Houses

Esplanade Avenue Residence

Situated in the Faubourg Marigny, this 1829 Greek Revival house had been divided up into apartments before its recent transformation back to a single-family dwelling. The romantic patina of the weathered pink stucco facade belies the startlingly mod sensibility that animates the interiors. This is a house that gathers inspiration from the past while wholeheartedly embracing the present.

One of the major moves in the extensive renovation was the expansion of existing 3-foot-wide doorways between rooms to 8 feet, enhancing spatial flow, opening views, and facilitating the influx of natural light. Existing crown moldings and baseboards were replicated to preserve the rooms’ historic integrity. The dramatic black-and-white color scheme underscores the venerable structure’s good bones and generous proportions.

The home’s contemporary ethos is expressed in a broad array of twentieth-century modern furnishings. Eschewing predictable signifiers of mid-century cool, the scheme incorporates elements of wide-ranging pedigree and provenance, including works by Osvaldo Borsani, Warren Platner, and contemporary French maestro Hervé Van der Straeten.

Judiciously selected eighteenth- and nineteenth-century antiques tether the home to its historic past—indeed, several mirrors are original to the property. In contrast, the living and dining rooms’ giant keyhole-shaped mirrors in the Surrealist manner of French designer Serge Roche strike a decidedly more modern note.

Every sofa is custom-designed, including the living room’s 13-foot sectional, which is covered in a silk velvet whose color wavers intriguingly between gunmetal and bronze. Other furnishings and finishes leaven the severity of the black-and-white palette by introducing sympathetic shades of brown, gray, and glints of gold.

The wide-plank pine floors were stained in a custom color—70 percent ebony, 30 percent coffee-brown—and topped off with three coats of high-gloss polyurethane for a patent-leather luster. The three-room master bedroom suite, bathed in white and redolent of Old Hollywood glamour, feels like a dreamy aerie, at once timeless and of the moment.

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