1. Fully renovated

    Exterior view from the street of the fully renovated house.

  2. View from N. Rendon street

    Home Sweet Home! (On the right.)

  3. Northeast corner

    Ancient window AC units and flimsy aluminum awnings? Check. Vinyl siding and fake shutters? Check. Missing siding, chimney bricks, and roof coping? Check, check, and check.

    It’s perfect!

  4. Northeast corner after renovation

    Six months later and the roof no longer leaks, there’s new wood siding all around, two sets of new French Doors open onto the side yard, and the entire house has a fresh coat of paint.

  5. Northwest corner

    Cat’s claw had overtaken this corner and its vines were pushing the original wood siding off of the house.

    The side yard setback here is only 12 inches, and there’s a chain link fence with wood boards attached to it right on the property line. The contractor had to set up their equipment in the neighbors’ yards to remove and replace the siding on this side of the house.

  6. Northwest corner after renovation

    Six months later and new gutters, downspouts, and siding make quite a difference.

    Note the vines on the neighbor’s corner fence post. Cat’s claw is nearly invincible once it takes root, is pretty much everywhere in New Orleans, and had to be torn out every six months or so.

  7. Demolition plan showing the original room layout.

    You had to zig-zag from room to room due to the original placement of the doors, so a fair amount of the floor plan was devoted to circulation.

    The wall between the first two rooms will be removed to make an open gallery space, and this will also move the circulation to a straight path along the Northeast wall.

  8. Living room before demolition

    The first room you entered from the street was the living room, and a fake fireplace was the first thing that greeted you.

    To its right was the door to the first bedroom, which you had to walk through to get to the kitchen and bathroom at the rear of the house.

    The floor in this room was high-gloss wood parquet tiles adhered with asphalt to plywood that was attached to the original floor with roofing nails. Removing the parquet tiles was sort of like playing Minesweeper, but with a shovel.

  9. Bedroom 1 before demolition

    The first bedroom after the living room had a coal-burning fireplace and a closet in the corner that ate into the room’s already awkward layout.

    Like many of these old fireplaces, this one was filled in with cement since burning coal indoors isn’t a very good idea.

    The flooring in this room was masonite on top of wallpaper. Yes, wallpaper.

    The closet is on the opposite side of the fake fireplace in the living room and was the first amenity to be demolished.

  10. Bedroom 2 before demolition

    The second bedroom was actually a room-within-a-room defined by an 8' tall L-shaped wall, and you passed through the second bedroom to get to the kitchen.

    There was also a small hallway between the room-within-a-room and the bathroom, which you entered via the doorway to the left of the shelves. The corner by the shelves smelled like soil due to how much cat’s claw had burrowed into this part of the house.

    The floor in this room was linoleum on top of vinyl composite tile on top of lauan that had been stapled to the original flooring. Prying a thousand staples out one-by-one with nippers was a very Zen-like experience.

  11. Bathroom before demolition

    The original bathroom was old and neglected, and suffered from severe water damage and rot. The less said about demolishing this room, the better. It was gross.

    The original kitchen is on the other side of the wall to the left of the toilet, and the jalousie window above the toilet was repaired and reinstalled to bring diffused natural light into a new walk-in closet.

  12. Kitchen before demolition

    The kitchen had a door in the corner that led to the side yard, and being next to the stove, it was covered in decades of grease.

    The refrigerator is to the right of the stove, and the sink and a small countertop are below the cabinets.

    This part of the house was so rotted and water-damaged it had to be completely demolished and rebuilt—from the roof, to the walls, to the floor, to the piers, to the footings.

  13. Gallery looking toward Entry during demolition and gutting

    The front half of the gallery space after being fully gutted.

    The change in color on the floor is where a wall used to be, and the original heart pine flooring was in great shape after being covered up with cheap flooring for so long.

    The walls are only 1" thick, vary in width from 8" to 20", and originally arrived in New Orleans as a barge that carried goods down the Mississippi River. It was less expensive to disassemble the barges and build houses out of them than it was to send them back up the river.

  14. Rendering of Gallery looking toward Entry

    Looking toward the front of the house from the new gallery space.

  15. Gallery looking toward Entry

    Finished gallery space with the kitchen, dining area, and living room.

    The original floors were sanded and refinished, stud walls with insulation and new electrical were installed along the original barge board walls, and the original 12" high baseboards were reinstalled after being stripped, filled, and sanded.

    This space is great for entertaining and receives ample natural light due to the North-facing entry, the side yard to the East, and windows on three walls.

  16. Dining Room during demolition and gutting

    The rear half of the gutted gallery space will become the kitchen and dining area.

    The window on the left was too rotten to be salvaged and was replaced with French Doors, and you can see the fake mantle from the living room resting against some doors on the right.

    A large floor heater between the window and the doorway was removed, and new flooring to match the original was patched in.

  17. Rendering of Dining Room from Living Room

    The dining area and kitchen are located in the rear half of the gallery space.

    The barge board wall between the gallery space and the bedroom on the other side of the wall was left exposed to reveal the house’s humble origins.

  18. Rendering of Dining Room from Entry

    Rendering of the dining area showing the galley kitchen layout.

    A Nest thermostat mounted to the left of the original chimney offered a nice contrast to the rough and aged barge board wall.

  19. Dining Room from Entry during construction

    Dining area and galley kitchen during construction. The walls and ceilings now have new framing, spray foam insulation, mechanical ductwork, electrical wiring and junction boxes, and plumbing for water and natural gas.

  20. Living Room from Entry

    Finished view of the Living Room in the front half of the gallery space.

    The entry door is right behind us, and if you look closely, there’s a museum board model of the house in this photo.

  21. Kitchen

    Head-on view of the galley kitchen.

    To the lower right is the HVAC return with a custom CNC-milled panel that covers a standard return grille mounted in the wall behind it. Directly above the window is a similar custom panel for an HVAC supply grille.

    The white panels mounted to the face of the ceiling soffit and on the face of the HVAC return column are from IKEA, and some of them are just cabinet doors. All of the cabinets are from IKEA in standard sizes.

  22. Bedroom during demolition and gutting

    Some of the barge boards and siding on the back wall of the bedroom were so rotted you could see through them.

    The horizontal bands on the lower part of the walls is from wood lath that held the original plaster walls. The plaster had been covered up with drywall and crumbled to pieces once the drywall was removed.

    The attic was also home to knob-and-tube electrical wiring and natural gas lines for wall-mounted sconces. These were given a new home in a dumpster due to their non-compliance with modern building codes.

  23. View of finished Bedroom

    The ductwork for the rear lean-to needed to transition from the attic space of the main volume into the rafter space of the lean-to, so a new soffit was installed in the bedroom to give it enough room to make the jog into the rear of the house.

  24. Bedroom looking toward Laundry during demolition

    The wall between the bedroom and the former kitchen and bathroom during demolition with the roof and walls resting in a pile on the soon-to-be-demolished floor structure.

  25. Finished bedroom looking toward Laundry in rebuilt lean-to

    The blue vestibule on the left is the laundry room and the doorway on the right leads to a 5' × 12' walk-in closet. Just inside the closet opening is a sliding door with a full-height mirror mounted to it.

  26. Walk-in closet off the bedroom.

    Just on the other side of the left wall is the laundry room, so there’s a 12" × 18" “laundry chute” for tossing dirty laundry straight into the washer.

  27. Bedroom looking toward French Doors

    New French Doors from the bedroom open to the side yard.

    The gallery space is to the left, and the laundry room and bathroom are through the cased opening on the right.

  28. New Bathroom at rear of the house

    There’s a narrow skylight above the back of the tub, and the soap niche extends all the way up to it.

    All of the tub fixtures are centered precisely on tile joint intersections, and the wall return above the low glass tile wall and the low wall at the tub lip are exactly one tile wide.

  29. Longitudinal section looking West

    The bedroom and gallery space are in the original barge board volume of the house, with the rebuilt lean-to at the rear housing the laundry room, bathroom, and walk-in closet.

    A fold-down ironing board was mounted to the inside face of the left-hand laundry room door, and the inside face of the right-hand laundry room door had shelves and hooks for a mop, broom, and cleaning items. There’s also a small storage closet above the washer and dryer.

  30. Longitudinal section looking East toward side yard

    You can see the skylight above the bathtub in this view, as well as the small storage closet above the washer and dryer.

  31. Site Plan

    The house measures 15' × 55' for a total floor area of 825 square feet. The side yard is 12' wide, and the rear yard is just over 8' deep and was covered by an old shed with a tin roof.

  32. PRC Shotgun Home Tour

    The house was part of a shotgun home tour in the Faubourg St. John neighborhood of New Orleans.

    Preservation In Print
    March 2012

  33. Cabinets as the Centerpiece

    The house was featured in an article about the wall of full-height cabinets in the gallery space.

    New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles
    Winter 2011

  34. An Ingrained Heritage

    The house was featured in an article about New Orleans homes made of barge board.

    New Orleans Port Record
    Summer 2011