Restored Garden District home boasts original Greek Revival details and lush gardens

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.

Claudia Campbell had a lifelong dream of living in a historic home with a beautiful tree-filled yard, and it came true when she and her husband, Steve, bought the double-gallery side hall house at 3303 Coliseum St.

The couple, who had lived in St. Louis for 26 years, spent nearly a year looking for just the right house that would give them more space than the shotgun that Claudia bought when she moved to New Orleans in 2002 to take a job at Tulane University. Steve remained in St. Louis for his job in commercial banking, flying back and forth on weekends, until he retired in 2009.

“We wanted to stay in the Garden District” because of its convenient location, historic homes and walkability, Claudia said. The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath house fit their requirements but initially did not fit their budget. When the price came down, the Campbells made an offer.

The Greek Revival home with Italianate elements features distinctive arched moldings on its columns, pairs of brackets separated by dentils along its roof entablature, coffered porch ceilings and an arched recessed entry with decorative plasterwork and rosettes. On each side of the house are unusual two-story semi-octagonal bays.

The home dates to 1869 when Thomas Pickles constructed it. Born in England in 1829, Pickles came to New Orleans when he was 18. He was a pharmacist before the Civil War. “A few years after the fighting ceased, he had amassed sufficient wealth through a fleet of ten ferryboats plying the Mississippi River to build the handsome columned house at 3303 Coliseum,” according to S. Frederick Starr’s 1998 book Southern Comfort: The Garden District of New Orleans.

Photos by Liz Jurey

Pickles only remained at the house for one year, according to New Orleans Architecture Vol. VII: Jefferson City, published by the Friends of the Cabildo. A few owners later, it was sold at auction.

A framed watercolor drawing and newspaper clipping now hanging in the house announces its scheduled auction on June 23, 1938. The announcement revealed that the property was involved in the succession of Fred Brenchley, who had acquired it from the Homeseekers Loan Association in an act of sale dated Aug. 25, 1925.

Much of the house’s original details remain. The 12-and-a-half-foot ceilings feature elaborate crown molding. There is a marble mantel and detailed cornices for the floor-to-ceiling windows in the formal living room. Its opening to the adjacent den features an elaborate Greek Revival door surround with shouldered architrave molding and rosettes. “This is what is beautiful about this house,” Claudia said of the original details.

In the den, the fireplace was faux painted by Sherry Hayden to resemble marble. (She also painted the entry’s baseboards.)

After purchasing the home in 2010, the couple embarked on a series of renovations with the help of Matthews Construction and Renovation. “I’m a believer in trying to keep the integrity of a house in terms of what its character is,” Claudia said. “This is pretty traditional.”

Prior to moving in, they had the floors refinished and a new heating and air conditioning system installed. The first major interior project was a total rehab of the kitchen in the spring of 2011. There, they kept the existing beadboard ceiling and turned what had been two rooms into a large open space for the kitchen and breakfast area. Double doors in the breakfast area open to a screened porch the couple rebuilt.

The couple filled the home with artwork from their travels and Claudia’s own pieces, created as a student at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art and as a member of the Carol Peebles Blue Easel Club.

An avid gardener, Claudia transformed the oversized lot into an oasis that was the location of a wedding scene in the last episode of NCIS: New Orleans. There are layers of added plantings — angel trumpets, dahlias and gardenias, as well as magnolia and orange trees — to complement the camellias, crepe myrtles and sasanquas that were already growing there when the Campbells arrived. “I love this house,” Claudia said. “It’s just been wonderful to live here.

 

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!