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New Orleans Love

Hello, all!

Brandie here. It’s been a while, but it feels beyond wonderful to be back at home here on Hunt and Gather to share the details of my wedding planning experience. The event decor and details will be a reflection of mine and Megan’s design sensibilities as she will have a hand in planning the big day, so we felt it was only right to document the journey here.

James (my sweet fiance’) and I share a love for renovation. As the founder/owner of a widely successful remodeling business, our conversations are often filled with talk of how to make what is old new again. After he proposed on New Year’s Eve and we began discussing where to have our wedding, it really only took a few minutes to decide on New Orleans, which  quintessentially represents all that we are. We both share a lifelong love for the New Orleans Saints, King Cake, Jazz, good food, and good times. Most of all, I think The Big Easy gives us a sense of home because of the unique historic architecture, the colorful sounds and faces, and the idea that life, to be most beautiful and full, should be lived not so seriously, but instead always with a cup of chicory coffee in hand and the sounds of a lonely saxophone and streetcar in the background.

Picking the city was easy. Picking the venue took a bit more thought. After looking at (no exaggeration) about forty places, I narrowed it down to two, which happened also to be the two Megan suggested to me in the first place (she knows me too well, y’all): The Latter Library and The Columns Hotel. The thought of getting married to the man of my dreams in an old library, surrounded by a plethora of books, made me swoon. However, after some inquiry, I learned that the branch is currently undergoing massive renovation. That left one choice-The Columns. The photos left me smitten and their events coordinator, Adam, was the most helpful and warm of any I spoke with. We made a weekend trip down to see it in person and, much like with James, it didn’t take long before I knew this was the one. The grandiose old residence turned hotel boasts exquisite Victorian detail inside and out. All around are massive, ancient oak trees, behind is a magnificent Garden District residential neighborhood, and out front is perhaps the most iconic of all New Orleans’ symbols: the St. Charles streetcar line. Everywhere you turn, it’s so VERY, so FABULOUSLY New Orleans.

We will be married in their back courtyard in a small ceremony of our closest family and friends. The reception will be housed inside in the Ballroom. Megan and I are excitedly working out the design details, using many of the things I already have in my home. Be looking for posts on this, as well as our oh-so-fabulous Jazz band, the food, the photographer, the party favors and so much more! Next week’s post will veer a bit from these specifics, as I will be talking about invitations and the struggle of choosing the right design and some advice for brides forced to choose guests when faced with a small count.

If you’d like to see for yourself the wonder that is The Columns, visit them at http://www.thecolumns.com for photos and a virtual tour or, better yet, in person. The Uptown location offers a more low-key approach to The Crescent City, the rooms are perfectly historic and quaint, the streetcar makes travel around the city beyond convenient, and the food is top-notch.

It will be the catalyst that drives the details of our day to be completely and absolutely perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

event planning, new orleans

Old House + Love

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Hello friends, I have wonderful news!

If you’ve followed Hunt & Gather Home from the very beginning, you know that this business began as blog, started by two friends that share an eye for design, a love for old houses, and a fondness for the written word.

Some seasons of life have allowed me and Brandie to post more often than others. We’ve celebrated joys and shared struggles through the lens of our homes. Within the wood-frame walls of our houses we find comfort, strength, peace, and inspiration, and we’ve enjoyed sharing that with all of you.

And now, we look forward to sharing another of life’s most joyous occasions:  Brandie’s upcoming marriage in New Orleans!

She will be back on the blog soon (and perhaps even weekly!) to share design details about her big day, but I’m so honored to announce that Hunt & Gather Home will have a hand in bringing these details to life at the lovely and historic Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue.

From historic preservation to interior design to wedding decor, Hunt & Gather Home will be busy these next few months celebrating the things we love most: historic architecture, good design, and the love of family.

[photo source]

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Big Magic

Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.

What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.

We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.

We are terrified, and we are brave.

Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.

Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us.

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic  

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I find myself putting off blogging because I feel I don’t have the time to perfect my writing, edit photos, and properly arrange the story these beautiful buildings have to tell. But after reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I’ve decided to quit taking this work so seriously, and ironically, start taking this work seriously, and blog a little bit each day.

So, here are a few interior photos showing interior details of my tax credit project on Fifth Street in downtown Alexandria. I hope they remind you that beauty exists amongst the overlooked, the neglected, and in the middle of the mess.

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And seriously, go pick up a copy of Big Magic now.

 

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Dream Project

I’ve been keeping this one a secret for awhile now, but I just can’t hold it in any longer.  I am so pleased to show you my newest historic preservation tax credit project in downtown Alexandria, Louisiana.

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Isn’t she lovely? I’ve had a crush on this nineteenth-century Queen Anne cottage for awhile now.  It was the steep pitch of the hipped roof that first caught my eye.  Then, those shutters – a common sight in New Orleans, but a rarity here in downtown Alexandria, which, has lost over 80% of its historic structures in the past thirty years, the majority of them residences.

Located on what is now the edge of downtown, this little cottage managed to escape all known threats to historic structures: demolition, vandalism, re-muddling, interstate highways, and fire.  I’m not quite sure how she made it to this point in such good shape and with nearly all of her original features, but I am so thankful she did. I’ve been known to drive by just to check up on her and make sure she’s doing okay.

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Can you see her potential? Sure, she needs some TLC.  But her bones are good. She’s sturdy and strong, made of virgin Louisiana cypress and pine, and built by the hands of local craftsmen skilled in their trade.

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The more of her history I research, the more I’m learning to trust in my knowledge and instinct about the age of old houses and regional architectural trends. She’s reinforcing my love for Louisiana buildings and building my self-confidence.

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This little cottage knows that life isn’t always easy or pretty. She’s seen better days. But she offers a picture of hope for the future.  Hope that, because her foundation is strong and her walls are solid, good will still come from her.

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She’s come along way, but her journey is just beginning.  You’re invited you to follow along.  I suspect she has a lot to teach us all.

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Gathered | An Outdoor Adventure Inspired Nursery

If you follow Hunt & Gather Home on Instagram, you know that I post a lot of historic preservation related photos. Preservation is one half of what Hunt & Gather Home is all about, and designing inspired and livable spaces within those restored walls is the other.  While I love working on and in historic structures, having an older home is certainly not a requirement for a design project.

Case in point: Watson’s nursery.  My dear friend, Christina, recently asked me to help her gather ideas for a nursery for her third child, and first little boy, Watson. Christina and her husband are currently renting with plans to buy soon. Not knowing what size room Watson will have when he arrives, Christina let me run free with the design. She gave me only one thing to go on:  she loves the crib sheets and changing pad covers from Woolf with Me.

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Knowing Christina and her husband well, one pattern jumped out among hundreds of designs.  I knew the deer crib sheets would be a hit with her husband, a hunter, while Christina would approve of the cute design and gray color. To complement the modern hunting theme of the crib sheet and bring in a pop of color, I chose the gold arrow changing pad cover.  You’ll find those basic pieces in each of the three design boards I created for Watson’s nursery.

Since Christina has two older (and precious) girls, an heirloom crib, a comfy glider, and a chest-of-drawers will need a few updates to get them ready for little brother.  The crib will remain white, a nice contrast against the gray crib sheet.  With the addition of a black and white buffalo check throw pillow the glider will be ready for late-night rocking.  A quick coat of paint will transform the currently pink chest-of-drawers into a boy-friendly focal point in the room.
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Because Christina already had the three main pieces of furniture for the nursery, I decided to have fun with the rugs and chest-of-drawers and make them the statement pieces in the room. Black, white, and gold can be used interchangeably in all three designs.  All Christina needs to do is decide if she prefers orange or green accents!

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As Christina, her husband and kids prepare to welcome Watson into their family, my hope is that these design boards will to guide them into creating a special space for a little boy who is sure to love all things outdoors.

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Driving the Backroads | First Methodist Church | Columbia, Louisiana

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Happy Halloween! I’ve been on the road a lot this month on several trips to North Louisiana. The drive through rural Louisiana farmland is always a beautiful one lined with cotton fields, sugarcane, and vernacular architecture (my favorite!). After years of driving through the small town of Columbia, Louisiana, and thinking, “I’ll stop next time,” I finally decided to pull over and photograph this fantastic early twentieth-century wooden church building.

The First United Methodist of Columbia was constructed in 1911 by contractor Frank Masselin and Son of Monroe, purportedly from plans brought from Europe by a church member. The rectangular church is clad with wooden clapboard and features a combination of Romanesque, Gothic Revival, and Craftsman architectural elements. Most prominent are the two towers of unequal height with low, overhanging eaves and exposed rafter tails, all Craftsman features.  The recessed belfry at the top of the taller tower features false buttress-type supports and rounded arch louvered vents.  Beautiful stained glass windows grace the second-story levels of both towers; the windows on the shorter tower are stylized quatrefoils of Gothic design. The main doors to the church are located beneath pointed arches in each tower. If you look closely, you will notice a Gothic mouchette motif on the wooden doors.

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The church was expanded in 1939, and the addition appears seamless from exterior view.  Wood siding, paired wood windows, and a consistent use of similar stylistic features blends the 1939 addition with the original structure.

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The church was closed on the day I stopped to take photographs, but this photo, courtesy of the National Register nomination, shows the interior of the original 1911 sanctuary.  I would love to see the semi-circular railing in person. This photo also shows the original wooden pews.

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It was a special treat to catch the church decorated for fall, but it is beautiful at any time of the year. Next time you’re driving up LA 165, make a stop in Columbia. The church is on the edge of Columbia’s cute little downtown on the banks of the Ouachita River.  Kudos to this congregation for taking such good care of this beautiful building.

P.S. – I’d love to know more about the history of the church, those European architectural plans, and the members who brought them back.  Please share what you know in the comments!

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| gathered | from little to big boy bathroom

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A few short weeks ago, my boys’ bathroom was full of color, energy, and lots and lots of letters.  It took me awhile to gather all those letters and frames.  The Anthropologie sale room, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, craft stores, estate sales, and flea markets slowly but surely provided letters of varying sizes and styles perfect for an alphabet wall.

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But it’s been five years.  My oldest boy has outgrown alphabet walls, though I’m not sure how that happened! The alphabet wall still suits my youngest, but frankly, I’m ready for a change as well.  

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I took down the shower curtain . . .

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. . . and removed every letter.

They’ve gone on to a new (and loving) home.

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I’m left with bare walls. They are simple and pretty.

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But, they’re far too quiet for two mischievous little boys (and their design-loving Mama)!

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I have an idea up my sleeve, that will suit these two perfectly.

| Adventure + Nature + Red Canoes + Black Labs + Plaid |

are just a few things of the things that have inspired me.

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I’m looking forward to showing you some of my inspiration soon.

For a peek at what’s in store, follow @huntandgatherhome on Instagram. Say, “Hello!” and let me know what you think!

What would you do with this blank bathroom canvas?