enjoyed having Lisa help me with both the architecture and interior design,” Moore says. “I told her I wanted to capture the colors in the stained glass window on the staircase landing for use on the walls throughout the entire house, and we all love the way the lighter version of each color adds interest to our home. We also were extremely pleased with our contractor, Tommy Capitano [of] Creative Improvements.”
The couple’s two young sons, 3-year-old Maddox “MJ” Jacob and 6-month old William Atticus, have their own quarters and new bathroom upstairs, and there’s plenty of space in the detached family room to use for future romping with their friends.
Both Moore and Thomas agree that they have everything they wanted in comfortable home.