Renovated 1830s center hall becomes stylish family home in the Garden District

Tour this and six other stunning private homes in the historic Garden District at PRC’s 47th annual Holiday Home Tour presented by McEnery Residential on December 10 & 11.
Click here for tickets and more tour details.

In search of a larger house for their growing family, Wendell and Katie LeGardeur found the perfect home in the raised center hall residence at 2328 Chestnut St. They had long admired the Greek Revival house, with its symmetrical front façade featuring pairs of floor-to-ceiling windows on either side of the front door and sidelights. Six square columns, separated by ornate iron railings, support a pediment featuring dentals and six pairs of small decorative brackets.

But the circa-1835 house needed extensive renovations before the family could move in. When the couple purchased it in July 2017, the ground floor “still had oyster shells, a laundry room and an old ‘inside outhouse.’ There were also the remnants of a dumbwaiter,” Wendell said. The home had been in the same family for 93 years and hadn’t seen much renovation work for many years.

In 2018 and 2019, the couple undertook a whole-house renovation guided by Jahncke and Burns Architects and designers Sweet Dupuy and Eugenie Gibbens of Gibbens Dupuy Decoration with general contractor DRH Enterprises.

The project, which was featured on the PRC’s 2019 Beams & Brews series, saw the ground floor become living spaces, including a guest apartment, a swimming pool room that opens into the backyard, a playroom and an exercise room.

Some of the spaces feature “Botanical Ferns” wallpaper by Twigs Wallpaper and Fabric. It is a matching version of the “iconic Scalamandre Elsie de Wolfe ferns fabric, (named) after the legendary American decorator,” Dupuy and Gibbens said in an email. That fabric covers the rattan club chairs and sofa in the pool room and a guest room’s headboard and draperies.

Photos by Liz Jurey

On the main floor, the couple kept the four original rooms off the center hall “as they were traditionally: library, parlor, dining room and bedroom,” Wendell said, yet completely renovated each of them. They added in original artwork, including family portraits and a painting by Wendell’s grandmother.

The center hall is now covered in a scenic wallpaper, entitled Les Lointains et Soubassement Balustrade, from Zuber, the iconic French wallpaper company. A stenciled stained floor gives “a restrained decorative nod to the architectural elements in the wall mural and balustrade above,” Dupuy and Gibbens said.

The dining room’s focal point is an early 20th-century Morano blown polychrome glass chandelier found at Bremermann Designs, Gerrie Bremermann’s Magazine Street shop, just before the interior designer’s retirement. “Profusely hung with floral and foliate decorations, its whimsical colors inspired wall color, fabric and rug selections in the dining room and front parlor,” Dupuy and Gibbens wrote.

At the back of the main floor, the renovation included the addition of a large family room with an adjoining kitchen (its walls and cabinets are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Bayleaf), as well as a rear screened porch.

Keeping original architectural details — and matching new details to existing ones ­­— was an important part of the couple’s decision-making process. New wood floor planks were milled to match the original heart pine planks where needed. The custom millwork in the rear addition is in keeping with the original designs in the front.

The backyard was updated with landscaping designed by Kim Alvarez and Allan Basik in partnership with Landscape Images, and Paradise Pools’ construction of a pool (space for a pool was one of the couple’s house-hunting requirements).

The porches, the pool and the garden are now some of the family’s favorite spots. “We mostly live in the back of the house overlooking or enjoying the backyard and pool,” Wendell said.

Now, the home functions perfectly for the couple, their three children, and the exchange student from Spain they currently are hosting. “There is space for everyone — younger kids, teenagers, lots of friends and family, and out-of-town guests,” Katie said.

“We think the house loves entertaining as much as we do, as it warmly invites guests in and allows for them to comfortably mingle and explore,” Wendell added.


Image gallery
Photos by Liz Jurey. Click to expand images.


PRC’s 47th annual Holiday Home Tour presented by McEnery Residential
Dec. 10 & 11  •  $40-45 advance sale, $50 day of tour
Tour the interiors and grounds of six stunning private homes and one bonus property all dressed up for the holidays in the historic Garden District.
Learn more & buy your tickets today!