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This blog is intended to document the process of getting a house built in New Orleans.  It’s essentially supposed to be the resource I wish I had prior to building.  Ill give you a quick synopsis of the intentions of the design.

I first started this project about one year after Katrina.  I had spent the first year after the storm working for a sustainable design firm working on affordable houses for clients whose houses were destroyed.  We also worked on some generic house plans intended to make design services more affordable.  I decided that it would be interesting to try and find a small lot in a nice neighborhood that carefully balanced “building new” in the historic context of New Orleans with all the goals of contemporary sustainable design: energy efficiency, affordability, durability, and aesthetics that reflect and support modern living.  Without going into the explanation of how I arrived at this design (which would be a painful and long-winded blog in itself)  I will quickly describe what I arrived at.

It will be a single-occupant two story 2br/2bath house.  Situated within historic Bywater in New Orleans, the form and aesthetic of the building borrows from the neighboring houses while trying to find new types of spaces and experiences that reflect contemporary values and uses.  Historically a working class creole faubourg, the neighborhood is full of great variations on the traditional houses of New Orleans: shotguns, double shotguns, camelback shotguns, creole cottages, and corner stores.  Common attributes include: gable and hipped roofs, stooped entries (typically without a porch), rhythmic and consistent window and door openings, bold and original house colors, lap and shiplap siding, and decorative functional elements such as: shutters, brackets, and columns.

This house could be understood as a combination of a two-story gabled corner building with a two story  “garconniere” (a guest or servants quarters).    In my case it is a Studio structure with woodworking tools in the first level, and an art/music studio above.  This structure is connected to the main house via porches at both levels.  The main house attempts to take advantage of the two-story structure by creating a central double height living room.  This is an attempt to relate to the grand scale of proportions often found in Southern homes.

The gross area the house is approximately 1550 square feet.  The Studio and porches add another 770 square feet.

I will share more of the drawings and intentions of the design as the construction moves along.