house

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.

-------------------------------

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




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.


Queen Bey and Jay Z lay down roots in NOLA

Beyonce and Jay Z house in New Orleans

There's about to be new royalty in New Orleans.

The same week that we learned Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are selling their French Quarter property, word on the street has it that Beyonce and Jay Z have bought a house in New Orleans!

The Spanish Baroque property is a converted Presbyterian Church called La Casa de Castille, located in the Garden District.

For $2.6 million, the couple gets 13,292 square feet, 26 foot high ceilings, arched windows, three separate apartments and 22 rooms!

The mansion features a rooftop deck that's touted as the largest residential green roof in New Orleans.

Between Essence Fest, Super Bowl and hanging with her sister Solange, Queen Bey has been spending a lot of time in the city.  We're excited to hear she's laying down roots!

Brangelina's French Quarter mansion hits the market

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sell French Quarter home

New Orleans may be saying farewell to our favorite celebrity couple.  Then again, they might just be sick of the French Quarter! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have listed their 1830's New Orleans mansion with Latter and Blum for $6.5 million.  It's a steep price, at $850/sq ft.

Located at 521 Governor Nicholls Street, the home is 7,645 sq ft with custom designed marble mantles & fireplaces, crown moldings, grand spiral staircase, elevator, private spacious patio w/pool, chef's gourmet kitchen with top of the line appliances and laundry room.  You'll also get a separate guest house and private parking for two cars.

There's one thing the couple plans to take with them, however.  The dining room chandelier is excluded from the deal.

Jolie and Pitt first bought the house in 2006.

Watch the story here from WGNO News.

Check out another story here from TMZ.

Shotgun tour takes you inside some long and skinny digs

New Orleans Shotgun Home Tour, Photo Courtesy Sara Essex Bradley

You can't even talk about New Orleans architecture without including the iconic shotgun!

There are plenty of myths, legends and folklore surrounding them.  My favorite it the old idea that you could shoot a gun through the front door and the bullet would go all the way through the back without hitting a single thing on the way!

Shotguns can be all sorts of different styles...

You have singles, doubles, camelbacks and side halls.  The only real requirement is that the roofline is perpendicular to the street.

Every year, the Preservation Resource Center allows people inside a handful of these homes to show how they can be updated for modern living.

If you'd like to check them out for yourself, tickets are still available!  They're $20 for members and $25 for non-members and available on the Preservation Resource Center website.

View renovation photos:

 

View home photos:

 

View my WGNO interview about the home tour here.