Visit this historic home and six other fine examples of New Orleans’ beloved shotgun houses at the Shotgun House Tour presented by Entablature Design + Build and Entablature Realty on March 23 & 24.
Margaret and Walker Saik found bargeboard behind the walls of their double shotgun house during their renovation to create a single-family residence with a camelback addition. The bargeboard is a sign the house is older than indicated by the front façade’s Arts and Crafts elements: curved molding in the porch eave and half-height double box columns on brick piers.
Walker purchased the double in 2011 and rented out one side. When the couple got married and needed more space, they chose to renovate instead of buying in another location. They toured open houses to get ideas, sketched their own possible floor plans and engaged architect Robert Pell in 2015 to craft their vision.
Premier Construction started work in 2016, with demolition showing clues about the house’s estimated late 1800s age. Beadboard also was found behind the walls and reused in the half-bath and as a backsplash in the dining room’s dry bar. Peeling back layers of flooring revealed original wood planks. Wood salvaged from other parts of the house was milled into flooring to repair the damaged portions.
The bargeboard and beadboard became the renovation’s most interesting finds. “We had a good bit of it. … That’s why we speculate the house is a little bit older because they were using it as a building material. I like that we did construction because you can see both sides at the same time,” Margaret said of the project that created three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths.
The camelback gave the couple two bedrooms, a bathroom, a playroom, office space in the landing and a screened porch upstairs. It is accessed from stairs in what was the front room of the double’s left side.
The double’s right side became a master suite featuring a large walk-in closet and a bathroom with a water closet. The couple kept the two original, yet non-functioning, fireplaces on either side of the bed.
“We didn’t change too much of this room. … Between the placement of the stairs and the fireplaces, the only option was to have a gigantic master suite,” Margaret said.
The couple and their 17-month-old son spend most of their time in the addition’s downstairs den and open kitchen. Its French doors lead to a second screened porch.
Those porches are the couple’s favorite rooms. From the second story, they can see the surrounding rooflines and parts of the nearby port terminal. The first floor porch gives views of the garden.
“We use them constantly,” Margaret said. “I don’t know that we thought we’d like them this much.”
The couple reused as many existing materials as possible. Old granite counters from the kitchens became the upstairs bathroom’s counter. Nearly every paneled door found a new location, including one that became the master bed’s headboard.
Wanting something special for their bedroom’s entry, the couple found an Eastlake-style stained-glass door at The Bank Architectural Antiques and picked out each piece of colored glass needed to repair it.
Those doors have become favorite features, along with the transoms. One featuring Tulane University’s logo in stained glass — a gift to the couple from friends who were renovating — was placed over the door to the den and kitchen. Another was used to create a rear attic window in the camelback. In keeping with the Arts and Crafts style, another window was incorporated into the front façade’s roof gable.
“It’s a great house,” Margaret said. “Surprises occurred during the construction process, which were hard to swallow. But it’s important to remember that you need to keep moving forward with the process. If we had gotten upset and/or stalled for too long due to a surprise it likely would have caused a delay.”
Click images to expand. Photos by Liz Jurey.