In working on our front vestibule project, we've taken inspiration from many different locations. This includes salvage yards, neighborhood houses, internet photos, and even trips to other cities. 

Several months ago, Wendy had to travel to New Orleans for business. Being the supportive husband that I am, I decided to take a few days off of work and head down to NOLA with her the weekend before her meetings began so we could spend some time touring the city. I had never been to The Big Easy, but had wanted to go for years. We were thinking about the trip several years before, but Katrina hit and thus our trip plans were put on hold.

Since Wendy's job was the reason we were going, I was able to tag along, only needing to pay for airfare, food, and the hotel nights over the weekend. It is really the ultimate in spouse perks, and a tough life, I assure you.

Given the age and charm of the city, we've long wanted to go. We're not really party people (whoomp there it is), so Bourbon Street wasn't really the draw for us. We appreciate the historic architecture and the food above all else. But, given the cold of January in D.C., the weather of the deep south was also a draw.

We stayed in the Ritz Carlton on the edge of the French Quarter, so walking around the French Quarter was fun and easy. As soon as we arrived, we set out to begin exploring the area. After a quick stroll down Bourbon Street, we quickly moved to the side streets to enjoy the slightly less seedy places. 

The whole time we were walking around the French Quarter, we felt at ease. I think it was because the city really reminded us of Old Town. The age of the buildings, style of architecture, and feeling of the cleaner streets all felt familiar. The main difference was the cast iron balconies. If you put several levels of balconies on Old Town homes, you'd have a very similar city.

While there, we were sure to hit many of the tourist destinations that are highly recommended, such as Cafe DuMonde and Jackson Square.

On our second day we ventured out to the Garden District on a street car (not sure of its name, but it wasn't desire). The homes in that part of the city were simply amazing.

We found a walking tour online and went the old self guided route. It was easily the most fun we had in the city, just leisurely walking around and taking it all in.

Knowing that Sandra Bullock had a home in the area, but not knowing where it was, the walking tour took us to a home that I absolutely loved. I took several photos of it, only to later learn that this was actually Ms. Bullock's home.

Like I said, simply amazing places.

We wrapped up our trip to the Garden District with a quick walk through a cemetery. We latched onto a group for this, just to feel safe, since all of the visitor's guides caution you to avoid cemeteries in small numbers. 

But, let's get back to the original point of this post, our entry vestibule and inspiration. Back in the French Quarter, Wendy and I came across a store we had seen on This Old House during their New Orleans season a few years back. It was the store that fabricates copper gas lanterns -- Bevolo Lights.

We've long thought about replacing the front light on our house with a copper gas lantern, but didn't know where to start. Where would be purchase it? How much does it cost? How much to run it? So many questions. We stopped in the store and spoke with one of their sales reps, and learned it's much more affordable and far simpler than we originally thought. 

Being obsessive good home owners, we had photos of our house on our cell phone, so we were able to show the sales rep the style and construction of our home. She then showed us several examples that might work well with the style of our house.

I don't know about you, I but we're partial to the one on the left. What do you think?

Several years ago we had our gas line replaced in anticipation of several major upgrades, such as a gas stove and boiler. This little upgrade was already on my radar, so I was able to plan for it back then.

We've been excited about this potential upgrade for a while, and learning how straight forward it may be was very cool. Although the inspiration and potential lantern was a highlight of the trip, I still think my favorite thing about our time in New Orleans was discovering the wonders of King Cake! 

Since we were staying in the Ritz Carlton's club level, they always had food and drinks available to the guests, including fresh baked King Cake. During our four night stay, I'm pretty sure I ate at least one entire King Cake. Mmmmmm, so gooooooood! But I never found the little plastic baby.

Do you like NOLA as much as we do? It seems like there are a ton of people who visit once and fall in love with the city. And, if you have an opinion on the front light style, please let us know what you think and which style you like the best.

Comments 3


6/27/2011 at 6:17 PM
At first glance, I like the one front & center. It's a step away from what we think of as traditional, and has that kind of kicky feel that a lot of truly old things (like lamps) have.

Looking again at the front of your home, I would say the one on the right (still boxy, but wider than the center one). I think the one on the left would look like a big-box store special, instead of a hand-crafted quality piece.

Can't wait to see what you do. :o)
Annalea, you may be right. Our house is quite tall and skinny, so the middle one or right one might work better. The one on the left is the "French Quarter" style, which is the most authentic for New Orleans, but also the most copied elsewhere.

I think we'll also have to go in front of the Board of Architectural review in Alexandria, so we need a good justification of why we choose the one we choose.
6/28/2011 at 7:49 AM
Alex! OMG!!! Such an amazing project you and Wendy have taken on. I have been completely obsessed, in larger and larger increments, since I was about 13the, with all that is Victorian. I began with restoring furniture that I would get on the cheap. It just needed some elbow grease and love! Then we ran out of room in our house and turned my work area into a family room. I then moved to collecting stereoviews and reading all sorts of old book s from the 1800s. Josh and I have worked on everything from redoing all the plumbing and electric to installing a wood burning stove and chimney! I will send u a pic. Our home is modern however. So someday we may realize our dream. For now I can live vicariously through you! :)

At first glance I loved , hands down, the one on the left for its structural line and beauty but it is a bit big and not ever having stood in front of your house I am not sure. If it is too large then I would definitely go with the one in the right. :)
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