KEN WHITE AND KATHY WHITE have diagnosed themselves with a serious condition: House Renovation Disease.
âThis disease may not be in medical textbooks (yet), but for the Whites, the symptoms include moving across the country multiple times renovating old houses, constantly wondering if the kitchen needs an upgrade, and trouble sleeping in rooms built after 1960.
âFor now, the Whites have decided that the kitchen in their 1860s shotgun at 2823 Chestnut St. does, in fact, need an upgrade (itâs in the works). They sleep well under the 14-foot ceilings in their master suite, which originally occupied the front half of one side of the shotgun, and they are preparing to open their doors to the public in this yearâs Shotgun Home Tour.
âThe Whites fell in love with their shotgun house at first sight. âWe had seen this house a number of times from the outside, and we loved the color combination,â Kathy White said. âWe never actually came into the house until the day we bought it.â For Kathy, who is an accomplished painter, the right color combinations were the key to unlocking the homeâs potential. âIt was kind of a challenge, but once we got all of the colors tamed and got all of our furniture in here, it started to come together,â she said. âRather than having every room try to be a different color, we went with this beautiful gray throughout.â
âIn the main entrance, that particular shade of gray offsets the crown moulding and antique ceiling medallions beautifully, filling the expansive space with a friendly and intimate vibe. An impressive collection of art, representing a mix of original works and those of local New Orleans artists, adorns nearly every wall. An eclectic mix of furniture, including a knole sofa covered with ScalamandrÃ© fabric, offer generous seating space.
âAlthough the kitchen is a work in progress, Kenâs love of cooking spills over into an informal space behind the kitchen that connects the main living area to the guest suite. But the rows of copper cookware have been gathering dust since the Whites moved to New Orleans about a year ago. âI got interested in cooking when Kathy went to art school in New Haven,â Ken said. âI started buying copper pots and pans, so we brought our collection here, but we eat out every night.â When they arenât enjoying the culinary highlights of the city, the Whites often host friends and family in a pair of guest bedrooms separated by a shared bathroom. Ken enjoys a large study leading into the courtyard, where a new limestone fountain is currently being installed. Kathyâs art studio, in a small, detached building in rear of the house, offers her a perfect place to work on her paintings.
âOverall, the Whites have found a way to harmonize their lifestyle within the frame of their shotgun house, offering further proof of the shotgunâs amazing dexterity.