Après le déluge. Restoring an A. Hays Town home after the flood. (with apologies to Madame de Pompadour) by Poki Hampton

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1 Après le déluge (with apologies to Madame de Pompadour) by Poki Hampton Restoring an A. Hays Town home after the flood DESIGNED BY RENOWNED Louisiana architect A. Hays Town, the original construction of this home for Bob and Stevie Mack took 16 months before its completion in Mr. Town was a wonderful gentleman, and at age 82, he was as spry as a 50-yearold, says Bob. He was so knowledgeable and had a fabulous eye for proportions and the use of old materials in modern construction. Stevie and I were able to work with Mr. Town to pick out the handmade soft red New Orleans jumbo bricks from an old late-1800s building on St. Charles Avenue. We picked out cypress beams and ceilings and the 12-inch-wide heart pine >> 36 Inside Northside photo: THOMAS B. GROWDEN November-December

2 Antique maps frame an old church pew accented with a bench cushion in golden eyelash-fringed silk from Hestia Luxury in Linens and pillows from The French Mix. flooring that came out of an old New Orleans school. always with a mind toward minimal impact on his Choosing options to replace Town s curated collection Working with him was a wonderful experience. trademarks. When the flood waters rose in our home of materials was a painstaking process. When the first- Above: Ellen Bajon of EMB Interiors used natural fabrics that Together they created a beautiful example of ideals. last spring, we were freed from strict adherence floor sheetrock was stripped out to four feet high, we incorporated a touch of iridescence to add formality to the From the day Rick and I moved into our to that idea because things were going to change were able to reimagine what a 2016 A. Hays Town relaxed feeling in the dining room. Above right: The living room is transformed in neutral tones of white, cream and touches of light blue under the direction of Jennifer Dicerbo of The French Mix. The hand-knotted wool rugs from Rug Chic anchor rooms without hiding the old heart pine floors that are an A. Hays Town trademark. Covington home, it felt like a stewardship, says current owner Lori Murphy. Living in Louisiana in an A. Hays Town home carries with it some responsibilities to preserve his style and even his idiosyncrasies. When we made alterations, it was photos: THOMAS B. GROWDEN whether we wanted them to or not. Our contractor knew how much the details meant to us, and the whole team carefully preserved whatever they could. They meticulously numbered each board of trim and casing, although not all survived to be re-used. home might feel like. After the gutting was complete, a cadre of designers stepped up to help with the restoration. The new wall color, Benjamin Moore Ballet White, was a breath of fresh air that played beautifully off the wood and brick >> 38 Inside Northside November-December

3 framing every room on the first floor. The walls of the entrance hall are lined with framed antique maps of places special to the couple that Rick has collected over the years. Anchoring that hall is an antique church pew that Town himself might have selected. Jenifer Dicerbo of The French Mix began the process of reimagining the interiors with the paint color and choosing furnishings and finishes for the living room. The result is more modern and lighter in so many aspects. The living room, with its wide-plank heart pine floors, is transformed in neutral tones of white and cream with touches of pale blue. The slipcovered sofa in a creamy Belgian linen dominates the room, while a pair of custom chairs beautifully upholstered in a faux shagreen add texture and interest to the timeless French Bergère. Highlighting an assortment of throw pillows is a white faux-fur oblong pillow that brings a touch of whimsy. In lieu of traditional, heavy wood furnishings, Jennifer and her associate, Chris Piazza, selected pieces featuring glass, burnished metal and bright, crisp acrylic. The antique trumeau mirror in a soft off-white glaze with burnished gold accents hangs between French doors accentuated with billowing white silk draperies. A large contemporary painting by Michele Y Williams infuses the room with drama and color. One departure from a Town trademark of lamp lighting for the living room was the addition of a chandelier from Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights. Its grace and scale are perfectly at home in the room. Reflecting the architect s dramatic use of color, the original dining room had deep red walls and an antique brass candle chandelier. As the house took on its lighter personality, Lori called Ellen Bajon of EMB Interiors to help her select a new wall color. In lieu of color, she suggested the painted architecture of wainscoting and framework to provide definition. The Murphys had the round walnut table that Ellen surrounded with clean-lined contemporary dining chairs upholstered in textured pewter/bronze linen with a slight iridescence. They chose soft, pleated draperies in shades of oyster with a pearlized shimmer to hang on custom iron rods. A tranquil landscape scene by local artist Gretchen Armbruster was the color inspiration for the room. On another wall, a family portrait was placed above a French marble-top sideboard. The floor-to-ceiling cypress windows of the alcove are a feature often found in A. Hays Town homes. Tucked into the alcove, a pair of arm chairs flank an antique writing table highlighted with a marble and brass table lamp and accessories from EMB. Adding a rustic touch is the six-arm iron chandelier, which is original to the house, though not to this room. Four contemporary art pieces from Michele Y Williams flank the alcove. Town s cypress cabinets in the >> Glazed lower cabinets are topped in a honedfinish, Taj Mahal quartzite from Stone Source in the refurbished kitchen. A painting by James Michalopoulos hangs to the right of the kitchen, which is framed in reclaimed cypress beams. November-December

4 Painting by Mary Helen Seago. kitchen, which he had bench made for each home, were topped with Saltillo tile. Though the lower cabinets needed replacement after the flood, carpenters were careful not to disturb the wallmounted backsplash of cream-colored handmade tiles dotted with classic imagery. Rick took control of the kitchen. A native of Baton Rouge, Ellen knew Town and offered suggestions on ways to keep the feeling of the design while adapting it to new ideas. Though the tile was striking, it was also soft and porous, not the best choice for this family hub. She suggested a Taj Mahal quartzite in a honed finish to tie the backsplash into the new cabinets and stand up to everyday abuse. Monique Bennett of Cabinets by Design suggested raised-panel Wood-Mode cabinets in a light grey/green finish to complement the original cypress upper cabinets and the brick floor. New appliances were added, including Rick s favorite upgrade, a 150-bottle wine cooler. Copper pendants from Bevolo tie in with the original copper vent hood, which was taken down and reworked. It had to be. During demolition, it was found that the hood hid a small vent wedged into a beam, making odd twists and turns. With a little ingenuity, the original copper vent now looks great and is up to code. Surrounded by five French-style bentwood bar stools, the large island photos: THOMAS B. GROWDEN provides a great place to sit and converse with the cook. It features the original thick cypress plank top over new Wood- Mode cabinetry. The wood-paneled ceiling and beams run from the kitchen into the breakfast room. A French-style rectangle table and four antique ladderback chairs sit on the brick floor in front of a Louis Phillipe buffet á deux corps from the late 1880s. It occupies a spot that before the restoration was given up to an air return that has been relocated into the back hallway. Adjacent to the breakfast room is A rustic lantern and soft velvet pumpkins from decoeur sit atop the handmade cypress table. The Louis Phillip buffet á deux corps holds several entertaining necessities from Niche Modern Home. a small den with a wood-burning fireplace and original cypress Top left: A Jackie Ellens cabinets. The post-flood work painting hangs over provided an opportunity to revive the master bed, which a forgotten corner of those builtins. Designed as a wet bar, it had from Hestia. The 1860s is dressed in linens been sacrificed to the television, marble-topped Directoire which now hangs over the fireplace. chest serves as an Though such a placement wouldn t oversized nightstand. likely be a feature of the architect s Left: Cappuccino marble interior design choices, it does countertops contrast return the symmetry he strived for nicely with the bench in his plans. A group of stacking made cabinets from tables in gold leaf and marble from >> Susan Currie Design. 42 Inside Northside November-December

5 Cast aluminum dining set and cushions from Outdoor Living Center. Arabella sits between two swivel rockers upholstered in an oyster crushed velvet. A white linen slipcovered sofa faces an oversized cocktail table and the roaring fire on a chilly evening. The master bathroom, with his and hers areas, is the last spot that got an overhaul après déluge. What constituted well-appointed 30 years ago has certainly changed, but the fact is Mr. Town didn t really put much stock in bathrooms even then. The Jack-and-Jill style of the bathroom suite was complicated even more with too many walls and doors to be viewed as a modern space. The signature materials are used in the new room, double the size of its 1985 rendition. The focal point of a wall-sized window is now set amidst a brand-new set of bench made cabinets. Remembering the home s heritage, we used raised-panel cabinets, which fit with the A. Hays Town original aesthetic, says designer Susan Currie. The Cappuccino marble counters and tub surround from Stone Source contrast nicely with the cabinets Warm Cottage Tan finish with a brown glaze. The gold leaf iron sconces with natural paper shades are from Circa Lighting, flanking the trumeau mirrors finished in distressed dark charcoal. The paint color for the walls, Edamame by PPG Paint, was inspired by nature found just outside the large window and is a perfect complement to the cypressboard walls and the antique brick floor. Shown above the tub is a fluid floral abstract painting by Mary Helen Seago. Finishing touches were added by Jenny Mutter of Hestia Luxury in Linens. This should be a sanctuary, she says. Bringing softness to the brick and wood enclave, she used rich warm taupes in the towels and rugs. In 1985, in A. Hays Town s time, practical, luxury elements like soft-close drawers and self-closing cabinet hinges were not in wide use. The post-flood restoration took his classic Southern style and blended it with a few fresh alternatives. We believe Mr. Town would approve if he were building this home today, say the Murphys. Footnote from Lori Murphy. In the restoration of our home, we benefitted from the outpouring of care and expertise from so many professionals working across the northshore. They have helped us love our home even more. In addition to those mentioned here, I need to specifically thank contractors Jared Riecke, Bryant Caruso and Gerald Fischer, Jerry Dupont and Steve King, who carefully navigated between us and them, designer Matt Voelkel, Don Wise of Louisiana Custom Closets, Stephanie Hendry of decoeur, Steve Macloud of Niche Modern Home, Southland Plumbing, Paul Gement of Pine Grove Electric, artist Jim Seitz, Mary Wiley from Artistry of Light, CJ Ladner, Margarita, Abraham and so many other clients, friends, family and members of my it takes a village. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. 44 Inside Northside November-December