New Orleans, Louisiana

Crafting a functional, attractive home for a family is a tall order for any architect. And when that family is your own'including your wife and two children (ages nine and six)'the challenge only grows. That’s what New Orleans'based architect Steve Dumez, a partner of design studio Eskew+Dumez+ Ripple, learned when he embarked on a nine-month renovation of the family’s 3,800-square-foot, two-story home in the Big Easy. “We knew we wanted to modify the way the spaces related to one another and open things up more,” says Dumez of the house, built circa 1920 in the Uptown neighborhood. The family had fallen in love with the seamless living afforded them by their old home, a loft apartment with an open floor plan. “The loft had a casual feel that we wanted to replicate in the house,” he says.

To begin, Dumez removed several of the house’s interior walls to create a series of contiguous living spaces on the ground floor. A sitting nook opposite the kitchen island, carved from a space beneath the stair, allows for the occasional spectator. “And by pushing that wall under the stair, you capture space for the master closet,” says Dumez. The newly open kitchen is organized around that central island of white statuary marble. Stainless steel appliances and other kitchen accouterments sit in a niche carved into the opposite wall, to maximize floor space and let the kids move freely through the area.

The expanded master bathroom, too, is streamlined: His-and-hers sinks sit atop a cantilevered counter of sapele wood, while a single pane of glass and 3/8-inch drainage gap separates the “dry” areas of the room from the shower and sunken tub. And for those who are curious, yes, you can slip between the bathtub and into the pool beyond, by way of a custom-milled-shiplap sliding door between the two. As the family often enters and exits the pool this way, “our children like to call the bathtub the ‘hot tub,’” says Dumez with a laugh.

The process had its frustrations, “like learning to live with the client’s budgetary restraints,” Dumez jokes. “But at the end of it all, you feel like you’ve been able to change the way you live in a really positive way, through design.”


Formal name of building:
Arabella Residence

New Orleans, LA

Completion Date:
September 2011

Gross square footage:
3800 square feet (total house)

Total construction cost:

Steve & Suzanne Dumez

365 Canal Street, Suite 3150
New Orleans LA 70130

Special Credit:
Steve Dumez, FAIA Michael Keller

Architect of record:
Steve Dumez, FAIA

Heaslip Engineering, LLC

General contractor:
C. Anderson Construction

Will Crocker

CAD system, project management, or other software used:



Wood frame: Custom wood fixed ' custom by C. Anderson Construction

Kitchen: Operable Awning - Pella

Glass: Low E Insulating

Skylights: Velux

Lift and slide exterior door ' custom by Joe Doherty
Wood Pocket Entry Door ' custom by C. Anderson Construction

Kitchen: custom by C. Anderson Construction

Closers: Blum

Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Kitchen/Living ' Chris Huval Carpentry
Bath ' C. Anderson Construction

Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore

Special surfacing: Stone Countertops ' Statuary Marble

Floor and wall tile:
(wall) Crossville ' Retroactive
(floor) Mosa ' Terra Maestricht

Fritz Hansen
Knoll Studio ' Jamacia Barstools

Tables: Knoll Studio ' Saarinen Dining Table

Downlights: Lightolier

Toilet: American Standard

Sinks: Duravit

Vola (bathroom)
Dornbracht (kitchen)

Tub: Dornbracht

Other Plumbing: custom tub by Intrepid Enterprises

Refrigerator: Miele

Dishwasher: Miele

Stovetop: Gaggenau

Oven: Miele

Other appliances: Best Cooktop Hood