Sunday, April 21

Blogtour Nola's glimpses of a complex, historic city with a story to tell, Nest by Tamara's View!

taking inspiration from our visit to New Orleans
(Naw-Orlins as the locals say)
and through an interior designer's lens.


joie de vivre  
"French term in English 
to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; 
an exultation of spirit"  
During my sponsored trip to New Orleans, 
the city welcomed us with open arms.  
Nola holds a rich cornucopia of melting pot traditions, making this city a beautiful snapshot of our unique country. 
After Hurricane Katrina there is still much work to be done to make the people feel whole again, and I leave hopeful. Everywhere we went people wanted to talk to us, tell us their stories of Hurricane Katrina, and although seven years ago, it's still fresh in their thoughts and at the tip of their tongue.One thing I do know for certain, I will be back, and my hope is after reading my story you will visit this complicated, beautiful city that tells a story at every turn. New Orlean's history weaves together with influences from the French, Spanish, southern United States and Creole cultures creating a tonic infused with delicious food, rich architecture and the Joie de vivre of of the happy, spirited people.

Our itinerary:
1). we toured the Garden District's oldest residential neighborhood, and admired the preserved historic homes infused with influences from Greek Revival, Federalist, Spanish Revival and other architectural styles.  Starting our 5-day journey this way, certainly helped provide us with the history of New Orleans, and understand part of this complicated puzzle.
2).   Interior designer Shaun Smith warmly lead us on a design-inspired "insider" tour through Magazine Street.  He introduced us to some of his favorite boutiques and store owners, ending at his very own stylish shop with a delicious lunch.  Each gallery owner opened their doors, offering us a warm welome with champagne, iced tea and in a convivial southern manner that is unique to New Orleans.  
3.  We visited and dined with local chefs to hear their stories of New Orleans and how many came into the streets after the hurricane to cook for those suffering.  There was a "roll up your sleeve" mentality to helping your neighbors.
4. a morning with family-owned gas lighting company, Bevolo, in their historic loft showroom in the heart of town 
5). Spent times with Hurricane victims and their families -- we arrived to a ceremony where homes were in the last stages readying for occupancy, we and visited Brad Pitt's project in the lower ninth ward to see the progress of the home, the property and the architecture.

Take a look at our whirlwind and rewarding experience...

design sources:
Bevolo lighting 

Happy Nesting
XO Tamara

The Water Meter symbol
represents the pain and suffering from 
Hurricane Katrina's ravages
Since Hurricane Katrina, the water meter which can be seen everywhere on the streets and sidewalks, has come to represent the seven year struggle.  The symbol is worn as jewelry, referred to in literature, and even sold printed on t-shirts at the local shops.  A simple glance at the meter, tells a thousand stories about the complicated devastation that has become part of the city's fabric.  In some parts of the city, the recovery is just beginning, and it has been a long-winding road.  
historic architecture  
New Orleans values their history, and it is the backbone of the city.  Everywhere you turn there is original gas lighting, older architecture, and craftsmanship.

With the generous interior designer Shaun Smith 
as he lead us through a tour of Magazine Street
and his store Shaun Smith Home
 set in a former school house

 the shop Malachite 
offers semi precious finds for the home
The shop, owned by Adrienne Casbarian and Melissa Rufty, is infused with curated mid-century pieces and other finds, and put together in a
creative fashion

Although all the design shops we visited had completely different styles, I noted a common thread with the antiques offered -- a  juxtaposition of
worn patina and finish on many pieces, yet with beautiful custom upholstery and intricate detailing.  

we visited world-famous interior designer's shop, Gerrie Bremermann.  She is charming, energetic and a talented designer.  Known for designing many of the area's finest homes, Bremermann is busier than ever.  I was impressed with her dedication to her staff, also a group of engaging professionals.  
We note New Orlean's design:
religious artifacts, gracefully worn pieces, interesting art, and lots of color 
I love the shop Ecru Antiques owned by mother and daughter team, Regina and Destiny, and offers pale-washed antique furniture, antique linen pillows and one of a kind pieces

family-owned gas lighting company, Bevolo, welcomed us into their loft showroom in the heart of town for a look at their quality crafted lighting made with copper, which ages to a pretty green color over time.  There are gas lanterns and lights everywhere  in New Orleans.  

Spending a day with some families whose homes were destroyed and damaged by Hurricane Katrina to see their progress
St.Paul's Episcopal Church's 
we spent time with this "Grass Roots" program helping the people of New Orleans everyday.   The World Visions Program assists families in need by donating supplies to homeowners. Literally with hammer in hand, they fight the good fight every day.  the moody sky that day reflected our group's feelings as we settled in for an afternoon touring homes and meeting homeowners and hearing their tales that tugged at our heart strings.  We attended an opening ceremony where homing pigeons were released as a sign of hope, for a family who was finally moving into their home (the father was currently in the hospital).  So many questions remained by our group as we huddled together in broken neighborhoods where families are living, yet many are still without cooking facilities.  After seven years, this seems dire.

It was refreshing to note the design and building community have come together and donated products, funds and volunteers.  Companies like Home Depot, Kohler, Corian and one of own sponsors Spanish company, Cosentino donated products to the two different organizations we visited that day. I could not help but note that with the KBIS show gearing up and bringing in hundreds of design brands from all over the world there was an opportunity for more donations right at our fingertips.  At this point, it seems volunteers are needed desperately to complete many of the homes being worked on in order for families to finally get back into their homes.
Next, we were off to see the lower ninth ward.  The most devastated community of New Orleans, and literally across from to the levy, the lower ninth ward was destroyed.  The Make It Right program, unlike others we had seen, had the fortune of being touched by the long reach of Hollywood's grace.  This is Brad Pitt's brainchild, and he swooped in soon after the hurricane and created a program that is chugging along and slowly bringing a community back together again.  It appears this program has been a wonderful gift to the city.  Pitt's interest in architecture may have been the impetus of the thought provoking architecture and forward thinking ideologies employed by famous architects from all over the world.  I hope to hear more about the foundation and see the community there in droves the next time I visit, because it was quiet as we toured the grounds, complete with a state of the art playground and innovative facilities.  There were rumblings about difficulty in getting the community back because many living in the original neighborhood have left Louisiana. I am hopeful for the success of this program.  Cosentino generously offered their eco friendly "green" counter tops for many of the Make It Right homes.  Please see details about the ECO Collection below
Frank Gehry home in the background of the state of the art playground
Take a look at one of our sponsors, Cosentino and some of their new products offered at KBIS this year.  There are only a handful of brands manufacturing counter products like this, and Silestone (a subsidiary of Cosentino) is one to watch.  They are making innovative products for both kitchen and bathrooms applications.  The aesthetic balances both modern and traditional aesthetics, and many have green properties as well.  They generously offered their couner tips to the Make It Right Foundation homes we toured.  Kudos to Cosentino, and I would be over the moon to see more design brands offering their help in this manner.  Cosentino is located in Almeria, Spain. They are now the largests manufacturer of natural quartz in world.
 Silestone's new suede finish was launched at KBIS
the suede finish has an interesting texture with a substantial feel.
It is a natural Quartz surface in a matte finish that is smooth to the touch, giving the surface a soft velvety feel.  It is non-porous, does not require sealers or wax and has built-in anti-microbial protection.  It is also durable (stronger than granite), naturally scratch, stain and scorch resistent with a 15-year warranty and is appropriate for both kitchen and bathrooms. It is also certified to use in commerical kitchens for food preparation.
Cosentino's newly launched ECO collection 
ECO by Cosentino utilizes recycled materials like glass, mirror, porcelain and industrial furnace residuals, as well as natural materials like quartz and stone scrap, corn, oil and soy resin and more. The products comes in 14 colors and two finished: polished or Leather Texture. ECO is Cradle-to-Cradle, GREENGUARD, USGBC: Leed and NSF International 51 Certification.  
This new sink showcased at KBIS from Cosentino 
looks more like a sculpture than a typical sink

a chunky Silestone countertop 

What is blogtour?
  Modenus invites design bloggers on sponsored tours world-wide to muse about design and lifestyle topics, usually centering around a design show.  Veronika Miller, the founder of Blogtour, hand picks an eclectic mix of talents from all over the world.   This "meeting of the minds" is an inspiring experience.  In addition to writing about what we see on our blogs, other websites and magazines, we also send out our messages and inspirations to a variety of social media places where we have cultivated large followings, from Twitter to Instagram. Blogtour Nola is my second time invited to take part in this whirlwind of design and infusion of culture.  I was part of the original group of bloggers who were invited to attend the very first Blogtour in 2011 to London's Decorex and surrounding shows.  I am very impressed with the professionalism and talents brought together for this extravaganza in New Orleans.
I hope you will check out the 13 other design bloggers who traveled to Blogtour Nola.  
These women (and one witty, fun guy) are all magnanimous, talented and sharp as a whip.  
Please stop back for more stories  about Blogtour Nola
and thanks to our generous sponsors. 

Mr. Steam




Read here for more about our sponsors:
please note: 
all photograph in this post are my own, with the exception of a few referring
 to Silestone, which are courtesy of Costantino
Happy Nesting XO

1 comment:

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

Great post T! You covered so much in such an engaging way - an amazing city!! ox