Hurricane Katrina was awful. Several weeks before her havoc reached the Louisiana Gulf Coast, I heard that a couple from New Orleans had bought the dilapidated historic home across the street from one of our projects. The house was in sad condition. It had been carved into shoddy apartments. We hoped that somehow the new owners would talk to us about how we might work together. One day, while making a site visit at a neighboring project, the new owners appeared. We hit it off right away. They were going to continue to rent the house for a year, but in the meantime, they invited us to discuss another project in the Buffalo River valley. They wanted to build an organic farm and a simple structure for living and farm support - a cabin-barn hybrid. Once that project was rolling, we'd turn our focus to remodeling the house in town. We were thrilled. Then Katrina hit. Our new friends' New Orleans home was badly flooded. All of their plans rearranged. We moved directly into the renovation plans for Washington Avenue. The farm plans went to the back burner, and the recovery effort in New Orleans began. Things are settled now, but the arc of the story continues.
This project reclaimed a beautiful historic home. Life, art, and energy from New Orleans restored the home to it's place in the neighborhood. I'm eager to share Chapter two of this story, and soon tell you about Lucky Star Farm.
New Developments: Voices from the past have spoken! See our Journal Entry to learn more about this home's past.
- The house was built around 1900
- The screened sleeping porch was original, lost to previous remodels, and reintroduced in this design.
- The home has a huge cistern underneath the back porch to collect rainwater for irrigation.
- The new detached garage has a studio apartment above.
- Previous interventions seemed intended to obscure the best parts of the home. Why?
- New kitchen island has genuine fire truck DNA.
- It's a good porch for beverage-sipping, neighbor-waving, trick-or-treating.
- Original 9' tall ceilings had been lowered to <8'. Why?
- Blue porch ceilings may discourage wasps or inspire dreams.
- Love motivates the best projects.
A good start was to restore the best parts.