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Making Waves - A New Orleans Home

Hurricane Katrina created a chance to redo this Broadmoor home.

The kitchen was completely redesigned after Hurricane Katrina. The addition of new French doors opened up the space to take advantage of the view of the back porch, patio and garden beyond.


There is a pristine white house in the Vendome Place neighborhood with a plaque near the front doorknob depicting a wave pattern to mark the waterline left by Hurricane Katrina. “I thought it was appropriate to mark the effect left by this horrific catastrophe,” says interior designer Curtis Herring, ASID.

Today there are no visible vestiges of Katrina. All you’ll find when you step into the front vestibule is a jewel of a home showcasing Herring’s style, which he describes as “clean, tailored and sophisticated.” The 2,000-square-foot home is a stylish eclectic mixture of old and new. Built around 1940, the house has charming features such an arched opening between the living and dining room that’s original to the house, and new French doors that lead from the kitchen onto a back porch, brick patio and garden beyond, which was added after the hurricane.

“I took advantage of Katrina to do major renovations,” Herring says. “I completely redesigned the kitchen, added a half bath, and replaced the windows and wood floors.

“The kitchen is my favorite spot in the house, primarily because of the way it opens onto the outdoors. It all feels like one common area, and it’s where my friends like to congregate. I love to cook, and I enjoy the view of the garden through the French doors while I am working.”

The four-level home has an abundance of light that gives it a cheerful feeling. “I noticed that the house was flooded with light the first time I saw it in 1999,” Herring recalls.

He also immediately realized that the lower level would be ideal for his office. The main, or second level, has a simple configuration of three rooms – living, dining and kitchen – with the master bedroom, bathroom and a den on the third level. The guest bedroom has the quiet, top-floor location.

Each room is a study of Herring’s signature style. The living and dining rooms are a success story in how to combine eclectic furnishing, accessories and art, while the master bedroom should be noted for its stylish simplicity. “I covered the entire wall behind the bed in a natural linen fabric, then I dressed the single window in a linen sheer café curtain for privacy and a roman shade for light control. A chocolate brown linen covers the headboard, while the bed features powdered blue sheets and an ecru matelasse coverlet.” He continues, “For whimsy and pattern, I used a Chinoiserie print for the bed skirt.” Matching chests and lamps on either side of the bed, an 1800 Georgian chest on the opposite side of the room, and geometric carpet all give notice of the talented designer’s sophisticated style.

Herring designed his porch, patio, fountains and backyard. “I worked with Daly-Sublette Landscape Architects to achieve the results you see today. Rosemary Beach, Fla., was my inspiration for the plantings, materials, colors and textures. The focal point is the bamboo grove and three fountains on a bed of river rock. The garden is very symmetrical and serene. It’s the perfect retreat, and I spend time in it every day.

“Although I consider my home a gem that reflects my design aesthetic, the thing I like most is that it is so comfortable,” explains Herring. “Nothing is off-limits or precious. Everything in the house can be used and touched – the carpets and all of the fabrics are treated with Fiber Seal for ultimate wear. This is a perfect home and office for me.”

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