An Afternoon Drive: Houses of The Historic Garden District

George Clooney’s character in the movie Michael Clayton works for a prominent law firm in the capacity of janitor, a lean, mean cleaner of situations gone askew. Have you ever Googled the word askew?  This page alone proves the gang over at Google has quite a sense of humor.  Getting back to the George Clooney reference.  I am the Michael Clayton here at Places In The Home.  Keeping these home fires burning, running smooth and in balance comes with a certain amount of stress.  Being stressed is not good.  Stressed is desserts spelled backwards, but my backwards is big enough, if you know what I mean.  Enter a fat-free, stress-free and well, free Rx for the mind, body and soul.  An afternoon drive viewing houses of the historic Garden District clears away the cobwebs and reminds me how much I love what I do.

houses of the historic Garden DistrictCorinthian Columns

“Architecture mirrors eternal harmony….music echoes it.”  

Otto Van Simpon

Smooth jazz provides the background music while arches, and columns, and pillars (oh, my!) provide architectural eye candy.  A self-guided tour along brick-lined streets and Louisiana bayous sets a serene scene.

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My Louisiana Parade of Homes series was a labor of love, and today’s post featuring local residential properties near and dear to my architectural and historical home loving heart is no different.

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A cold front rolling across the area is to blame for the dark lighting in some of the images.

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Colonial Revival. Craftsman. Bungalow.

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Italianate. Palladian. Georgian. Just to name a few architectural styles of the houses of the historic Garden District.

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Modern architectural elements stand out among the grounds of these stately homes and manicured gardens.   The blooms of spring will make a grand statement and give me yet another reason to visit the Garden District.

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One of several antique horse head hitching posts in the neighborhood.

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The curb appeal allure is first found in the brick-lined street fronting the detailed brickwork of this single family stunner.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Love your style!

Louisiana Parade Of Homes

Part II of our Louisiana Parade of Homes features local residential properties reminiscent of Louisiana history and culture.

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Bayous and stately homes line the brick streets of the historic Garden District.

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Louisiana history is a melange of varied cultures and influences. The accent mark is well placed over the French and Spanish influence that frames our architectural elements, Créole and Cajun cuisine and the law of the Louisiana land. Louisiana law is different from the other 49 states.

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Our state Civil Code is adopted from the Napoleonic Code. Originally based on ancient Roman law, the Napoleonic Code deals in civil law with French and Spanish codes.  What is known as counties in the other 49 are known as parishes here in Louisiana.  You say antiquated, I say unique.  History and tradition holds a court of a different kind here in Louisiana.

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“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  

  Charles Caleb Colton

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Neighborhoods are replete with Acadian, Southern Colonial, Spanish, Créole and French Louisiana architectural styles.

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Southern opulence, historical influence and phenomenal curb appeal brings it all home.

Love your style!

For The Love Of New Orleans Architectural Styles

A mighty wind may blow, howl, scream and threaten destruction, but never underestimate the resolve of a city whose beauty and soul is rooted in its centuries-old history – a city seemingly built to entice and enchant the eye as well as the heart of those who admire and appreciate this architectural landmark called New Orleans.

New Orleans architectural styles fascinate me more and more with each and every visit to the Crescent City.  With a flair for finery reminiscent of the 18th century French and Spanish influence from which it came, New Orleans architectural elements are without a doubt some of the most notable, emulated and coveted features in architectural and interior design today.

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Beginning with an iconic favorite, the iconic gas lamp is synonymous with New Orleans architectural style.  Authentically crafted in antiqued copper, the Bevolo French Quarter lamp is one the most recognizable architectural elements lighting the streets, sidewalks, storefronts and entryways throughout the French Quarter and Garden District.  Cementing its role as a prominent New Orleans architectural element, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights began in the French Quarter in 1945.  The design vision and expert craftsmanship of Andrew Bevolo Sr. together with the tales of renowned architect A. Hays Town resulted in a brilliant design execution.  The French Quarter gas lamp is quintessential New Orleans and an architectural element that commands attention to detail.

Lantern_in_courtyard._May_1936._-_The_Cabildo,_711_Chartres_Street,_New_Orleans,_Orleans_Parish,_LA_HABS_LA,36-NEWOR,4-13.tifNew Orleans’ historic landmarks The Cabildo ~ May 1936

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Columns, ornate wrought-iron laced designs and historic balconies rule the New Orleans architectural elements royal court.  These sublime features wrap the city in intricate detail so historically ingrained and so hauntingly associated with the French and Spanish style architectural history of New Orleans.

“New Orleans makes it possible to go to Europe without ever leaving the United States.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

808px-LePretre_Mansion_Orleans_St_Pharmacy_1958Gardette-LaPrete House (The Sultan’s Palace)

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768px-JosephineStRevivalhouse30Nov07GateDoor1Early 19th Century Greek Revival

Thoughts of what once was and what could be again dance the dance of possibility in the minds of restorers, the hands of architects, the boards of designers and the hearts of the New Orleans devoted.  Purveyors of architectural grandeur understand and infinitely appreciate the fine point of architectural perfection in an imperfect state.

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Age is a visitor from time that comes to the New Orleans architectural styles party often as an uninvited guest, but one embraced for its weathered and worn wonder with awed appreciation nonetheless.

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Exposed brick walls epitomize traditional 19th century New Orleans architecture.  If these walls could talk, what stories they could tell!

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The word on the streets of New Orleans is revered as an art form.  Dating back over 100 years, encaustic tiles were used throughout the city of New Orleans to identify street names.

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Numerous buildings and streets of The French Quarter display the painted and embossed encaustic tiles as a historic form of identification of the old Spanish colonial street names.

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Opulent crystal chandeliers are synonymous with the finery that is New Orleans’ antiquities.  Ornate moldings, ceiling medallions, elliptical archways and decorative trimmings denote the architectural element hallmarks of the city’s Greek Revival homes.

new-orleans-house-proud-interiorsPhotos by Sara Essex Bradley 
From House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart

Dating back to the 1850s, the ornamental wrought and cast iron balconies, fences, galleries and gates of the Vieux Carré stand tall as the prominent architectural element most associated with the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans.

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 Pairing these two design elements together is a bespoke design element demonstrated throughout the Crescent City.

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Elaborate in design and characteristic of the French Quarter, ornamental ironwork frames a large portion of the landmarks and homes of New Orleans.

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The New Orleans Shotgun house possesses an exterior charm as unique as the feather, scroll and gingerbread architectural elements for which they are known.  A shotgun house is elongated in length and narrow in width with rooms flowing one into another.  Modeled in Eastlake, Neoclassical Revival and Italianate styles, the shotgun houses throughout the City of New Orleans were built with lot size constraints in mind.  Form follows function applies here.

shotgun-house-New-OrleansNew Orleans Real Estate, Today and Yesterday

Distinctive color combinations and Victorian gingerbread or lacy brackets characterize the front façade of the New Orleans’ shotgun house.

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Shuttered doors and windows continue to be a prominent fixture among the classic New Orleans architectural element scene.  Adopting and adapting exteriors to mirror the customary French architectural design element of louvered shutters on all windows caught on and remains one of the most instantly recognizable traits of New Orleans design.  Shuttered doors and windows were strictly a utilitarian feature with a three fold purpose early on- privacy, protection from wind and sun and to control ventilation.  The climate of New Orleans is not one that is conducive to complete comfort in the spring and summer months.  Shuttered doors and windows remain a characteristic feature of French Quarter buildings, restaurants and hotels today.  I have opened many a window and French door and pulled many a pair of shutters my way over the years to block the noise from the streets of the French Quarter.

1344483687_3141cc90bc_oBosque House Courtyard

An architectural enigma of sorts in a city so well know for public displays, the New Orleans’ courtyard is viewed as an architectural feat of patio splendor.  The New Orleans courtyard is an intimate walled garden usually tucked away from street view- a hidden and shaded Shangri-La.  Flowing fountains, lush plants and fragrant tropicals line the walls of the courtyard providing a tranquil place for residents, tourists and locals alike to ensconced themselves in privacy.  This is my idea of The Big Easy.

1345410562_62deda1dac_bAngel In Fountain – Le Petit Theatre

New Orleans’ native-born son, the incomparable Louis Armstrong, croons the question “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”  The influence of the New Orleans architectural element in today’s interiors and exteriors is undeniable.   Gorgeous copper, antique New Orleans bricks, ornamental iron, ceiling medallions, ornate chandeliers and shutters drive my interior design and decorating choices.  I guess I do know what it means to love the architectural styles of New Orleans.

 Love your style!

The Second Time Around: Repurposed Vintage Items

The popularity of repurposed vintage items remains deep rooted in decorative purpose.  Vintage furniture, accessories, clothing, textiles, spaces within our homes and even this second time around blog post can live many lives at the creative mercy and keen decorative sense of second chance individuals.

Mad Men

I’ve given a second, third and fourth chance to many repurposed vintage items.  A piece that was merely good in its former life has the potential to be fabulous in its repurposed one.

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Rooney Robison Antiques on Tumblr

Architectural elements find new life through current trends and design applications.  Granting a decorative reprieve to armoire crowns and pediments is a perfect example of an elegant repurpose.

repurposed-doorsTraditional Home

A door is a door is an entryway statement.   A set of vintage doors installed on rollers and repurposed as stunning entryway options- absolutely! Repurposed by definition is to change an item so it can be used for a different purpose.  This door repurposed project does exactly that by taking traditional off the hinges and achieving excellence through elegant and unique repurposing. 

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Houston interior designer Julie Dodson makes a I’m a little bit rustic-I’m a little bit California chic homeowner couple happy by combining features pleasing to both taste.  A repurposed antique wood door becomes quite the unique range surround.   

Pair Baluster Lamps smAtelier de Campagne

The beauty of the repurposed balustrade lamp is found in the distressed patina that adds the charm factor, neutral lamp shades that complement and complete the look, and the finished product that shines a light on elegant simplicity. The balustrade lamp in the image below  is from the Dave the Builder collection. We found the balustrade at an antiques market, scooped it up, wired it up and the rest is illuminated history.

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A storage deficient kitchen proposes a problem, but a bit of creativity can quickly and uniquely solve the problem.  One of my best treasure hunts resulted in two very happy clients and a fun project. Dave the Builder and I found ourselves “flea-ing” one afternoon.  My eyes zeroed in on the corner of the storage building where  a matching pair of antique twelve light wrought iron chandeliers from Walnut Grove Plantation called to me. These beauties were rusty (loved it), massive (yeah, baby), and ridiculously impressive to me.  I could not tag and pay for the iron beauties fast enough!   I caved to convention, code and a quick cash sale and rewired, repainted, and retailed one.  The other I repurposed as a vintage chandelier pot rack.

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How gorgeous is this antique bureau repurposed as a kitchen island?

island-antiqueTraditional Home

Vintage travel trunks and cases find second life style as coffee and accent tables.

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louis-vuitton-coffee-table-Brook-Shields-homeArchitectural Digest

Repurposed vintage items top the treasure seekers gotta have it list as must haves for impressive kitchen decor on a grand- scale.

repurposed-kitchen-itemsCountry Living 

Becky at Beyond the Picket Fence calls her repurposed project Shutter Island. Great eye and execution, Becky!

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But wait!  Repurposing goes beyond treasure finds of the furniture or architectural antiques kind.  A redefined repurposing of a space to better accommodate and serve the purpose of need and function is another form of repurposed vintage items. Consider the layout of most ranch style homes and the sign of the formal living room times from which they came. Don’t forget the often non-utilized space of the over-sized entrance hall or foyer. These spaces become interior relics- an area of wasted space ripe for the repurposing.

Before –

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The insight and courage to go for the design and decorative gusto by repurposing a space is to be applauded.  This center hall area becomes a present day dining room repurposing project- a unique and decorative demonstration of design and decorative repurposing.

After –

repurposed-entry-hallHouse Beautiful

Dave the Builder created another one of his “original” designs by cutting down a pair of vintage shutters to fit an electrical panel opening.  He placed flush mount hidden hinges on both shutters and secured them to the wall.  A decorative hook was installed in the middle of the shutters allowing  the shutters to lock together and remain in a closed position.  The new look created a unique disguise to an otherwise unattractive necessity.

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  Unique with a repurposed purpose.

 

 

 

Diamonds In The Rough: Architectural Antiques

Dave the Builder frequently stops by our friend’s antiques shop for a cup of coffee, an antiques market analysis and to scan the inventory architectural antiques.

Bon Appetit 

Each time he goes to the shop I remind him to keep an eye out for my latest obsession – architectural antiques.  Who am I kidding?  I’ve long been obsessed with architectural antiques.  Corbels, pediments, light fixtures, porcelain signs, concrete statues, iron oddities, table legs, doors- yes please!  Our tastes get lost in “this is what she wants” translation, and like the box of chocolates Forrest Gump’s mama told him about, you never know what you’re gonna get.

Cinematic side note:  Harold Herthum, the lovely gentleman who played the doctor in Forrest Gump, was a dear friend of my father.  He was a true character on and off the screen.

More times than not Dave comes home empty handed, but last week he came home bearing gifts.

When Dave walked in with this lovely our conversation went something like this:

Dave:  “Is this what you’re talking about?”

Me:  “Yes indeedy!”

Dave:  “Do you know what it is?”

Me:  “I’m not really sure, but I sure do love it!”

Dave:  “It’s a bed post.”

Me:  “Fabulous!”

Dave:  “What are you going to do with it?”

Me:  “Put a MacGyver on it.”

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Country Living

We’ve been known to buy a curiosity piece without an inkling of what it is. This is where the fun begins.  We channel our inner MacGyver and usually end up with a piece we love.  The trick is to come up with a piece we love and hopefully a client will love.

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Online Galleries

One afternoon Dave came home with what was once the bottom of a Mahogany Canterbury, sat it in front of me and announced “this is going to be your new footstool.”  He built up the top piece with foam and upholstered it, flat polished the Mahogany and casters, and left it at home almost an entire month before taking it to the shop.  Our finds tend to find a new home pretty quick upon completion.  It’s the nature of the business.

 Back to the bed post.

What are we going to do with the new find?  We’re considering cutting the post in half to make a pair of lamps.

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I love the balustrade column lamp Dave made a couple of years ago, and I’ve been wanting to replace the lamps in our bedroom.   A floor lamp with a marble base?  Decorative trim molding on the end sections of a kitchen island?  See how the creative process takes on a life of its own.

Do you have a love for diamond in the rough pieces?

 

Wiser Words In The Key Of Style

I like how one word can be associated with many different areas. Life, fashion, interior design, business, music, and writing all assign a sense of style however, I like to focus on the style of home. I’m not simply referring to decorating and dinner party ideas, the construction, or architecture of a house. The decor, personality, hospitality within, graciousness, and how we as hosts handle a less than comfortable situation measures the style of home.

Designers, actors, shop owners, one blogger, one musician and two chefs reveal their sense of style through meaningful words.

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“The oldest form of theater is the dinner table.”

– Michael J. Fox,  actor & author

 

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“I learned that passion about objects and furnishings makes for fearless decorators—and that if you are comfortable in your home, everyone else will be too. That sense of authenticity is what gives a home its soul.”

Courtnay Daniels Haden, interior designer

 

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“Turn off cell phones!”

Joan Michaels, interior designer

 

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“A room should start a conversation before people actually start exchanging words.”

– Barry Dixon, interior designer

 

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“Make a home-cooked meal, even if it’s just a bowl of chili and a salad with garlic bread. There’s nothing better than simple and delicious.”

Lisa Fine, textile designer

 

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“In case of an entertaining crisis, take a deep breath and ask, ‘What would Auntie Mame do?’ If a guest accidentally breaks something, regardless of value, simply say, ‘Thank you. I’ve been looking for a reason to replace that old thing.'”

Bryan Batt, actor/shop owner

 

 

“When I was in Italy one summer, our hosts served cashews and potato chips in crystal bowls while we sipped Prosecco. It was a revelation: right-out-of-the-bag snacks become sophisticated when they’re served in a gorgeous dish.”

Stephanie Ballardcovetliving.com

 

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“Handwritten thank-you notes after being entertained are a must.”

Grant K. Gibson, interior designer

 

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“You can never have too many white plates, platters, and bowls.”

Cheryl Katz, interior designer

 

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“I try to greet my friends with a drink in my hand, a warm smile on my face, and great music in the background, because that’s what gets a dinner party off to a fun start.”

Ina Garten, celebrity chef and author

 

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“In life as in design, it is not perfection you should be after. There’s beauty in the faded and worn, the well loved, and the sentimental…After all, life has seams. Your home should be like a loosely woven fabric of desires, memories, practical, notions, and even compromises.”

Celerie Kemble, interior designer

 

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Architectural Digest

“When you’re building a room, you’re building character, and character is the strength and wisdom of a home.”

Rose Tarlow, interior designer

 

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“You should have a picture of yourself as a kid in your home so that you remember where you came from.”

John Mayer, musician

 

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Digital Food Network

“Kitchens should be designed around what’s truly important—fun, food, and life.”

 Daniel Boulud, chef/restaurateur

 

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“There are two things that make a room timeless: a sense of history and a piece of the future.”

Charlotte Moss, interior designer

 

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“Real comfort, visual and physical, is vital to every room.”

Mark Hampton, interior designer

 

Wise words, a good sense of taste and humor, and impeccable manners are strong anchors in the game of style.

Love your style!

 

Historic Homes And The Beauty Of Their Architectural Elements

Architectural integrity through architectural elements is the indelible mark of historic homes and landmarks.

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It is usually the only tangible proof of bygone golden eras ruled by classic styles.

Cornstock Hotel

Restoration efforts and day to day upkeep of historic homes can be financially mind boggling.  The sheer expense of replicating these styles in today’s market can create financial hurdles difficult to clear.  Aging and changing neighborhoods coupled with a natural progression away from this style of living  places most of  these homes in the private sector on an endangered species list.

historic homes of New Orleans

The craftsmanship, detail to details, and artisan skills used to envision, shape, form, and build these homes fascinate me. Over the years we have had the opportunity to tour, consult on, and donate antique pieces to several state and privately owned historic homes.

Bishops Palace

As much as I love antiques I will walk right by a period piece without so much as a glance to get to the heart of the historic matter.  Architectural elements  grab and hold my attention.

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In our city we have a block that is known as Mansion Row.  Anchoring the far left corner of the block stands the Thompson-Hargis Mansion.  Built in 1907, this Greek Revival home with characteristic Ionic columns, porte-cochère, triangle pediment, and transom entry was once a jewel in the crown of our city history.  The exterior and grounds showed the weathered look of sun and time- nothing paint and repair could not fix.  The property was structurally sound and the architectural integrity intact.

Thompson-Hargis Mansion

The furnishings were removed years ago, the windows and doors boarded, and the grand dame beautifully sat idling until this past Sunday evening when she fell victim to a senseless demise.

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Neighbors who recall the elegance of what was and admirers of what could have been mourn the total loss of of property, history, and hope.

Thompson-Hargis

It is a sad turn of events and an even sadder realization that original, historic, and one of a kind architectural elements were destroyed. Dollars do not factor into the equation, there is no replacement value for the architectural integrity of this 105 year old home. RIP Thompson-Hargis Mansion.

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Preserving history and restoring things runs in my family. Dave the Builder and I preserve antique and architectural pieces.  My brother purchased, moved, and restored his circa 1903 Victorian home – his second property to restore.  I am currently in the process of photographing his home to feature in a future post.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

images:  Preservation in Mississippi, New Orleans Homes and Neighborhoods, Galveston History, History of a House Museum,  NOLA, Old Houses, Frenchtowner,  Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, Perpetual Renovator, We Saw That

The Decorative Genius, Green Benefit and Giving Purpose Of Repurposing

The concept of using repurposing in the name of all things home is genius, green and giving.  Does your heart begin to race and the creative side of your brain kick into overdrive at the sight of  an item with please repurpose me written all over it?  You, my brilliant repurposing friend, are not alone!  The decorative genius, green benefit and giving purpose of repurposing is a beautiful and stylish thing.

Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens

Antiques and architectural pieces stand the test of time, hold their value and do their part in the go green movement.  Antique buffets and sideboards refitted with user friendly countertops are easily repurposed as kitchen islands, entertainment centers or bathroom vanities. Reclaimed wood beams wow as the frame of this kitchen ~ dining room doorway. Consider repurposing vintage display cabinets as stylish storage solutions.

House Beautiful 

The Decorative Genius,Green Benefit and Giving Purpose Of RepurposingHouzz

Forged-iron industrial tripods and manhole covers become unique side tables.

House and Home

Architectural pieces find new life in many decorative forms. This chippy, funky and fabulous antique door was repurposed as part of our fence.  We bought this door from an antiques dealer friend in Denham Springs, Louisiana.  She had this lone door unit in her shop, the last of a set of five purchased by the pickers for Bass Pro Shops.  It came with a large arched window above the doors that I removed and sold as a separate piece.

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Dave the Builder figured out years ago to expect the unexpected from me and my nonconformist decorating ideas. Repurposed items present endless possibilities in the pursuit of making decorative statements.

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Dave scored big brownie points when he made this lamp for me out of the baluster I found kicking around a vintage shop.

Fresh Home 

Etsy

Antique windows with the panes removed beautifully come to second life as a repurposed headboard.

arched windows headboardApartment Therapy

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Innovative and inspirational- an antique french armoire repurposed as interior doors.

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This look decoratively defines the concept of repurposing.  A salvaged store display used as a china and collectibles cabinet becomes the unique and ingenious focal point of this kitchen.

Better Homes and Gardens

Antique key plates, vintage seltzer bottles and one lone rustic roof ventilator shed new light on the art of repurposing.

Napa Style

Napa Style

Relique

A purposeful repurpose~

Habitat for Humanity is on a mission and open for business.  A non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates homes for low-income people.  In an effort to raise revenue and endure these trying economic times, Habitat for Humanity has and continues to open ReStore resale outlets.   ReStore resale outlets accept donations of doors, lighting, flooring, cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, furniture and used materials.  Items are then sold at bargain prices. The proceeds help local Habitat affiliates fund construction of Habitat homes at the local level. ReStores work well to encourage the three r’s- reuse, repurpose, and recycle.  Did you hear that?  It’s the collective cheers of DIY fans and decorating bargain hunters the  design world over.  More importantly, it’s the many voices of thanks for supporting a wonderful cause.

Love your style!

 

 

Let Your Lights Shine!

Christmas lights from around the world brought to you by holiday spirit, magnificent talent, skill and style extraordinaire, and historical architectural wonders of the world as seen through the lens of talented photographers.

Fifth Avenue~ New York, New York

Mann’s Grauman Chinese Theater~ Hollywood, California

Jackson Square~ New Orleans, Louisiana

Empire State Building~ New York, New York

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele~ Milan, Italy

Shops in Seiffen, Germany

U.S. Capital~ Washington, DC

Sydney, Australia

Caesars Palace~ Las Vegas, Nevada

Auckland, New Zealand

Rockefeller Center~ New York, New York

Melksham, United Kingdom

calle de Alcala~ Madrid, Spain

Champs-Élysées~ Paris, France

Buckingham Palace~ London, England

 La Grande Place~ Brussels, Belgium

 

Photo sources:

Fifth Avenue: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Mann’s Grauman Chinese Theater: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Jackson Square: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Empire State Building: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Seiffen, Germany: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

U.S. Capital: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sydney, Australia: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Caesars Palace: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Auckland, New Zealand: Sandra Mu/Getty Images

Rockefeller Center: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Melksham, UK: Matt Cordy/Getty Images

calle de Alcala: Liesa Johannssen/Getty Images

Champs-Élysée: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace: Steve Finn/Getty Images

La Grande Place: Mark Renders/Getty Images