In a continuation of our series “Our City, My Home,” today we check out Stevie & John’s mid-century modern beauty! Draped in greenery and perfectly styled vignettes, they are quick to remind me that their home didn’t always look like this. They rolled the dice, ripped out all the cheap renovations done to the house before purchasing it, and started bringing back her original glory.
Fast forward a year and a half after making their purchase, and they are pretty pleased with the transformation. Stevie & John pointed out other small things still on their to-do list, but we were gushing over how amazing everything looked. Little touches like guitar knobs for cabinet handles and framed magazines they found in the shed from the 60’s all add it to make this house full of charm!
What neighborhood do you live in?
How long have you lived in this home?
Why do you love your neighborhood?
Our proximity to Lafreniere Park; which is set to undergo a few revitalization projects in the near future.
Was this is the neighborhood you hoped for when purchasing your home?
Honestly, the neighborhood was a secondary factor to the home itself—we wanted to be somewhat near our office since we work for the same company. Still, we looked at a few homes that fit the bill of what we wanted in terms of style in Harahan, River Ridge & even Covington before landing in Airline Park.
Do you know your neighbors and feel a sense of community?
We do! Our immediate neighbors have been nothing but wonderful since we joined the block. Our street, and many surrounding, are singular blocks that connect to busier “through” streets, and so our area itself is tranquil and great for afternoon or evening strolls.
What’s your piece of advice for anyone looking to move into your neighborhood?
There are some gems tucked away here. You only have to see the potential!
Are you from New Orleans?
Born & raised, though we did live in Southern California for five years. Our time in SoCal led to our love of & appreciation for mid-century modern design and architecture—a notoriously scant style in New Orleans, outside of a few “pockets” scattered about.
Tell us your favorite thing about your house.
The transformation process that we’ve undertaken & the results it’s produced—we decided to buy knowing that we had a lot of work to do, in terms of aesthetics, to save the property from the muddled and non-cohesive renovations it suffered in the 80s/90s.
The midcentury “bones” were there, but you had to squint very hard to see what it could become. A family member, when first shown a photo of the house as it was upon purchase, was quick to describe it as, and I quote, “the ugliest house [they] had ever seen,”; and I can admit that, at the time, it was hard to argue without knowing the “vision” we had in mind.
But my husband and I knew what we were looking for and could see past the current state. The aforementioned family member has since rescinded their previous statement.
Plus, the roofline—it sold it for us from day 1.
What updates/improvements have you made to your home?
Oh jeez—here we go: the previous owner had been renting out the property for years and did not live in the home themselves. That said, so much of the house had been given the “landlord special” in terms of maintenance and improvements—a glob of paint here, a low budget, temporary fix there.
This, coupled with the fact that the house was built in 1966 and still maintained some original (ie. energy inefficient) elements, left us with a long to-do list: all windows were replaced, as well as the leaded crystal front door; sand fill to close out the 6, yes, 6 foot cavern underneath the foundation; sagging horizontal vinyl siding was replaced on the front of the house with vertical cement fiber board, and the fascia and soffit painted in contrasting colors to accentuate the funky roofline angles notorious in mid-mods, but hidden by the previously monotone exterior paint; the AC intake was moved from the living room to the hallway to reduce ambient noise from the central AC unit; as a result of Ida, the roof has been replaced, but with a commercial grade application instead of shingles, due to the exceptionally low roof pitch (which really ups the mid-mod ante, but is not very precipitation-friendly); the kitchen island countertop was DIY’d as a temporary solution for some truly atrocious tile; light switch plates and outlet covers changed to brass, along with most door handles, cabinet pulls & all interior and exterior light fixtures; front yard landscaping, of which there was none previously… the list goes on and on!
Any upcoming home projects?
I would love to eventually renovate both bathrooms fully, which were updated in the 80s or 90s from what we can tell, to get them back to a more mid-century “period-appropriate” vibe, as well as continued improvements to the kitchen. But for now, it’s all about finishing up what we’ve started this far before tackling anything new.
Any advice when homebuying?
Know what you want, do your research on both the home itself & the housing market overall, but remain flexible & open-minded. Look past what’s immediately apparent in terms of aesthetics, and don’t let others’ opinions override your informed intuition. (Editor’s note: AMEN!!)
Tell us some of your favorite things about New Orleans.
The food, the people, the “down for whatever,” but also the tough-as-nails attitude it takes to roll with the punches here.
Any parting words about your amazing home?
To celebrate our 1-year anniversary of homeownership, John & I got matching tattoos of the Ray & Charles Eames “house bird”—the mid-century love runs deep (and is now permanent)!
Ready to talk homebuying? Schedule a call with us now!
Contact Team Be New Orleans