The client had bought and was living in a freestanding slave quarter building that took up much of the rear yard of a lot in the French Quarter. The building had been renovated sometime in the 1970s but was badly in need of a complete renovation. The building foundation was failing, the porches were rotting, and parts of the structure were termite infested. The client wanted to open the interiors up to create more livable spaces and also to use every square inch to maximize the use of the building.
The first step was to secure the structural integrity of the building, which would begin with a new foundation. To accomplish this, the entire structure was balanced on a single steel beam while a new foundation was poured. Then the structure was carefully lowered to the ground. The interior was completely gutted, leaving only the historic exterior wall and floor framing. The building’s first floor was opened up to create a single kitchen / living area with a bathroom, the second floor was reconfigured from three bedrooms into a single bedroom and a master suite, the unfinished attic was turned into a den. Many of the existing exterior details were in disrepair, including the historic balconies, doors, shutters, and windows. Waring Architects worked to maintain as much of the original character and detail as possible for the exterior of the building, while creating a wholesome unified design within the building. Special details were created including a dog area under the stairs, stairs with milled storage in the risers and treads that turn into shelving, built in custom storage throughout the building, and not an inch of usable space wasted. As Peter would say, “this project is 10 pounds in a five pound bag.”