Sunday, September 13, 2009

Would You Like A Little Place Like This In The French Quarter?

Click on images for a larger view

When Tom Landry acquired a modest servant quarter in the French Quarter in New Orleans, he wanted to retain the city’s historic nuances through a redesign that included both the architectural and interior elements of the small space.

“My design intent was to return to the space a sense of time and history while respecting the French nature of the city and my own history of living there,” he explains. “I chose to follow an earlier period of New Orleans when the Creoles held great influences in style, fashion, and architecture.”

The 1840s building that houses Landry’s apartment on Governor Nicholls originally belonged to the Ursuline nuns, and was intended as a hospital. The historic property garnered the Vieux Carré Commission’s architectural award in 1985, the year before it was converted into condominiums.

Landry’s 560-square-foot unit was “very contemporary” when he purchased it. “The floors were carpeted, no moldings existed, and access from room to room was along the front wall of the unit,” he says. “The kitchen was open to the living room with a corner bookcase at one end of the steps and a pony wall at the other, while the living and bedroom were separated by a closet and a return air chase. The bath was of a typical nature of the conversions at that time, bad and cheap.”

To achieve his concept architecturally, Landry repositioned the wall between the living room and the bedroom, giving the bedroom a bit more space. In the center of the wall, he installed a pair of French doors. “This enfilade of doors established a sense of spatial progression,” he notes.

Landry placed a slightly overscaled French paneled screen
in a driftwood finish from Dennis and Leen
behind the custom designed daybed upholstered in a dark gold linen velvet.
"The reason for using an overscaled object like the screen
was that it makes one feel a little smaller in the space, hence the space feels a little larger,” he notes.
“The scale of the daybed and the French Louis XVI oval back antique chairs
are a little smaller than furniture you will find today.

Tom explains, “To accomplish my intent with the interior finishes, I painted each room in virtually the same color except I changed the intensity of the colors from room to room,” he says. "All of the moldings and doors are just a shade darker than the walls in each room. Unifying the wall color and the trim and varying the shades gives the spaces a hint of a contemporary note and makes the small rooms and the entire space feel larger. Using one flooring material also makes the space feel larger,” he explains. “I used a walnut stain on the floors, giving them a little deeper hue than normally seen on pine floors.”

In the bedroom, wardrobes were built flanking the bed (a very French touch) with recessed shelves for his favorite old books on New Orleans. The bedroom has a cocooned atmosphere. Voyage en Chine fabric from Old World Weavers was used to drape the bed. Because of the small space, the fabric had to be restrained in volume. Landry’s objective was to soften the alcove and warm up the room. “It feels connected to the rest of the house,” he comments. “I loved the French toile look with the twist of the Oriental subject matter," he says.

“Using a Creole design idiom in the furnishing dictated the use of woods, iron, stone, alabaster, linens, linen velvets, cotton, and sisal rugs as well as refined and primitive antiques,” he says. “With this I wanted to inject a bit of my own influences with a few abstract pieces of art to relieve the space from being too serious and stuffy.”

In the bathroom, only the tub remained in its original location. “The tub niche was arched and tiled with a white porcelain reference to the 20s,” Landry explains.

For storage of towels, soaps, and toiletries, Landry used an 18th-century Confuittier. “I love the feeling of a piece of furniture in the bath,” he remarks.

The thoughtful redesign of Landry’s elegant apartment echoes the history of New Orleans while reflecting the designer’s flair for creating beauty in small spaces. Though diminutive, Landry’s inspired pied-à-terre in the heart of the Quarter transcends its own limits with panache and a good deal of charm.

Excerpts and photos from Louisiana Homes and Gardens


Down Comforter said...

Beautiful. Very elegant!

Tara Dillard said...

Kitchen? Don't keep me in suspense !

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Greet said...

Thank you so much for this post!


Visual Vamp said...

Yes there is a tiny kitchen.
Tom says: “In the kitchen, I was able to keep most of the existing cabinetry, which was repainted. I installed a new refrigerator, which is only 24-inches deep, to give more space.” The countertop was changed to a French limestone, and Landry under-mounted the sink and removed the cabinets, replacing them with a cotton curtain.
Alas there is no photo.
xo xo

Anonymous said...

No kitchen??? No! Please, please send the man a disposable digital camera!

Ideezine said...

There is always room enough for style especially when classic. It makes a small space so gem like.

Love this post thanks!


vicki archer said...

One word...Yes please...oops that's two, xv.

my favorite and my best said...

wow! that is truly impressive. i am dying over that room with the screen and that brass arm floor lamp. i love when i see a space that seems fussy but on second glance is done in a minimal way. love it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fashionable palette said...

So beautiful. Classic.

Anonymous said...

I like this VERY much. It looks as if it will endure forever.