A few years ago my client asked me to decorate one of his homes and this became a journey over the years completing two homes and two apartments. I grateful for this opportunity and can wait for the next journey.
The Garden Gates is breathing style and grace into one of the French Quarter’s most historic homes in an extensive multi-part interior design project. Beginning with furnishings and accents in the kitchen and informal living room, Beth Harris and Emily Castro are working their way through this off-Bourbon manor to create the ultimate guest house.
Once all the major furnishings arrive, Beth and Emily are excited to fill in the spaces with artwork, vases and other decorative accents.
The gorgeous home on Dumaine Street has been in the owner’s family since the 1930s. He recently purchased his aunt’s house next door, where he currently lives. He intends to use the redecorating project to create a comfortable, luxurious space for his children and guests to reside in during visits.
“You’re not designing for a specific person, you’re just trying to make people comfortable for the time they are there,” Castro said. “We are focusing on pieces that are optimal for guest living. For example, all the chairs and sofas are slip covered so they can be washed.”
The plan is to match the decor with the architecture of the house – contemporary, comfortable and stylish. Cream colored walls work in tandem with dark wooden floors for a neutral atmosphere; Harris and Castro are carefully selecting fun accents that lend a brightly colored pop to each room.
“We’re adding some life to the space,” said Castro.
A highlight is the kitchen’s gorgeous centerpiece, the Chanteuse Chandelier by Currey & Co. This glamorous 8 foot piece is hand crafted from wrought iron and glass and finished in a subtly stunning silver granello. It will hang overtop the circular Fitzwilliam Table to create a regal yet informal breakfast area. Chandeliers are a common finishing touch to old New Orleans homes. Newer houses are constructed on a raised platform to allow for air flow, requiring the installation of ceiling fans.
“Older homes that have preserved the original design have chandeliers because there’s no need for fans,” Castro said. “We want to stay true to what the house originally was. We’re using original pieces in new, creative ways.”
Instead of pitching a set of unique chairs, Harris and Castro will have them slipcovered – it’s like getting all new furniture.
The one-story house boasts ideal circulation, as every room has multiple entrances and exits. Phase 2 of the three-month project will focus on furnishing the house’s four bedrooms. Each is airy, spacious and uniquely designed. As the most luxuriously spaced and styled, the Master bedroom will feature a grand headboard, gorgeous Bella Notte linens and stunning curtains overhanging a window that looks out to the classic French Quarter neighborhood. Each bedroom will feature Bella Notte linens in the classically stunning champagne shade.
The final stage of the project will center on selecting accents for the formal areas, including the dining room, formal living room with bar and an interstitial space. Designer seating will be a top feature.
With a Master of Architecture degree from Tulane University’s prestigious program, Castro is excited to use her education in tandem with her merchandising and display experience at The Garden Gates to create a dream home. “Being able to pull that together with what I learned in school for this project is extremely gratifying, as is being able to use that to make something so special for David and his family.”
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