Exterior renovation gets underway!

Front Elevation without Parapet, Courtesy: Zangara + Partners The time has finally come!

We're tackling the biggest project in our home renovation... the exterior... and we're finally hiring some pros.  Most of our renovation has been DIY, but the ugly facade of our home is much more complicated.

Because our neighborhood is historic, all exterior renovation needs to be approved through the Historic District Landmarks Commission or HDLC.  They're notorious sticklers, so getting approval for any exterior work is never an easy process.

We did some research and found an architect that we really like.  His name is Daniel Zangara and he has a small firm called Zangara + Partners that does beautiful work.  In fact, his firm built the home of the the NBA Pelican's General Manager, Dell Demps.  Demps' Uptown house is new construction, but you'd never know it from the rich historic detail.

While choosing an architect was easy, tracking the history of our home was not.  The only photo we could find was an undated picture of our neighbor's Gothic mansion, where you can see a little glimpse of our small house next door.  Daniel also tracked down and old newspaper ad from 1914, in which the property was listed as a “pretty little cottage” with “seven rooms” for rent at a cost of $30.

The property was auctioned in 1919 and again in 1923.  Mr. William J. Ford, Sr. and family lived at the residence in the 1940s.  Their son, Captain Thomas J. Ford received the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his bravery during World War II!

It's been an interesting and at times, frustrating, scavenger hunt.

I assumed our home was Greek Revival, renovated to an Arts and Crafts style in the 1930s.  However, after looking at the existing architectural detail, poring over the research and taking a trip into the attic, Daniel believes it was simply a New Orleans "cottage."

Unfortunately, that doesn't give us a clear direction.  Our original design included a parapet, which we've determined wasn't in keeping with the original home.  So, we revised the plan to include some of the Greek Revival elements I love, without straying too far from a classic cottage.

I found inspiration in the books New Orleans Houses by Lloyd Vogt and New Orleans Architecture, Volume I: The Lower Garden District, and Daniel revised the original drawing to something slightly more simple, but still gorgeous.  It includes adding decorative brackets, changing the pillars, nixing a staircase and adding railings, new lighting and shutters.

Now, let's just hope the HDLC loves it as much as we do.  I'll keep you posted!!