Do You Know What it Means to Love the Decorating Styles Characteristic of the New Orleans Garden District?

Admiring lovely images of architecture, design and decorating is one of the ways I hit the blogging, decorating, sourcing reset button.  I let the beauty wash over me in a beauty is good for the soul kind of way.  All interior design is visually captivating in one way or another, but my eye is immediately drawn to those images featuring the decorating styles characteristic of the New Orleans Garden District.

Louis Armstrong

As I write this post I am listening to Louis Armstrong sing “Do you Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.”  I certainly do, Satchmo, as much as I know what it means to love the decorating styles characteristic of the New Orleans Garden District.

The stunning New Orleans home of Grace and Sandy Kaynor as featured in Southern Living ~  Photography by Laurey W. Gleen

Aware of the myriad of decorating styles to explore and consider, there’s been times when I’ve wondered if my interior design and decorating style needle is stuck.  The logic I apply answers the question with an emphatic no.

As in love, the interior design and decorating heart wants what it wants, and the interior design and decorating eye likes what it likes.

Both my design and decorating heart and eye knows what it means to love the decorating styles characteristic of the New Orleans Garden District. Over the years of countless trips to New Orleans, Dave the Builder and I have spent hours driving up and down the tree lined streets of the historic Garden District and St. Charles Avenue on our brand of self guided home and garden tours.  To say I was and continue to be inspired and influenced is a grand understatement.

Exteriors replete with ornate detail tell the story of real estate royalty, one that takes the reader’s (the drive by admirer in this case) imagination on a trip to I wonder what the inside looks like land.

Distinct architectural and interior design features typify the stately homes of the New Orleans Garden District, providing the homeowner-designer-decorator a classic canvas to work wonders with.

My New Orleans

New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles

What makes the interiors of period homes unmistakable is the traditional, Baroque, Rococo or Victorian style features.  What makes the interiors of period homes distinct is the contrast, the blend, the mix, the juxtaposition of decorating styles living in stunning harmony with each other.  I learned a long time ago all decor choices do not have to strictly follow the primary design style.

Rodney-Villarreal-Design

Rodney Villarreal Design

The mixing and mingling of contemporary accent and abstract art pieces throughout a room decorated in a traditional, Baroque, Rococo or Victorian style creates contrast fit for focal point distinction. From historic mansions to bungalow cottages- it’s not the size of the space or the style of the home, but the statement the decor makes.

Cavan

The New Orleans influence is obvious throughout our home and homes decorated by yours truly.

decorating styles characteristic

Antiques, Italian lanterns, ceiling medallions, dupioni silk drapes, crystal chandeliers, decorative mirrors scrolled in gold leaf- the curated look comes home.

The companion piece post to Do You Know What It Means to Love the Decorating Styles Characteristic of the New Orleans Garden District features images of, inspiration to decorate by and source information on the home decor accents and accessories that impeccably mirror statement pieces found in the homes of the New Orleans Garden District.  It will post at the end of the week.

 

 

 

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.

bungalow

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.

ES-garden-districtSpanish Colonial

Spanish-garden-district

A-line-roof

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.

Queen-Anne

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.

bayou-shot

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

French-architecture

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.

cp-concrete

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.

DFH

“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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CP-acadian

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

Love your style!

Not Too Far But Far Enough Away From Home: Travels to Small Southern Towns

August was a busy month of celebrations and milestones around Places In The Home.  Our son’s graduation from Louisiana State University, commencement ceremony and subsequent celebration(s) made for a busy first part of the month. When Dave the Builder suggested a regroup and recovery getaway for two I could not make reservations fast enough.  I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the not too far but far enough away from home travels to small Southern towns.  These travel gems brimming with history, old houses, antiques and townsfolk who invite you to take in and be a part of the local flavor make a great weekend getaway destination perfect for recharging one’s battery.

St.-John's-Episcopal-ChurchSt. John’s Episcopal Church – Washington, Louisiana

Our long and winding road travels (well, our straight line I-49 travels) placed us center stage among the small Southern towns of Washington, Scott and Lafayette, Louisiana.  I learned a long time ago not to categorize our close to home jaunts as a non-vacation.  Trust me, these  just roll with the flow discovery excursions can pass a good time and pass for a real vacation.

Travels to Small Southern Towns

Washington, Louisiana is as sleepy as it is Southern, a small town full of history from steamboat days gone by.  Narrow streets shaded by mature oaks, magnolia trees, historical architecture, quintessential Southern homes ranging from the wow to the weathered, and an old high school full to the gills with antiques and vintage goodies seasons the local flavor.

old-houseBeauty does not always strike a pristine pose. This abandoned abode on a shaded street in a small Southern town piqued my interest, struck an architectural chord and became the subject of a subjective experience.  

You know you love antiquing when the indoor temperature almost matches the oppressive outdoor temperature ( 95+ degrees).  Note to self: antiquing in old buildings, warehouses, outdoors and in old high schools is an activity best enjoyed in the fall.  On this particular Louisiana summer Saturday, the Old Antique School Mall was full of hot air and hot finds priced fairly and in shop or home ready condition.  I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for, but something told me I would know it when, and if, I saw it.

Antique-School-Mall

Our visit to the school was timed just right for a super sale.  I have been working on a kitchen gallery wall, and no respectable kitchen gallery wall is complete without the all important touch of copper.

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I couldn’t resist the lidded copper pan and mold.  Grand total: $10 for both.

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That ladies and gentlemen is a copper bargain of the very best kind.

PM-corbel Dear Santa…

The method to my retail madness is simple- pop into shops, boutiques, markets and retail outlets not available in the retail deficient corner of the world I call home.

The Haul~

Lafayette-goodies

A familiar sign became a beacon of biscuits and cornbread in the South Louisiana night.

Cracker-Barrel-signIt was a biscuit and cornbread kind of evening. 

I planned our next trip the Southern life fantastic on the drive home. November can’t get here soon enough.

Love your style!

An Admired Treasure Comes Forth From The Myrtles Plantation Mystery Tour

The door has opened on Part III of  The Myrtles Plantation Mystery Tour : Inspiration, History and Mystery.  The final portion of our story involves history, haunts and Houston.   Here we go!

myrtles-plantationThe Myrtles Plantation ~ Tara Marie Photography

The furnishings inside The Myrtles Plantation include four-poster tester beds, crystal chandeliers, ornamental frieze work, and ornate English, French and Italian architectural attributes. Most impressive to me was the backstory, explanations, insights, legends and lessons of lifestyles, customs and ceremony of the period.  Miss Hester told of how etiquette and ceremony were heavily emphasized.  It was considered in poor taste and bad manners to broach the subject of how long guests would be staying at The Myrtles. When the owners decided the time had come for their guests to be moving on, the center bed finial would be removed while the guests were out of the room.  An immediate departure was expected.  Another story of interest revolved around the main staircase.

antique spindles and newel

A mortgage button (decorative plug) in the newel post of the foyer staircase proudly signified the mansion mortgage was completely paid off. It is believed the property note would then be rolled up, placed in the hollow post, and capped with a decorative plug.  Some historians totally debunk this theory. There are others who say the practice of the time would have been to burn the  property note, therefore, placing the ashes in the hollow post.  Of myth and mystery comes tales that may not be long on historical accuracy,  but make for interesting and intriguing parts of the evening.  The history of The Myrtles and its legend of murder, mystery and sightings is detailed in this short video from The Travel Channel.

I was really into the spirited vibe of the evening for the sake of  the adventure. Far be it from me to discount the tales of tugs and ghostly reflections that others claim to have felt or seen. Miss Hester took me to the side and told me that the children like to show themselves to other children.  She told me of the pull described in the video, and that our son could be visited during the tour.  Dave was freaking out, our son was prepared for paranormal activity with a ghostbuster attitude, and I was dead up (pardon the pun) in the middle of all the mystery and mischief. Could this be what was in store for us this evening?

MyrtlesPlantationGhostvia

Everyone on the Mystery Tour was hanging on Miss Hester’s every word, braced and ready for impact. Between the ghosts and the thrill of what could happen I almost forgot I was on silver lazy susan lookout. When we entered the dining room I immediately saw the lazy susan prominently displayed in the center of the dining table.

Myrtles Interior Dining Room

Even though we immensely enjoyed every moment of the Mystery Tour, I’m sorry to report that  no sightings, tugs, pulls or sounds emerged from the house or the grounds.  We gave it our all trying to get that ghostly feeling, but it was a no-go.  We met a couple from Baton Rouge who were staying in the General David Bradford Suite on the first floor of the main house.  We stood on the back porch comparing our Mystery Tour notes. They invited us to join them for a post mystery tour spirit.  We all got to laughing at the very animated Dave the Builder.  Dave mustered up a shot or two of liquid courage, and in doing so was quite determined to wake the dead.  I reminded him it was probably best to let sleeping spirits lie.

chloe

Of course my brother could not wait to find out how we liked St. Francisville, New Roads, and The Myrtles. The conversation began with two to the point questions.  “Did you see the lazy susan?”  Yes.  “Can you find me one?”  Yes I can.  I filed his request away for a future antiquing trip.  Three months after our Myrtles excursion my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and another road trip of a very different kind was the plan.  We moved to Houston, Texas for six weeks for my mother to receive cancer treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  My mother successfully completed her treatment, and thankfully remains cancer-free.

Antique Center of Texas

One afternoon while my parents were resting, Dave and I set out to explore the Westheimer and Buffalo Speedway area of Houston. We lunched at  La Madeleine in Highland Village (now closed) and did an abbreviated version of a shop crawl beginning at Pottery Barn.  I called to check in on the parents,  who informed me they were rested and heading out to have dinner with a dear Houstonian friend of ours.  That’s a go for more shopping.  Three guesses what king of shopping I wanted to do!  Oh, boy, is this great!

Flounder

Carolyn Thompson’s Antique Center of Texas was hopping, and the finds and deals got my attention. I was thrilled to find a Pheasant mount, a black and brown English riding derby, and a large copper bowl.  I was shocked when I flipped over the price tag on the bowl to see a super responsible price.  The reason for the great price?  The entire center of the bowl was covered with a poorly done free handed inscription.  Where one person sees a problem another sees a solution. I simply hung the bowl with the center facing the wall. It is one of many items still packed in storage from the move, but as soon as I locate that bad boy I will post a picture.  On our way to the check out Dave happened to spot a booth brimming over with vintage silver pieces. Well, well, well, what do we have here?  We simultaneously spot the silver lazy susan and make a beeline for it.  The dealer approached us with a smile and a dealing mood. I put my best broker face on and played the will you take $$$ game for right under one hour.  Now comes the dance.  I call my brother with the price, he would counter, Dave would pace, I would shop some more, Dave would continue to pace, the dealer would counter- it all goes with the territory.  A fair and final figure was agreed on by all,  and everyone came away a happy camper.  That’s the true definition of a good deal.

silver lazy susan

I hope you have enjoyed the tale of  how an admired treasure came forth from The Myrtles Plantation Mystery Tour.  All roads leading to the lazy susan hold a special meaning to me. In the middle of the fun, the fright and the fight stood family.  Speaking of family, can a brother get some silver polish?

 

images via Southern Living,  Flickr