Dumaine Street I: Greek Revival Side-Hall Townhouse

Thorough yet discreet, the renovation of this Greek Revival side-hall townhouse in the French Quarter was driven by the need to accommodate a wide-ranging collection of contemporary photography. Although the original architecture was strategically modified—mainly to facilitate a more gracious flow of space from room to room—great effort was taken to replicate millwork in keeping with the original architectural details.

Materials, finishes, and even furnishings were orchestrated to create a restrained, luminous backdrop for the art collection, which includes signature works by Lynn Davis, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Adam Fuss, and Bill Jacobson.

The home’s original pine floors were refinished with an ebony stain and multiple coats of high-gloss lacquer to maximize reflection of light. The color palette for both walls and fabrics is largely neutral, again in deference to the photography on view. The hushed palette has the additional advantage of conjuring a sense of refuge from the chaos of the city.

Within the home’s classically proportioned rooms, unfussy ensembles of vintage furnishings and accessories from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s allow plenty of breathing room for the photography collection, which encompasses both small-scale works and large, black-and-white imagery and color. Chairs and tables by the likes of Gilbert Rohde, Edward Wormley, and William Haines plumb the softer side of twentieth-century modernism; their neoclassical underpinnings subtly echo the architecture’s Greek Revival lines.

The main exception to the quiet understatement that pervades the house is the vibrant banana leaf wallpaper that creeps onto the walls of the kitchen in a sympathetic embrace of the lush greenery that unfolds in the adjacent garden.