Take a video our of this home, and three other stunning New Orleans residences, at PRC’s Holiday Home Tour presented by McEnery Residential. Video tour launches Dec. 6; Art & Garden Tour held Dec. 11-12.
Nomita Joshi-Gupta’s love of the American foursquare house she shares with her husband Dr. Shaminder Gupta and their two children started long before they purchased it in 2011.
“I’ve been in love with this house since 2004,” she said.
That’s when the couple first saw it during their hunt for a bigger house, falling in love with its historic details and the location on a tree-lined Uptown street. Then a multi-family dwelling with structural issues and bad bathrooms, the property needed tons of repairs and updates to make it work for their growing family.
An architect and interior designer, Joshi-Gupta wasn’t afraid of the project. But when the couple made an offer that reflected the house’s condition, the seller rejected it and told them to never contact him again about a possible purchase.
Fast-forward a few years. That owner had lost the house to foreclosure. The developer who bought it — and made structural repairs and kitchen updates with the intent of creating two condos — approached Joshi-Gupta for some design advice. During their conversation, the developer offered to sell the house, and a deal was made. “I was not expecting it,” Joshi-Gupta said.
While not much is known about the four-bedroom, five-bath house’s history, it is believed to date to the 1920s. There are elements of both the Neoclassical and Craftsman styles; it has a hipped roof with deep eaves and exposed rafter tails, a central dormer (a hallmark of foursquare houses), round columns and corner pilasters with decorative wood details, and wide marble stairs leading to the broad front porch.
The porch floor is made up of green, white and gray mosaic tiles, an original feature Joshi-Gupta loves. Inside, she fell for the 10-foot, single-panel, raw cypress doors, as well as the hardwood floors, the pocket doors separating the two front parlors and the cove ceilings. She even loved the paint color (Benjamin Moore’s Carrington Beige) the previous owner chose for the walls, ceilings and trim.
“I’m not a beige person at all. But this color reminds me of ceramics or clay,” she said.
Joshi-Gupta’s design sense was first piqued when she was growing up surrounded by modernist international-style architecture in Bangalore, a city in south central India. She spent her childhood in the office of her father, an architect, who encouraged her to come to the United States to study architecture. She ended up getting a scholarship to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
Today, in addition to her interior design firm, she also owns Spruce, an online wallpaper and fabric business with a retail showroom on Magazine Street.
In her own home, Joshi-Gupta mixed vintage and modern furnishings, with a smattering of geometric-patterned pieces and wallpaper from Spruce, to create colorful compositions. The combination of styles builds upon what she described as the house’s “quiet beauty.
“I love creating a collection with special and one-of-a-kind pieces from all over and spanning various time periods,” she said. There are antique brass sconces coupled with mid-century furniture. An intricate pier mirror with shell motifs — a birthday gift from her husband, a nephrologist — are juxtaposed with a sleek contemporary mantel.
Photos by Liz Jurey
Instead of traditional draperies, Joshi-Gupta used handmade Japanese paper as window coverings. In one set, the geometric cutouts mimic the window mullions; another’s swirling pattern complements the Amanda Tally fabric pillows on the dining room window seat.
Joshi-Gupta, her husband and their children — 20-year-old Simran and 16-year-old Yash — lived in the house for a while before it was fully renovated. The need to delay renovation projects came in part because of years-long road construction just outside their front door. The road project started shortly after they moved in, and Joshi-Gupta wanted to make sure the street pounding didn’t do any interior damage.
Instead, the couple turned their attention to reimagining the backyard. When they bought the house, the yard was a concrete parking lot with a palm tree. They kept the palm tree and created a tropical feel around it with landscaping that includes bamboo and native plants.
“The idea is to have an overgrown lush feel all year round and see greenery from every window,” said Joshi-Gupta, adding that later they installed a Palm Springs-inspired swimming pool, built by Paradise Pools. Part of the pool can be seen from the outdoor sitting area off the second parlor. Earlier this year, they added a rear covered porch with a terrazzo floor that reminds Joshi-Gupta of the homes in India.
Delaying interior renovations gave Joshi-Gupta time to listen to the house, she said, and figure out how to reconfigure the multiple rooms that once made up the multi-family units. She worked with David Waldheim of New Orleans Metalworks and Reyes Remodeling on the renovations.
The layout of the first floor, including the double parlors, dining room, open kitchen and den, didn’t change much. But Joshi-Gupta tweaked the spaces. Working with Legend Interiors, the kitchen got a new plaster vent hood, new quartzite counters and a glass subway tile backsplash.
In the dining room, Joshi-Gupta built bookshelves above the existing glass-front cabinets, installed a tropical Cole & Sons wallpaper, and filled the spaces with books and barware. With its nearby window bench and its modern Jonathan Adler table, the room serves as both a study spot for her kids and a place to entertain during Diwali, the annual Indian holiday celebrating “good over evil,” Joshi-Gupta said. “It’s celebrated with the same kind of feeling like Christmas.”
The first renovation project downstairs converted a bedroom into a den to connect the open kitchen to the backyard through floor-to-ceiling doors. Joshi-Gupta designed the doors to complement the original windows. The den now is a favorite hang-out spot, where the family can watch TV from the Italian sofa. In love with its shape, Joshi-Gupta has had the sofa recovered three times, this time in a gold velvet that pairs with the large Willie Birch painting she found in a consignment shop.
“All my furniture is collected over time — salvaged and reused or reupholstered,” Joshi-Gupta said. “The rule is: If you like it, just buy it, because it’s going to find a place in your house.”
Photos by Liz Jurey
Another downstairs bedroom became a guest suite, where a Turkish bedspread in orange with blue accents and the vintage green glass lamps pair with a large Anne Cooper painting.
When the downstairs was complete, the renovations moved upstairs to the primary bedroom. Joshi-Gupta closed in French doors that had been in place since the days when the upstairs was a separate apartment. She then created a new entrance to the bedroom with custom cypress doors from Strip Ease of New Orleans.
The doors open to a pop of pink paint in the hallway connecting the bedroom and new master bathroom. A piece of linoleum found during the bedroom’s updates became inspiration for the color scheme in the dramatic bathroom, which is one of her favorite spaces in the house. “I wanted a bathroom that looks like a room,” she said, adding that she took over an unneeded bedroom to make the bathroom larger.
The bathroom’s focal point is a framed section of large-pattern wallpaper created by L.A. painter Jessalyn Brooks for Twyla. Filling the space between the salvaged cypress closet doors (they were found at The Green Project), the wallpaper’s multiple colors inspired other elements in the room. There are black terrazzo tile floors, a Johnathan Adler chandelier, a green antique Milanese cabinet that holds towels and accessories, and an Italian leather chair.
“I love the way it all came together,” Joshi-Gupta said, adding that the same can be said for the entire house. “We literally use every portion of the house. It took us 10 years, but it functions for our family and our lifestyle and has evolved with us.”
The PRC’s 46th annual Holiday Home Tour presented by McEnery Residential is back with a fresh new format for this year!
VIDEO SERIES and
ART & GARDEN TOUR