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The Cohns’ Road Home
Following Hurricane Katrina, Stanley Cohn, a local attorney, knew his destroyed house was going to present challenges. “Ceilings had collapsed, every room was full of mold and trees had fallen on the roof.”
As Native New Orleanians, it was important for Stanley and his wife Jane not to panic; instead they decided to “rebuild and rebuild better than before,” he says. Jane, who had lived in their East Lakeshore neighborhood for 47 out of her 53 years, says, “I wanted to stay right where we were.”
It wasn’t easy for the couple to ride the long road home. “We persevered through the adjustment of our insurance claim, the pursuit of disaster grants to tear down our old home and build a new one that is a lot smarter, safer and stronger than before the hurricane,” Stanley says.
“We knew we had one shot to make it right,” Stanley says, “so we surrounded ourselves with experts who came together and worked as a team to build something very special.”
The team included architect C. Spencer “Dodie” Smith, AIA (C. Spencer Smith Architects), interior designer Joe L. Morrow, ASID (Ashley Hall Interiors Ltd), general contractor Frank Morse (Morse Homes), kitchen designer Monique Poche Bennett, CKD (Cabinets by Design), Pam Lovisa (Mediterranean Tile), and landscape designer Blair Rittiner (New Orleans Garden Center and Landscape).
“After several meetings with Dodie during the planning phase, we ended up with a home that has a spacious feeling, no wasted space and great attention to detail,” Stanley says. “We love the open floor plan that flows from the dining area into the den and kitchen, and one of my favorite spaces is the room just off the entry that we use as a study. It has glass-front French doors that serve as a sound barrier and it’s an ideal spot when I’m seeking solitude. I call it my ‘away’ room.”
“We enjoy the details that were added throughout the house, such as the unique ceiling design and the built-in for our entertainment center in the living room,” Jane says, adding that, there’s an interesting wrap-around front porch with a side entrance that adds to the traditional style of the house.
It was contractor Morse who made sure the new structure incorporated all the up-to-date code features for flood and wind mitigation, together with a state-of-the art energy efficient insulation and an HVAC system.
“We utilized Joe [Morrow]’s brilliance for the interior design,” Jane says. “I worked very closely with him to create the perfect décor that captured the tastes and desires Stanley and I wanted. Our joint efforts gave us sophistication and comfort throughout our home, and we especially like the entertainment center he designed in the living room and the island in the kitchen.”
“Jane and Stanley are longtime clients and I enjoyed helping them create a design jewel and not something trendy,” Morrow says. The couple also gave credit to Pam Lovisa for providing invaluable knowledge and extraordinary good taste with the stone and tile selections throughout the home.
“When I met with Monique [Poche Bennett] about the kitchen, I quickly decided she was a kitchen design genius,” Stanley says. “And we definitely appreciated Blair [Rittiner]’s hands-on involvement in the landscaping. He was with his workmen every minute they were working.”
“All of the people involved listened to what was important to us,” Jane says. “The end result was a home our family finds extremely comfortable.” Adds Stanley, “Our one shot at making it right was successful. When we moved into our new home on March 31 of this year, we knew that although the road home had been a long one, it had been worth the journey.”