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We are very honored to have two houses in the PRC’s Shotgun House Tour Saturday, March 29 from 10 AM to 4 PM.  The mirror image pair of shotguns at 157-161 Broadway, just off of the river where bought by the firm Principal in 1996 on a speculative venture from the Bisso family. 

The buildings were in terrible shape when Peter first saw them, forming a little pocket of blight with holes in the roofs, ceilings, floors, & walls and extensive termite damage and rot. They were two of a matching set of three in a row that, despite their poor condition, had great bones, beautiful lines, and gorgeous proportions, along with good and solid foundations.

We renovated them from classic shotgun doubles into single-family residences with a simple but effective floor plan that we still create variations on today in our practice. A side-loaded front porch solarium/foyer opens onto a large L-shaped cathedral-ceilinged “great room” with skylights. We recall that the original inspiration borrowed from Japanese garden design in that it creates a forced zig-zag processional progression into the house that makes it feel bigger than it is and provides a transition from the workday into the serenity of home.

Two children’s/guest rooms flank a full bathroom that also serves as a powder room for the great room from a small traditional New Orleans sub-hallway that buffers these private spaces from the more public space.  A full master suite sat in the rear of the house with French doors that opened onto a backyard deck that could also be independently accessed by a hall with laundry and pantry closets from the kitchen and great room areas in the front of the house for entertaining in the backyard.

Peter told us, “It is been such a delight to watch the evolution of these homes across the years as I passed them at least once a week to join my family for Sunday night dinner. One of the owners created a stunning piece of artwork in the stucco pediment of their home in lovely soft colors that beautifully complement the original color choices I made. I have always wanted to thank them so much for their incredibly beautiful contribution.”  He is looking forward to returning to the project.

These houses have been seminal works that Waring Architects looks back to as very successful transformations.  This simple archetype, originally created for expediency’s sake, lends itself so well to the kind of enthusiastic individualization for which New Orleans is known.

Unfortunately, the original design drawings and photographs for the renovation were all casualties of Hurricane Katrina but I will be more than glad to answer any questions anyone may have.

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