Renovated 1898 home becomes a sophisticated retreat 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.

Beverly Dale happened to be browsing Zillow in the New Orleans airport when a listing caught her eye. A four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home in the Garden District had hit the market that day.

A California resident, Dale was on the hunt for a second home in New Orleans because of her multiple philanthropic efforts in her native Mississippi. “I’m in and out of MSY often,” she said of the airport.

Dale envisioned finding a double to co-own with her friend and longtime interior designer Patrick Welsh, who was moving to the Crescent City to be closer to family. But the real estate listing for the single-family home prompted her to get into her rental car and head straight to 1225 Third St. instead of Hattiesburg, Miss., her intended destination.

Architects Ronn Babin and Peter Jolet, the house’s owners, were on the porch, champagne in hand. “I think they were maybe doing the tour for the agents,” Dale said, noting the day’s beautiful weather and the jazz “piped out to the porch and the yard.

“There was no hope for me,” she added, “a terrible situation to be in when negotiating a real estate purchase. I had simply fallen in love.”

The circa-1898 house originally faced Chestnut Street when it was the carriage house for the property at 2512 Chestnut St. It was constructed by Capt. Thomas J. Woodward, who served as postmaster for the City of New Orleans and was Rex, King of Carnival, in 1900.

Photos by Liz Jurey

Sometime in the 1970s, the carriage house was “sold, moved, rotated and relocated to its present position facing Third Street,” according to a Preservation in Print article in December 2021 when the garden was transformed into a scene of oversized flowers by artist Sarah Nelson for the PRC’s Art & Garden Extravaganza.

The home’s sophisticated design came from Babin and Jolet, both partners with WDG Architects Engineers. They oversaw three years of extensive renovations that aimed to “keep as many historical elements as possible but at the same time bring the house current,” the Preservation in Print article states.

Major termite damage drove the decision to tear down the rear wall and rebuild it with large windows overlooking the pool. The wall’s reconstruction accommodated the installation of a modern three-story glass elevator between the kitchen and living rooms. It became a key design element and Dale’s favorite part of the house.

Outside, Babin and Jolet turned the deep front yard — the house sits more than 90 feet back from the street — into a “secret garden environment,” according to the 2021 article. The front porch grew from three feet to more than 10 feet for additional outdoor living space.

Welsh, owner of the design firm Projects on Point, was thrilled to have such a unique canvas to decorate in a manner that would serve the needs of Dale and himself. It was a treat, he said, to furnish the beautiful space and place Dale’s art collection, and converting the unfinished structure by the pool into a lofted sitting area that converts into a sleeping quarters was quite a fun project.

A few changes created ideal spots for both the charitable and political fundraisers that Dale hosts. “The home has a wonderful open flow, yet remains cozy, so hosting an event creates both an intimate atmosphere with high energy inspiration,” Welsh said.

The house’s “beautiful big walls,” as Dale described them, are filled with favorite art pieces, including an eight-foot-by-six-foot photo of her in 1966 by Austin artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade; a copy of her Ph.D. dissertation turned into “jelly rolls” by Austin artist Karen Hawkins; and a nude silkscreen that the late artist George Rodrigue did of his wife, Wendy. Dale bought it in Rodrigue’s Carmel, Calif., gallery on her 60th birthday. When Rodrigue found out about the milestone, he “turned over the framed piece and drew a blue dog with cypress trees in silver marker on the black matting,” she said.

Other pieces are by New Orleans artists, many acquired through the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s “O What a Night!” gala. (Dale serves on the museum’s board.) Among the pieces are works by Aron Belka, Ruth Owens and Kasimu Harris. A Lin Emery sculpture, Dale said, “begs to be put into motion when drinking a martini next to it.”

 

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!