6 minute read

Elegant Home Retreats

by Leslie Cardé Home and Garden Elegant Home Retreats

This Mandeville home in The Sanctuary boasts intricate boxwood parterres.

AFTER TWO YEARS of enduring isolation and masks, it’s time to start entertaining, and what better place than your own divine home? Many area residents have turned their abodes into comfortable gathering spaces, where guests feel relaxed and welcomed, and where residents themselves feel the tranquility of a well-designed space that suits their own personal needs.

Whether your idea of serenity is a pool and spa, or lush grounds that harken back to an English manor, landscape architects and designers are at the ready to transform any space into the home of your dreams.

At the Sanctuary in Mandeville, homeowners there started with nothing more than a plot of land, but by the time landscape architect Brian Sublette, in conjunction with the home’s architect, began to lay out an elaborate array of swirling parterres, the result looked more like Versailles, than this 4-lot home on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain.

“This particularly intricate pattern is arranged >>

Above: This Slidell kitchen has a full bar, and access to the boat dock. Inset: This Garden District home is replete with a pool, workout room, and cabana. with Boxwoods,” explains Brian Sublette, ASLA, of DalySublette. “One must be very careful with boxwoods as they have become subject to blight, a fungal disease which can enter the property from another property with infected plants. But there are new heartier varieties of boxwoods now, and we often substitute dwarf Yaupon Hollies.”

The look is dynamic with the Christmas tree-like topiaries punctuating the corners, and dwarf mondo serving as ground cover amidst the boxwoods, it’s an elegant look.

“This design took close to a year with revisions, and the actual execution took 4-6 months,” says Sublette. “There’s a sense of drama here, with the trees spectacularly up-lit. With an acre of land, there’s room for the motor court, and a swimming pool, which cannot be seen in this photo.” There’s something magical about this space, sure to be heightened by a cool breeze and a beautiful sunset. Strolling these grounds is the ultimate in relaxation.

There’s nothing quite as calming as basking in a hot tub or pool that is ensconced in beautiful flora and fauna. One particular property in the Marigny belies any hint of what’s behind these beautiful walls.

“These are clients who moved from New York City, bought an old house, gutted it, and totally transformed it,” explains John Mills, ASLA, of Fransen Mills. “The spa is integrated structurally into the pool and two 24-inch walkways line the pool on either side. The back wall has a waterfall feature, and actually serves as a screen to hide pool equipment, AC compressors, and an outdoor shower.”

This landscape architectural firm believes in getting as many plant pockets woven in and around the pool as possible, since greenery softens a hardscape. Sweet olive trees and fragrant flowers complete the look while providing a wonderful aroma, as does the jasmine that’s been planted on the back wall to trellis up, adding even more greenspace to this tranquil setting.

For Fransen Mills’ other project being showcased here, this was a new home in the Garden District of uptown New Orleans, erected after a fire burned the original structure to the ground. Working alongside the architect, the pool has been built to reflect the surrounding structures in what

: FRANSEN MILLS photo courtesy

looks like a cerulean-blue paradise.

“The pool is the focal point from wherever you look... the house, the workout room, or the cabana,” recounts John Mills. “There are custom touches everywhere, from the unusual water-line tile selected by the client to the Israeli stone which extends up the back wall of the pool.”

Within that back wall area, recessed panels of custom white marble mosaic, which hold decorative hand-painted medallions, shoot water out of fountain jets. The pool is surrounded by European olive trees, giving off a wonderful fragrance and adding to the never-ending reflections.

When you’re living in a house built in 1910 in uptown New Orleans, you have the luxury of high ceilings and intricate woodwork, reminiscent of days gone by. But living with an old kitchen, with outdated appliances and little storage isn’t acceptable for most. Today, the possibilities for renovation are endless, while still hanging on to those unique features of yesteryear.

Taking a rather drab kitchen and >>

This historic kitchen renovation in uptown New Orleans has managed to keep some of its classic charm. turning it into a showstopper was the job of Nancy Christopher, VP of Singer Kitchens. The client had some very specific elements she wished to hang onto, but barring that, she wanted a kitchen with all the modern trappings, and one that fit her lifestyle.

“The buffet, high up on the right wall was something that the client wanted to keep, along with preserving the argyle-patterned wooden floors which matched the same print along the ceiling,” explains Christopher. “We interjected two different colors of cabinetry, which would have been unheard of 10 years ago. The buffet was painted the deep color of the center island, to tie the two areas together, while the surrounding walls are light in tone.”

The island is completely utilitarian housing a garbage can pull out, and deep drawers that have the peg system, adjusting to whatever you may want to store. Leathered marble countertops, under-cabinet lighting and a modern pendant light round out the new look for this formerly antiquated kitchen. For a kitchen which hadn’t been touched in 40 years, it’s now bright and functional, while still retaining its old-world charm.

“It’s important to us that we respect the original architecture while improving the client’s lifestyle,” recounts Christopher. “That’s our goal.”

The next kitchen spells “fun”. This new construction is perched on a waterway. The kitchen windows look out on the water, along with the pool and the palm trees. Friends dock their boats outside the kitchen and come right in for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. In fact, the “happy hour” bar is integrated right into the kitchen. The waterfall island, made of quartz, is replete with numerous barstools, and a dishwasher. The adjacent lift-up cabinets are used to store all sorts of glassware. “The mosaic tile backsplash gives the whole room character, and the back painted taupe walls with the golden

: FRANSEN MILLS photo courtesy

soffits complement the painted concrete floors,” explains Christopher.

For the empty-nesters who built this home, it’s the perfect place to feel like you’re on vacation without ever having to leave home. Martini, anyone?

Leslie Cardé can be reached at leslieinolamag@gmail.com.

This Marigny home renovation includes a scenic pool by Paradise Pools within a garden.