The conservatory is FINISHED. Well, as you will hear and see in the video, it’s about 97% finished.
I knew this house was special (though I scoffed at it for many years!). Who in the world find’s a home that’s designed with TWO stories of greenhouse space? (Not to mention that I don’t have to deal with annoying air conditioning and dry forced air heat! Two quirks of mine are that I hate both.).
When I saw this space above it was decked out like a 1980’s Florida room. True, I could have worked with some of those cool bamboo chairs, but they were not offered to us in the sale of the home. Aside from possibly stylish chairs, this room was decked in ancient burber carpeting, indoor/outdoor paneling painted in ‘realtor white’ and trimmed in the roughest of rough-hewn cedar. The kind that snags your hair as you walk by.
Years ago our family had a friend who lived in an old rambling farmhouse and she had a greenhouse off of her kitchen. She would putter out there with cutting and seedlings and it planted (pun intended) this idea of how positively dreamy it would be to have a greenhouse attached to the home. Now, granted, there’s nothing architecturally charming about this space aside from the ceiling. It’s not a TRUE conservatory with a fabulous glass ceiling, and it’s not off my kitchen, but trust me,
It will do.
I knew the carpeting had to go and this space needed the true indoor/outdoor/be able to spill dirt on the floor vibe that was planted in this home designer’s heart.
Baker’s racks full of seedlings installed.
Budding houseplant collection.
Enter: New Orleans.
In New Orleans this past spring, I stayed in a French Quarter Mansion complete with a brick courtyard and a best girlfriend. This space was the full monty! A WC with black and white marble floor, maidenhair ferns coming out of the cracks in the wall, lanterns, shutters, a fountain.
The PERFECT place to drink a glass of wine and smoke a cigar.
Yes, I did both.
This amazing, crumbling space became… a part of me. I can’t let it go. Were I to win the lotto tomorrow, I would bang on the door and BEG to buy this building. I knew I HAD to recreate a touch of it to enjoy in my everyday life.
Brick and brick veneer being unaffordable, I knew I was going to have to humble myself to cheesy brick paneling, but I wasn’t going down without a creative FIGHT. A topcoat to prevent off-gassing of this synthetic product and a few buckets of a concrete repair kit and a whole lotta measuring and bicep work… et voila.
British Conservatory meets Special Memories of New Orleans. Complete with a water feature, lanterns, and ratty nautical flags in a nod to the old French/Spanish/American port city. I still have a little more “crumbling plaster” effect to do, I need to score some fabulous old shutters and I’m on the hunt for an OLD french flag or an OLD New Orleans flag, though my tattered ‘man overboard’ flags and my bleu, blanc, rouge ship bunting will hold me for now.
To see the entire process, spend a few moments with me in the video below, and don’t forget to grab the summer back issue of the Old World Design Society Magazine where I take a deep look at the history of New Orleans, the French Quarter color palette and all the architectural regulations that are in place to keep this time neighborhood capsule looking authentic. You can find the magazine here. AND – when you select the TWO-PACK of the Holiday edition and the summer edition, you’ll save a little $$ AND unlock ALL the 2021 Design Classes with ME! They will arrive in your email for your viewing pleasure:)
Thank you for being here! I appreciate you.