Visit this and 6 other stunning homes in New Orleans’ historic Garden District and Lower Garden District at the Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 8 and 9.
1502 Conery Street • Kenneth Schwartz & Judith Kinnard
Judith Kinnard and her husband, Kenneth Schwartz, purchased the two-story, double-galleried house at the corner of Conery and Prytania streets in 2009. Both nationally renowned architects and educators, the couple moved to New Orleans in 2008 from Charlottesville, Va., where they had served on the faculty of the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture.
Attracted by the opportunity to help New Orleans rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, the couple joined the faculty of the Tulane University School of Architecture in 2008, and Schwartz was named dean of the school, a position he held until June 2018.
In addition to its architectural significance, what attracted Kinnard and Schwartz most to their home at 1502 Conery St. was its floor plan and its functionality as a space for entertaining students, colleagues and friends, as well as the couple’s two daughters and their families.
Constructed around the turn of the 20th century, the house sits on the former site of the Mt. Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church. This area was originally part of the City of Lafayette — hence Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, located directly across Prytania Street — and Jefferson Parish, but was annexed to the City of New Orleans along with the rest of the Garden District in the early 1850s.
The house was constructed as a two-story double, with a full-length window at the far end of the front facade serving as a second door. The house changed hands a number of times over the century, and, eventually, it was converted to a single-family residence. Michelle and Field Ogden acquired the property in 2002 and remained the owners until Kinnard and Schwartz purchased it.
Among the noteworthy items in the home is the grand piano, which the couple purchased because, quite simply, if you offer a piano at a party in New Orleans, someone will sit down to play. The furniture in the main sitting and dining rooms came with the couple from Charlottesville and reflect the couple’s appreciation of modern architecture. Notable pieces include the Mies van der Rohe dining chairs and cocktail table, the Le Corbusier dining table and Basculant Sling Chairs and Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin Barrel Chair in the foyer.
The couple’s art collection includes pieces by their favorite artists, including locally based David Armentor, Anna Schuleit Haber, Errol Barron and David Spielman, and the works of students and colleagues Jill Stoll, Marianne Desmarais and Tiffany Lin, among others. The large Piranesi map of ancient Rome on the living room wall was a gift from Schwartz’s father, Dr. Seymour Schwartz, owner of one of the most significant private map collections in the United States.
Kinnard and Schwartz renovated the large kitchen at the rear of the home with an eye toward contemporary design and functionality. The staircase was originally not one staircase but two, as indicated by the remnant of a former wall running down the middle. The staircase echoes the house’s former life as a multi-family residence.
Like the houses around it, 1502 Conery St. equally illustrates its adaptability and livability as well as its history.
Photos by Sara Essex Bradley
Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 8 & 9 in the Garden District and Lower Garden District
Advance sale tickets: $30 for PRC members, $45 for non-members. $50 on day of tour.