historic

Historic Rountree house saved by New Orleans renovator

New Orleans Rountree Bland House Courtesy Cygnette

This thing was ugly.  Dangerous too. When we moved into our home, looming behind us was a behemoth of a Gothic New Orleans mansion.  In its day, the Rountree house was a treasure, but through the years it became dilapidated- propped up with 2"x4"s and covered in blue tarp. 

Think I'm exaggerating?  Just read the articles below...

Over time, many people tried purchasing the historic home, designed by famed New Orleans architect James Freret.  However, caught up in a divorce proceeding, the owners were never willing to sell.  That is, until Andrea Bland came along.

Andrea is a true gift to New Orleans.  She's spearheaded incredible Uptown renovations, bringing homes many thought were too far gone back to their original glory.  She's been honored as Preservationist of the Year by the Preservation Resource Center.  It was a hard-earned title.  

When Andrea took on the 4,200 sq ft Rountree house, it was leaning a whopping 13."  A strong wind could have knocked this thing down.  Not to mention one of our famed New Orleans hurricanes.  Andrea straightened the home and stripped it down to the studs.  She then came back, carefully re-crafting every original detail, down to the ornate tin-lattice under the eves and the plaster medallions on the ceilings.

WGNO News reporter Deepak Saini followed her work on television.  Uptown Messenger writer Owen Courreges documented the progress in print.  Their research and storytelling weave an incredible tale.  The images are breathtaking.  Now complete, it's almost impossible to believe just how far Rountree... now Rountree-Bland...  has come.

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Read more (and check out BEFORE pictures) here:

Deepak Saini: Rountree Renovation: Preserving an iconic home

Owen Coureges: The slow, painful death of Josephine's leaning tower

Owen Courreges: The good, the bad and the ugly




Where's my porch!? Exterior demo begins

historic exterior home renovation

It's actually happening!  After three years of interior renovation, the complete exterior overhaul of our 125 year old historic home is finally getting underway.

The process took months before work could even begin.  We worked with architect Daniel Zangara from Zangara + Partners to design an exterior facade that would be more fitting with the era of the house.  At some point, I believe the house was "upgraded" to a poorly done Arts and Crafts style.  Since purchasing the house three years ago, I've wanted to bring it back to how it would have originally looked in 1890.  

Working with Daniel and the New Orleans' Historic District Landmarks Commission, or HDLC, we finally agreed on a beautiful design.  The brick foundation, stairs and deck will be completely replaced.  The vinyl siding will be replaced with wood, columns changed out for a new design, fascia upgraded to include dental molding, shutters added, railings installed, roof upgraded, rafters cut back, the list goes on and on.

Even though we're still in the early stages, I can already see my dream becoming a reality!

exterior architectural drawing


Surprise visit offers a look at my old home's rich history

When you live in a 130 year old house, it's just assumed a whole lot of other people lived there too.  If walls could speak, mine would have plenty to say! 

A month or so ago, I got a call from my neighbor who was standing outside with a few tourists.  It wouldn't be the first time.  I once had an entire family stop by.  And another neighbor has said his family lived in my home too.

These sisters, Jane and Mary, told me their grandmother lived in the house.  Their excitement to see it again was utterly contagious.  I brought them inside, where they reminisced about holidays, cats and sewing machines, even getting a little teary at moments.

This morning, I was lucky enough to get an email from Jane, chock full of old photos from their childhood!  It brought me so much joy knowing we're helping preserve these memories... one floor board... one paint job... one renovation... at a time.


Eat, shop, see: A girls' trip to charming Charleston

There's nothing better than getting my favorite girlfriends together for a reunion and there are few places better to do that than charming Charleston, South Carolina.  It was my first trip to Charleston, yet somehow the city seemed familiar, probably because it's so much like New Orleans.

Our trip was short, but we managed to pack in a lot!

Home base was the incredible French Quarter Inn.  From the glass of champagne upon arrival... to the extensive "pillow menu"... to the evening wine and cheese receptions, it was luxurious from start to finish!

We stuffed our faces at some of Charleston's best restaurants like Husk and FIG.   We watched pelicans nose-dive for fish in the Atlantic and dined at the Obstinate Daughter, which might have the best seaside decor of anyplace I've ever eaten!  We took a carriage ride through the cobblestone streets, eying the multi-million dollar mansions along the Battery.  We shopped along Charleston's glitzy King Street and perused the tourist shops in the historic Charleston City Market.

Most importantly, we laughed, gossiped and caught up on old times.  Here are just a few snapshots from our adventures!